For those of you unfamiliar with the incident, Harris is a dentist who was married to another dentist. She discovered through a private investigator that her husband was seeing another woman, so she went to the hotel where her husband was having the assignation, got into a row with him, took it out to the parking lot when requested to by hotel staff, then got into her car and ran over him--several times.
This woman has had the gall to plead 'temporary insanity' as her defense. Even more bizarre is that her parents in law went with her to the courtroom to offer their support.
Say what??! You don't murder my son, even if he is a louse, and then expect me to walk you up to the judge's bench, saying how wonderful a person I think you are. Rumor is that the PIL did this in hopes of retaining visitation rights to see their grandchildren, which would supposedly not have been granted, if they had not supported her. I don't know whether that is true or not. But it is about the only explanation for their behavior that makes even an iota of sense to me.
Part of the reason why I am so interested in this case is that the crime occurred in the Nassau Bay Hilton Hotel, which is about 200-300 yards down NASA Road 1 from the house where I grew up. Every time Mark and I go to visit my parents, we pass this hotel. We don't call it the Hilton, now; we call it 'the scene of the crime.'
I have to say that I don't believe in the intrinsic concept of 'temporary insanity.' From what I recall, insanity in its legal definition means 'an inability to distinguish between right and wrong.' 'Insanity' is a chronic psychological condition. There is no temporariness about it.
Personally, I don't believe that one can be ignorant of right and wrong, except in the case of sociopathy. I do believe it is possible, as seen in A Beautiful Mind, for a person to be so delusional that he doesn't realize that he is committing a crime, but that and sociopathy are the only ways in which I could accept insanity as a legal defense. However insane they may be, I believe that people do know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. If they didn't know, they wouldn't try to hide their crimes. John Nash, in the depths of his schizophrenia, if asked whether it was right to drown a child, would, I'm pretty sure, have answered, "Of course not!" Yet, I would have absolved him of guilt, if he had ever done such a thing while provably delusional. The difficulty, alas, is proving a delusion was occurring at the time.
But this temporary insanity thing is bullshit. I understand the concept of the crime of passion, and that is certainly what Harris is guilty of. I don't believe she premeditated it, except for probably imagining the crime from the moment she had irrefutable evidence of her husband's infidelity.
I think that we should never have instituted the temporary insanity' defense in our legal system. It allows people to make too many excuses. The way I see it, there are hundreds of thousands of women in the world who have discovered that their husbands were cheating on them--and they didn't murder them.
There is talk that Harris might get a lighter sentence because of jury sympathy. I hope that doesn't happen. Because if it does, it will be an indication to any woman who learns that her husband is cheating on her, that she can kill him, and all she'll get from the justice system is a slap on the wrist.
I know I am probably being too harsh. Whatever the sentence is, there always must come that moment after committing a crime of passion, in which the person realizes, "Oh my god, I've done (whatever)!" Dr. Klara Harris' entire world has changed, and her entire life. I don't see how she can ever practice medicine again. Even if she is acquitted or allowed to keep her license, who would trust her with their medical conditions, now? She's got several children whose faces she has to look into, knowing that they know she killed their father. That has got to be agony.
So maybe I shouldn't hope that they don't give her a light sentence. It's just...I hate watching someone trying to weasel out of guilt by using a provision meant to be merciful to the truly insane. I hate seeing the system abused this way. And t was clear to me that she chose to abuse the system when she didn't plead guilty.