Essay-Exam on The Boy Who Loved Transit: How the system failed an obsession by Jeff Tietz

Essay by tran.p December 2003

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After reading the report on Darius McCollum and having taken both a legal and psychological context into consideration, I feel that Darius had full knowledge of what he was doing and was surely capable of controlling his actions. Hence, there should be some degree of punishment for him. A determining factor that needs to be made known here is whether Darius' mental state was impaired to such an extent that he failed to understand the moral and the criminal element of his crimes. With that stated, what needs to be made clear is that Darius was legally sane prior, during, and after he was arrested. On account of his capacity to understand what he was doing and bearing in mind that he had methodically planned his actions, Darius should be held blameworthy to some degree. Furthermore, it would be difficult for a defense counsel to sidestep Darius' admittance of his actions.

According to Tietz, directly following his arrest, Darius confesses and admits to forgery and dishonestly impersonating transit authorities. This in itself would be a major setback to consider Darius legally insane. Still, there is a very blurred element of mens rea in Darius' case. What he shouldn't be held accountable for is the criminal blameworthiness or any criminal intent. As stated in the report by Jeff Tietz, "Darius gave no sign that he knew a (criminal) transgression had occurred." In line with this statement, Darius, it seems, truly did not understand that his conduct and behavior could hold him criminally responsible. It was as if his impersonating exploits were all a stage show to him and that the exploits he performed were for his own self-gratification with the dual purpose of helping others in the only way he knew how. For all intents and purposes, the only deeds that...