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Multiple Personality Disorder - April 12th 2010, 04:17 AM

Okay so today I was thinking about a book I read a year or so ago(All Around the Town by Mary Higgins Clark) and it's about a murder and there is strong evidence pointing to a girl with multiple personality disorder. She cannot recall what happened because it was one of her personalities. So... I wondered, what would really happen? Could you convict someone even if they have no memory of the incident whatsoever because of multiple personality disorder? Could you really even say it was them who committed the murder? I found this very interesting although I haven't decided my stance on it yet. What do you guys think?


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Re: Multiple Personality Disorder - April 12th 2010, 04:51 AM

Well, I think that the way in which this works is that the person would be put into the state psychiatric ward. The court would determine that the person was not safe to be in society because of the 'other personality'. They would then work on getting the person stable and what not. I don't know if they would eventually reintroduce the person back to society or not.

It isn't fair that the person could potentially not have a life because of this. However it isn't fair to leave an 'unsafe' person out in society.


   
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Re: Multiple Personality Disorder - April 12th 2010, 04:59 AM

This is a pretty hard question to answer because clinicians and researchers are divided as to whether DID (real name of MPD in modern times) actually exists and is a genuine disorder. So when going to court, I'm sure this issue will be brought up: key witness for the defendant vouches for one of the personalities or alters being at fault and arguing for NCRMD while plantiff vouches for DID being false regardless of what the person exhibits. There is also a phenomenon of co-consciousness, whereby the person with DID can watch and remember what one of the personalities is doing but the person cannot stop it, so this would probably be brought up also. It's also advocated that the personalities reflect various elements of the person, so if one of the personalities did kill, then it's arguable that the person has an element of being a killer to them.

I'm not sure what the outcome would be in real-life but I think it'd depend on how the murder was done, such as if it was a quick third-degree kill or a long, tortorous first-degree kill. To me, the gruesomeness would play a part because even if the person does not have DID, if it's closer to being a long, tortorous kill, the person is a direct danger to society nevertheless. Whether it ends up as NCRMD or to prison is a different matter, one I'm not sure where I'd stand on. If the person was showing that "killer personality" emerging or such extreme aggresiveness, then I'd be more willing to go for NCRMD or at least hospitalization because the risk and likelihood are just so high along with uncertainty of an actual kill already having occured.
   
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Re: Multiple Personality Disorder - April 12th 2010, 07:41 AM

Well this may sound mean, but if her illness had never been diagnosed, as in she just knew she had the illness (im not saying she didnt have it - im just saying undiagnosed) then there would be no proof of her having the illness, and therefore she should be convicted because anyone can say they cannot recollect doing it - yes this would be unfair, but if there is no proof and she got away with it, that would start something.
If she has been diagnosed, then im not exactly sure what the laws are about charges, but I am sure they put those people into a psychiatric ward and place them there under the mental health act saying they are unsafe to be in public, because even though its not her fault, she's still a danger.


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Re: Multiple Personality Disorder - April 12th 2010, 07:58 AM

Well, I have something that looks like that disorder (doctors are still looking after the exact diagnose) and I can tell you this: if you have MPD and an alter of yours killed someone, it will depend on the country where you live how you will be judged. In some countries, there are a lot of psychiatrists who believe that it exists. But in other countries, they absolutely don't. For example, here in Belgium, it's more or less fifty fifty. So if I would have an alter who killed someone (purely hypothetically), I would be lucky not to go in prison.
And after all, if you are not diagnosed to this disorder, and you killed someone and you are consious of that, and you fake having such a disorder, it's very stupid. When you killed someone (I talk about if you kill someone here, cause I don't know enough the other law systems), there are two oppportunities: you turn out to be in prison for at least 20 years, or you turn out to be in an isolation room for at least 20 years. Or you can stay in bed for 20 years, stoned of the medication. Honestly, if I killed someone, even if it was my alter who did it and I wasn't completely consious of it, I would rather prefer being 20 years in prison then being in psychiatry for 20 years. Why? I have nothing against psychiatry, but I don't want to go there for having killed someone. That's horrible. It's like... you are not an individual person anymore. There's no compassion, it's not like they expect you to get better one day. In prison, they do. (Just to notice: our prisons are, honestly, less horrible then in the USA)

So after all, I think it depends of the law system and the psychiatry of your country/state.
   
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Re: Multiple Personality Disorder - April 12th 2010, 08:02 AM

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Originally Posted by emma01 View Post
Well this may sound mean, but if her illness had never been diagnosed, as in she just knew she had the illness (im not saying she didnt have it - im just saying undiagnosed) then there would be no proof of her having the illness, and therefore she should be convicted because anyone can say they cannot recollect doing it - yes this would be unfair, but if there is no proof and she got away with it, that would start something.
If she has been diagnosed, then im not exactly sure what the laws are about charges, but I am sure they put those people into a psychiatric ward and place them there under the mental health act saying they are unsafe to be in public, because even though its not her fault, she's still a danger.
She could be diagnosed and assessed prior to the court hearing or when she is temporarily admitted to a forensic psychiatric ward.
   
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Re: Multiple Personality Disorder - April 12th 2010, 01:19 PM

As fair as I can tell, it'd not they dont believe it exists, but they believe there are untrue beliefs about it. Specifically that alter egos have no memory what so ever of what the other alters do, which has been shown not to be true. I'm pretty sure it's still mostly considered as a psychotic illness, regardless though, or thats the impression I got from my lecturer?

