Is an insanity plea the only remaining option in Serial Suicide Killer’s efforts to avoid prison?

“However, and here is where there is considerable gray area, the law according to Wehrwein “doesn’t specifically address situations involving communication via the Internet.”  This as it turns out is the basis upon which some legal experts (including Melchert-Dinkel’s lawyer Terry Watkins) have suggested that freedom of speech issues could play a role in the case.”

from August 26th, 2010 post “Cyber War and the Emergence of the Borderless Criminal: Why the Melchert-Dinkel Serial Killer Case Should Be a Slam Dunk . . . For the Prosecution

Despite the legal posturing in which everything from a violation of his First Amendment right regarding free speech, to the apparent vagueness of Minnesota’s assisted suicide law being thrown at the courts by William Merlchert-Dinkel’s attorney Terry A. Watkins, it has all boiled down to what is tantamount to the equivalent of a Hail Mary pass in football . . . an insanity plea.

As outlined in my November 5th post “Melchert-Dinkel Insanity Plea Not Likely To Succeed (But Did He Counsel Children In Taking Their Own Lives?),” there are numerous reasons why the insanity plea is unlikely to be successful.  And even though I can hear my grandmother’s admonishment that one should never count their chickens before they hatch, I wanted to examine the far-ranging consequences of a conviction including its impact in terms of establishing legal precedence within the virtual realms of the Internet and, the lingering effect it will likely have on the right to die and assisted suicide laws both domestically as well as globally.

As a result, the PI Window will be airing a 60 minute special on Wednesday, December 15th at 8:00 PM EST in which I will be joined by a guest panel that will include NCR Distinguished Professor of Law and Technology, Susan Brenner.

Brenner, whose insights on bridging the apparent gaps between crimes committed in both the physical and virtual worlds are well known, contends that “we should not simply assume criminal conduct vectored through cyberspace represents an entirely new phenomenon, i.e. cybercrime,” as it may represent “nothing more than the perpetrators’ using cyberspace to engage in conduct that has long been outlawed.”

Within the context of the above statement, during the segment we will peel back the layers of what are the seemingly contradictory elements of a complex case and assess the impact that a conviction (or acquittal) will have on our laws and personal rights and freedoms.

Once again, remember to join me live on December 15th across the Blog Talk Radio Network for Cybercrime, Insanity Pleas and the Right to Die: A Guest Panel Discussion at 8:00 PM EST.  Both the live chat room and toll free lines will be open to your comments and questions.

Reader Feedback:

Thank you for putting into words what I believe to be so true. He lives in the town I live in and it is a disgrace. My children went to school with his kids and they are paying for it. I hope the best for the kids. He needs to be in prison. He is a danger to society.

Lisa (RE Nov. 9th post PI News Special: Melchert-Dinkel Counseled and then Watched via Webcam as 16 Year Old Girl Cut Herself)

Because of a personal stake in this case, there is likely no one else who has followed the coverage of this story as I have. With the hundreds upon hundreds of articles I’ve read, I must say that there is no one I know of who has done such an amazing job as yourself. Everything you’ve written on this is not only well researched and thought provoking, but you’re forever mindful of the fact that lives are being destroyed: lives are being lost.

Last November 5th, during the debate in the house of commons on M-388 the Hon. Paul Dewar stated:
“It is in those of us who are left to carry on in life that we must remember those who have passed and it is in seeking justice that we will have those who have been laid in rest to be able to rest in peace.”

I thank you Jon for continuing to seek justice for those who are no longer able to seek it for themselves.

Deborah Chevalier (RE Oct. 29th post Trial of the Serial Suicide Killer not a question of freedom of speech or a person’s right to die, it is a question of intent!)

I agree 100% with Deborah. I have read endless articles and various blogs surrounding this case and I have yet to see anyone, not only cover the details accurately, but also provide insight, as well as you have. It is evident that you actually care and empathize with both the victims and their families. You are not just regurgitating facts like so many out there. There is passion and caring in your writing/coverage and I have not found that elsewhere.

Wendie Savolainen (RE Oct. 29th post Trial of the Serial Suicide Killer not a question of freedom of speech or a person’s right to die, it is a question of intent!)

Thank you to those who take the time to share their thoughts with us!


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