In the Land of Nod: A Failure of Justice for the Mentally Disabled
PublisherMonroe Community College
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractIn Brother’s Keeper, and the Paradise Lost trilogy, documentary filmmakers Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger explore the influence of bias in two different murder trials: The West Memphis Three and the case of an elderly farmer named Delbert Ward in upstate NY. Jesse Misskelley, a defendant from West Memphis, and Delbert Ward both have IQs below 70, yet they were interrogated without counsel for over six hours in both cases. Community support for Ward and community condemnation for Misskelley separates the two cases most clearly, which were both weak from an evidentiary standpoint. The current prison population in the United States is 50-55% mentally ill, five times the percentage found in the general population. The presence of this many mentally ill citizens in prison suggests even more are going through the court system. What is allowing these individuals to slip through the cracks and end up on trial and in prison instead of receiving rehabilitation or medical attention? Berlinger and Sinofksy explore why innocent people, who do not operate at the sufficient level of mental competence legally required, can have such vastly differing experiences on trial.
- Scholars' Day Review