Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Victims of the Suicide Prohibition: Collateral Damage

Prompted by Jim, I'm collecting reports of incidents (and stats, if anybody has any) where non-suicidal bystanders are killed or injured when other people attempt suicide. I will collect these in a piece demonstrating the harm of the suicide prohibition to non-suicides.


If you know of any, stick them in the comment thread or send them to my email. Thanks!


  1. Google Jeanette Sliwinski. Truly awful

  2. Here are links to some I've fished out tonight-






  3. Ugh, it's even more depressing than I thought to read them all together.

    Thanks very much, and keep them coming!

  4. The Jeanette Sliwinsky thing is interesting legally, since she pled insanity! How much do we REALLY believe that suicide is the result of a mental illness? (Apparently not enough for the jury to acquit her.)

  5. It's possible to be suicidally depressed and still be legally sane. While a major depressive episode is certainly a form of mental illness, the jury likely found her to be aware of what she was doing and able to tell the difference between right and wrong. In order to be considered legally insane the jury has to believe that the defendant had completely broken with reality and had no control over her behavior.

  6. Anonymous, absolutely - just like it's possible to have, e.g., schizophrenia and still be guilty of murder.

    What I am interested in pointing out is the disconnect between the notion of causality we are willing to accept regarding mental illness and suicide, versus the notion of causality we have when thinking about real crimes that actually harm people. I go into this in more detail here, talking about the different treatment of censorship regarding suicide and real violence.

  7. For Sister Y. While I feel that Jeanette Sliwinski deserved more than the 8 years that she received, she was NOT acquitted by a jury. In fact there was no jury and she was not acquitted. It was a bench trial with the Judge passing sentencing. The Judge felt that with her drastic improvement while in jail from being on the correct medicine she deserved a 2nd chance. Also, the States Attorney felt that they could not get a conviction on 1st degree murder and went with a lesser charge which carried a maximum of 10 years. The judge gave 8 and she was out in 4. I think she should have done much more time for killing 3 young men, but I did not have the power to do so.

  8. Ah - good move on the part of her attorneys to get a bench trial, probably.


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