Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Of Fools and Professionals

Lawyers shouldn't analyze legal matters from afar. Mental health professionals (and lawyers, who in this matter are mere laypeople) shouldn't diagnose mental health issues from news accounts, either. If you go to a medical professional for a second opinion, you expect an examination and a diagnosis, not just a:  "Well, I read about it in the news, and I don't think you're getting the right treatment at all!"

Sounding off on the mental state of public figures you only know from the TeeVee screen is just expressing an opinion on what you've been told; but with the imprimatur of some elevated authority for that opinion. It's unprofessional, just like lawyers who opine on some other lawyer's case (you never know as much as the lawyers working the case know, and you aren't responsible, professionally or personally, for the outcome). 

Even I think Trump has criminal liability exposure from what was said yesterday, but I'd never leap from that to a pronouncement as a lawyer that he's: "Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!"  Mark Slackmeyer could say that about Nixon (and I think he was right), but Mark Slackmeyer was a cartoon character radio announcer.  He had no more expertise than what Garry Trudeau put in his speech ballon.  Criminal guilt comes from a criminal trial, not from some lawyer with an opinion.  A mental health diagnosis should be on the same basis.

Outside the comic strip (and Walt Kelly did much the same thing to Tailgunner Joe, so there was precedent), it's rushing in where angels fear to tread.

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