Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Now she’s got papers to prove it!

Remember Jimmy Piersall?

He’s the one-time ballplayer turned White Sox broadcaster and Cubs coach who used to spout out all kinds of wacky statements (remember what he said about baseball wives?).

AND BECAUSE BACK when he was a ballplayer with the Boston Red Sox he had a bout with mental illness, he turned the whole thing into a joke, often saying, “I’m crazy, and I’ve got the papers to prove it.”

All of which means that mental illness certainly doesn’t have to have a stigma behind it. Except if you purposely want it to have one.

Maybe it’s evidence of my own mental deterioration as I get older, but when I learned Monday of the fate of Judge Cynthia Brim, I couldn’t help but think of Piersall – whose own career played off the notion of his instability to the point that I think he achieved more in life because of it.

He certainly never would have had James Stewart portray him in a movie if he’d have been perfectly sane, would he?

BRIM, OF COURSE, is the judge who was facing criminal charges of battery for an incident in which she shoved a sheriff’s deputy in a courtroom at the Daley Center.

Assaulting a uniformed officer of the law. That’s serious. It’s the kind of felony that may only take a couple of seconds to do, but can devastate one’s record for life.

Except that Brim “beat the rap,” so to speak. She was found on Monday to be not guilty, by reason of insanity.
BRIM: She's had better days

Which sounds bad. We in Cook County now literally have a judge who has the papers to prove that she’s not quite all there.

PERSONALLY, THERE HAVE been many judges who – throughout the years – I have questioned their mental processes because of the off-the-wall rulings they have made on so many issues.

None of them had an attorney argue their mental stability, as did criminal defense attorney James Montgomery when he represented her during her trial. He convinced a judge that she was “legally insane” at the time she pushed that deputy.

Meaning her mental state was so off that she shouldn’t be held accountable.

According to the Chicago Tribune, it seems that Brim – who got re-elected to her current judicial post in last year’s elections – has a history of illness. Five hospitalizations during the past 19 years, and a medication regimen that she apparently had stopped taking.

MEANING SHE’S PROBABLY fine, so long as she’s on those meds. Of course, prosecutors argued unsuccessfully that she made a conscious choice to quit taking her medication – which means she ought to be held criminally responsible for her actions.

I’m sure there are those people who are going to argue that an insane justice – even if just insane temporarily – is something that we just can’t have. I’m wondering how long it will be until we get the serious talk of trying to remove her from the post to which she has nearly six years to serve.

Although I’m more concerned with the idea that she keep on that medication.

There’s no legitimate reason to dump her so long as she’s capable of being productive professionally. Which means Judge Liam Brennan (imported from Will County just for this case) may well have made the right call.

IN FACT, I wonder if we’re all worse off if we try to turn the name “Cynthia Brim” into some sort of poster child for punishing mentally ill people.

At the very least, I don’t think she’ll ever do or say anything as absurd as the many outrageous comments that have come from Piersall throughout the years.


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