Re: Attention Deficit Disorder

douglass st.christian (stchri@MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA)
Fri, 22 Apr 1994 09:34:05 -0400

thank you for clarifying, at least in part, what ADD might mean in
relation to the Fay case. I can see better now how this might have
effected his judgement at the time of the actions he is about to be
punished for.

interestingly, his lawyer is not claiming this should absolve him from
responsiblity for the crime but rather that ADD puts him at greater risk
of psychological injury from the punishment itself. this may be part of
the new twist in the defense of the boy, which is that he is in fact
innocent, which would preclude a plea based on forgiving him his
repsonsibility since they are now claiming he never actually did it.

this is a real twist because his defense has gone from forgive him, he
just didn't [ or couldn't] understand the full consequences of his
actions to ' you beasts, you tortured him into confessing'. i can see no
consistency in this shift of tactics and so remain unconvinced this
latest effort is no more than a trick, which then calls into question
whether the other defenses ever had any merit.

anyway, fay's defenders shifting position poses an interesting
anthropological problem about the nature and reliability of evidence. i
go through my fieldnotes and find over and over again shifts in
informants 'explanations' of phenomena, either their actions or beleifs
or the world around them, shifts which need also to be recognized as
tactics in their effort to make sense. if all we have to go on here, the
only data at our disposal, is the varying positions his defneders have
taken on the case, what reasonable conclusion can we possibly draw, i
wonder. it's a question margaret mead never asked herself but perhaps
should have - just when and by what criteria do we finaly decide our
informant is lying to us.