But you'd get put into a mental ward if you could show it was actually a disorder, for treatment. Insanity is a defence in most countries?


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Re: Multiple Personality Disorder - April 12th 2010, 06:43 PM

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As fair as I can tell, it'd not they dont believe it exists, but they believe there are untrue beliefs about it. Specifically that alter egos have no memory what so ever of what the other alters do, which has been shown not to be true. I'm pretty sure it's still mostly considered as a psychotic illness, regardless though, or thats the impression I got from my lecturer?

But you'd get put into a mental ward if you could show it was actually a disorder, for treatment. Insanity is a defence in most countries?
It still is in the DSM-IV-TR and I assume also in the ICD-10 (or may be called MPD there) so I think it still is viewed as a psychotic illness just one with immense skepticism, and like you, I don't believe it exists either.

I've only studied some law (and will study more in the summer) for Canadian systems mostly and here, insanity is a defence although to be politically correct, people call it NCRMD. I'm not sure if there are previous cases of this whereby the defendant claimed DID or MPD.
   
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Re: Multiple Personality Disorder - April 12th 2010, 08:45 PM

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Originally Posted by !!!YOU'RE$NUCKING$FUTZ!!! View Post
She could be diagnosed and assessed prior to the court hearing or when she is temporarily admitted to a forensic psychiatric ward.
I agree, that would be a sensible thing to do for her sake.


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Re: Multiple Personality Disorder - April 13th 2010, 07:35 PM

This is a hard one for me, as I'm not sure whether I believe that this is a legitimate disease.

When it comes right down to it though, it doesn't matter whether it really is a disease or not. If someone is sick enough to kill someone and disassociate themselves from the act insomuch as they believe that a separate identity did it, they are still a danger to society and obviously have some mental problems.

They should be incarcerated in a facility which can treat their issues and keep them and everyone around them safe. I don't think that they should be put in jails with all of the other criminals though.


   
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Re: Multiple Personality Disorder - April 14th 2010, 04:10 AM

I remember reading that book!
Anyways, in Canada at least (I'm assuming elsewhere to, but I'm not 100 percent sure) to be charged with a criminal offense a person has to have actus reus and mens rea. This basically means that to be charged with a criminal offense, you have to commit the criminal actions, as well as have the mental and emotional intent to do so. Actually, there was a case awhile ago, I can't remember the exact name of it but a man woke up, drove to his father in laws house (I think that was the relation) and attempted to kill them by stabbing them. It turns out that he had been sleep walking the entire time and because there was no mens rea he was acquitted. This would be an automatism defense.
Like everyone else has been saying, if someone commits a crime and do not have the mental intent to do so because of a mental disorder, they would be found not guilty by reason of mental disorder and admitted into a hospital to deal with their disorder.
I feel that for your specific question, even if multiple personality disorder would not be considered a legitimate disease, if it could be proved that the character has no mens rea, she could not be charged with the offense.
I find this whole topic really interesting. Back when I was planning to be a lawyer I did a project on it.
   
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Re: Multiple Personality Disorder - April 15th 2010, 03:16 AM

Okay guys I know most you have just been saying what would happen. Suppose it is a legitimate disorder and don't tell me what you think would actually happen, that wasn't the question. I already have a fair idea of what would happen. Tell me what you think should happen.


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Re: Multiple Personality Disorder - April 15th 2010, 06:01 AM

I think she should be put in a psychiatric ward and not allowed out because she is a danger to others. Thats what I think should happen.


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Re: Multiple Personality Disorder - April 17th 2010, 03:28 AM

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Originally Posted by aranel05 View Post
I remember reading that book!
Anyways, in Canada at least (I'm assuming elsewhere to, but I'm not 100 percent sure) to be charged with a criminal offense a person has to have actus reus and mens rea. This basically means that to be charged with a criminal offense, you have to commit the criminal actions, as well as have the mental and emotional intent to do so. Actually, there was a case awhile ago, I can't remember the exact name of it but a man woke up, drove to his father in laws house (I think that was the relation) and attempted to kill them by stabbing them. It turns out that he had been sleep walking the entire time and because there was no mens rea he was acquitted. This would be an automatism defense.
Like everyone else has been saying, if someone commits a crime and do not have the mental intent to do so because of a mental disorder, they would be found not guilty by reason of mental disorder and admitted into a hospital to deal with their disorder.
I feel that for your specific question, even if multiple personality disorder would not be considered a legitimate disease, if it could be proved that the character has no mens rea, she could not be charged with the offense.
I find this whole topic really interesting. Back when I was planning to be a lawyer I did a project on it.
But how could it be shown without a reasonable doubt there was no mens rea? Polygraph tests aren't admissable for court in Canada and unless the person confesses or one uses pretty expensive neuro-imaging software, how do you show there's no mens rea? The thing is, the emotional intent probably was there, either from the person or an alter but nevertheless, it was there. The desire to is iffy to me. I suppose the biggest issue is how much of the willingness and deed was done by the person versus alter, assuming DID is a legit disorder? One could say she had the intent, then the alter took over, so that can show she had motive, may have planned it but she wasn't in control.

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Okay guys I know most you have just been saying what would happen. Suppose it is a legitimate disorder and don't tell me what you think would actually happen, that wasn't the question. I already have a fair idea of what would happen. Tell me what you think should happen.
Be put into a forensic psychiatric hospital and upon release, receive some psychotherapy if needed.
   
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