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Local attorney weighs in on Landrum case

POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 - 4:01pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:54am

WACO -- 30-year-old Marcus Landrum, a man accused of murdering a Waco resident back in January has once again been dismissed for psychological reasons.

But, Vik Deivanayagam, a criminal attorney, said a man like this still holds a threat to public safety.

"People with mental health issues or one of the problems that we have with them, is that they are unpredictable when they're off their medication and in the past he's been found to be a threat and so I feel that probably still holds true," said Deivanayagam.

Deivanayagam has been in criminal law for 15 years and he said instead of letting someone just walk out the door there's another way to handle a criminal with psychological issues.

"The state would then come to court in a civil proceeding, instead of a criminal proceeding, and ask the judge to commit the person to a state hospital," said Deivanayagam.

To some people, the dismissal of Landrum's case being based on mental issues is infuriating but Deivanayagam said there's a reason why courts make those decisions.

"I can understand peoples frustration and anger. But one of the things we have to remember is this: our system is built on the premise that you can, you should punish people, only if they understand what they're being punished for," said Deivanayagam.

If a person truly is insane or incompetent to the point that they don't even understand why they're in court, Deivanayagam said their punishment has to be ordered accordingly.

"It doesn't make any sense to fill our jails and put these people there where taxpayers have to pay for them to be in our jails. These people are better served in a different setting. A more, therapeutic setting."

Attorneys say that if you know someone with a mental health issue, it's important to get them help, because if not, it's likely they'll end up in the criminal system, and once you're in the criminal system, it's hard to get out.
 

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