Justice, the main purpose of legal proceedings is to have justice served. Nonetheless, there may be an array of other factors that may come into play, and hold back the process of attaining justice. One of such factors may be the metal competence of the defendant. The defendant may not be considered legally sane, and may impede the justice process. One of such cases is the Russell Weston Case. The case resulted in a conflict of interest as well as ethical dilemma when it comes to patient medication. Using the case as the subject, a question arises, should ethics of psychology be broken for the purpose of having justice served.
Russell Weston made a historic event after he shot two police officers at one of the most protected scenes in the United States of America. He had approached the capitol and shot at the back an officer who helping a father and his 15 year old son. Before any reactions could be made, he ran towards a woman who escaping from him and was shot by one of the officers. He also shot at the officer at the chest. He had been shot at the legs and the buttocks which he was taken for surgery before prosecution. Mr Russells case has been pending for two years due to his mental illness that was explained by his defence team. His competency had been lost when he was at the shooting and the defence believed that he should not be sentenced because of that reason but instead taken to a mental hospital where he should be kept other than being issued with a death sentence. The case has been on for two years and because of its high profile, it cannot be dropped as several citizens are waiting for justice to be served.
However, the prosecution team are adamant that Russell should be medicated to return his competency so as to be prosecuted.The medication should be carried out by qualified individuals who estimates that he can regain his competency at a possibility of 70%-80%. Following the discussion of the prosecution team, the medication was to be administered irrespective of the willingness of Mr Russell. The defence team of Mr Russell have also insisted that the medication cannot be conducted without the acceptance of the defendant who still believes he is not sick and does not require any treatment to regain his competency.
Mr Russell had been under treatment of a psychological problem, Schizophrenia which he had just completed his initial treatment and released after which he committed the murder of the two officers. The entire nation was surprised at his acts since no one was really sure of anyone who could approach the capitol and commit such crimes. Following the arguments that had been imposed by the defence and the prosecution team, the prosecutor has always postponed the case until Russell is rendered as competent. He has always been left at his initial state and will not receive any medication until he regains his competency.
Initially, Russell had been under watch by the police who had indicated him as a low profile threat to the public. He had always had several cases before where some he was referred to the mental hospitals where he stayed for 52 weeks. He had also shot his parents car after stealing their gun and headed to the hospital where he was kept. After being released he moved into his own home after being cleared by the CIA for having recovered from his mental illness.
The case of Russell Weston has posted a lot of arguments by the public as well as the government which wants him prosecuted after being medicated through psychotropic medications. The defence have argued with the prosecution that he will only be medicated once the case has been dropped, which is against the courts demands as the case is high profile.
There are several mental illnesses with different causes and reaction of individuals. The mental illness that affected Russell Weston was schizophrenia. The following are some of the illustrations of conditions experienced by patients suffering from schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a psychological condition where an individual will have indifferent reactions towards any situation. The individual will not be able to know how to react to a happy situation or a sad situation. Therefore, it will be hard for an individual suffering from schizophrenia to distinguish between the differences of different situations or emotions. In some occasions, some schizophrenic patients suffer from attitude and action problems as they are likely to cause a disturbance due to their hard nature towards feelings.
The ultimate causes of the mental illness has not yet been identified but is illustrated by genetics. The genetic causes explains that the illness is caused when an individual has acquired some traits from either the parents or when a cell in the human body has been damaged causing nervous disruption hence psychological problems.
Patients suffering from Schizophrenia have a feeling of being watched all the time. In relation to Russell Weston, he had always complained that he was being watched all the time by the government. The feeling drove him to committing indifferent acts that led to him being held at a mental hospital.
In addition to that, a patient often feels irrational and angry towards his/her loved ones. I this case, it is true to indicate that Russell had a history of shooting at his parents car. He had stolen his fathers gun which he drew and shot at his car. At this point he had posted violent behaviour and was listed as a low profile threat by the government.
In response to his entire behaviour, he had a disorganized type of conducting himself. A patient suffering from schizophrenia will always have an impaired judgement and behaviour. The patient will also have a disordered thinking and speech. Russell, who was to be prosecuted for the murder of two officers had posted the characteristics which are disordered thinking and disorganized behaviour. His first action on threatening his neighbour was as a result of disordered thinking and speech which led him to be watched by the police. Secondly, he had shot his fathers car and also the last crime he had committed of slaying two officers without an appropriate reason. Russells response to the case against him also proved that he was schizophrenic when he had denied that he was not mentally ill and could not accept to take any medication to return his sanity. The case against Russell has experienced a continued postponing due to lack of proper law that would allow the prosecution to sentence Russell on the grounds of murder case.
Conflict of interest is realised from both the prosecution and the defence of the case. The prosecution wants to win the case in order to prove that their analysis of the case was enough as well as their approach to the case which intended to medicate the defendant before his sentencing. The prosecution team also wanted a win for their case which was evident that the defendant had committed a high profile crime that was only levelled with a death sentence. Furthermore, the prosecution team also wanted the justice to be served for the individuals who had lost their beloved ones. The defendant had shot two police officers who were represented by the government in the case. Furthermore, their sole interest was to create awareness of the consequences relayed upon individuals who commit murder.
On the other hand, the defence team of Russell also had their interest in the case. They wanted to win a high profile case against an individual who was diagnosed with a psychological disorder. At the same time, they wanted to prove to the prosecution team that the law has to be followed and the decision by an individual during prosecution was a matter of consideration irrespective of the decision of the judge. The defence team never wanted their defendant to face the death sentence since they believed the individual was schizophrenic. Apart from that, the defence team was also after the pay that would result from winning the case as well as the fame they would achieve after winning the case.
The defendant was never willing to be medicated. Therefore, the court proceedings could not continue due to his unwilling nature and his persistence of his competency. However, the prosecution team wanted the court to force the defendant to undergo the medication so as to regain his competency and attend the court for sentencing. However, it is a question as to whether it is ethical to force a patient for medication with an aim of regaining the competency for questioning and judgement. It is unethical to introduce medication that will change the reasoning of an individual for the purpose of judging the individual. The law accepts fairness and freedom to refuse treatment that would change an individuals reasoning.
In conclusion, ethics of psychology should be broken for the purpose of justice. Keeping Russell Weston alive does not serve the interests of anyone aside from his own. For the sake justice, the patient should be medicated, even without his consent. The law should allow his next of kin to make the decision for him, since he is not mentally sound. The elimination of his mental condition will allow justice to be served.