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Making Yourself Out To Be the Victim

It's old news at this point that one of the favorite strategies of criminal defense is to turn the client into the victim, thus to justify/excuse/mitigate whatever he's been up to. And "whatever he's been up to" can range from shoplifting to murder. It doesn't matter.  What matters is that some history of "abuse" or some newly-minted "syndrome" be discovered/exaggerated/fabricated in order to show that the client wasn't responsible.  It was the drugs/alcohol/stepfather/absent stepfather/brain lesions/gang affiliation/Twinkie consumption that was really to blame.

What brought this to mind was today's Associated Press piece, carried in a Huffington Post (no less) story, of a Minnesota state legislator, Kerry Gauthier, who was unfortunate enough to be caught in a highway rest stop having oral sex with a teenage boy.  It seems that this is not a crime, since the age of consent in Minnesota is 16, and the boy was 17.  Nonetheless, it was a source of embarrassment, so Mr. Gauthier needed to come up with something.  The something had to be a Gauthier-as-victim tale, since the more plausible Gauthier-as-sex-predator tale seemed less, uh, appealing for the re-election campaign.

Thus, as the story recounts,

Gauthier...told the AP that an overdose of muscle relaxants he took last week that led to his hospitalization was a suicide attempt. He'd earlier issued a statement saying he has been in recovery from chemical dependency for 30 years with one relapse.

When one version of the I'm-a-victim story ("I'm recovering from drugs") isn't working, you need to step it up ("I was suicidal").  Maybe Mr. Gauthier could get a job with the public defender.

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