Arrest and Depression

For the second time in 6 months, a client of mine committed suicide. The first did it with a gun to his head a few weeks after his divorce was finalized. The second, was on probation and committed the same crime again. He then went on to pick up two more retail fraud charges (shoplifting). The night before his arraignment for the first of the retail fraud charges, he went down his basement and hung himself.
Each of these tragedies caused me to stop and think what I could have done to stop or help them. For many of my clients, the weight of facing the judicial system is overwhelming and stressful. And facing this incredible stress, they sometimes do things that they normally would not do. For instance, I recently defended one woman who, facing a third retail fraud charge, went into a store and did the same thing a fourth time. When I asked her why, she had no answer.

I recently spoke with a psychiatrist about this and asked what I could do. Her response was, "Very little." But from now on, I have decided to talk about these things. For instance, when I have a person who is charged with retail fraud, I tell them that sometimes people will do the same thing even though the first case is not resolved. I have even started talking about suicide. Often times people, accused of crimes, feel embarrassed, feel that they have let their families and themselves down, or feel worthless, lonely or scared, and conclude there is no redemption.

In short, if you are accused of a crime and start to have these thoughts or think about committing another crime, get counseling. While facing criminal charges is not easy, committing another crime or taking extreme measures will lessen the burden you or your family faces.