Wisconsin’s barbaric justice system strikes again! Morgan Geyser, 12 at the time of the incident known nationally as the Slender Man Stabbing, has been officially charged as an adult. The Court of Appeals, composed of Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer, and Judges Paul Reilly and Brian Hagedorn, affirmed County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren’s decision from August 10th, 2015. Their decision cited the following conclusion, “The circuit court properly “examined the relevant facts, applied a proper standard of law, and [used] a demonstrated rational process” to reach a reasonable discretionary decision to retain adult jurisdiction of Geyser.”
This conclusion is based on the following legal criteria, discussed by Bruce Vielmetti in his recent Court of Appeals article: “1) That the girls could not get needed treatment in the adult system; 2) That prosecuting them as adults is not the only way to deter others from similar crimes; 3) That the transfer would “not depreciate the seriousness of the offense.”” According to Bohren these criteria were not met, similarly the Court of Appeals stated, “We will not overturn a circuit court’s discretionary determination if the record reflects that discretion was exercised; instead, we will seek out reasons to sustain the decision.”
Interestingly and sadly, the Court of Appeals Decision was based on misinformation. Under “WIS. STAT. § 970.032(2)(c): Deterrence” the following misinformation was cited, “Geyser does not believe that she is mentally ill, and she refuses to take medication.” Morgan’s mother, Angie Geyser, explains, “Morgan has never refused medication. This has been reported inaccurately so often that the media seems to have managed to skew the opinions of the courts. She has been 100% compliant with medication and treatment. The media needs to stop spreading this untruth.” Morgan has been fighting the media all along. The media has demonized Morgan in its endless effort to turn a buck from the misery of the world. Unfortunately they have succeeded in infiltrating the minds’ of Wisconsin Judges.
Despite resistance from Prosecutors and Judges, Morgan started taking medication after successfully achieving civil commitment to a state mental hospital, approximately seven months ago. We use the word “achieve” because she fought to be committed, and fought to have medication, not vice versa. Angie Geyser explains further, “She has developed insight into her illness, and wants to continue on the path to recovery, keeping her in the adult system, with the possibility of eventually ending up incarcerated in an adult prison, will do nothing but ensure that this does not happen.” (Court of Appeals article, Vielmetti)
What of the law itself? Wisconsin tries 10 year olds as adults? Tod Haller of Fox 9 (KMSP) in neighboring Minnesota explains, “In Minnesota, this only happens when someone is at least 16 years old and they’re charged with first-degree murder. But in Wisconsin, they only have to be 10 years old — it applies to a few types of murder charges including attempted first-degree murder, which the girls are charged with in the “slender man” case.” So if we look beyond the Slender Man Stabbing media sensationalism, and misinformed Judges poised to “seek out reasons to sustain the decision”, the state of Wisconsin is comfortable charging 10 year olds as adults: Barbaric! We are calling out to all of those who would be Morgan Geyser’s voice – please comment, share on social media, and/or donate for a free sticker promoting Morgan’s cause. Get involved locally and lobby for the causes that speak to you!
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
~ Mother Teresa
We can be proactive or reactive. We have that choice. To be proactive though, we need to overhaul both the system, and the stigma surrounding mental illness. This is a tall order, which may contribute to much of the resistance. We must remember that these changes begin with individuals, and spread to the larger populace. At the heart of this issue is the perception of mental illness, because the system was founded upon these often negative and derogatory beliefs. If we expect to change the way in which we address our mentally ill constituents, then we must first change out thinking.
It is easy to think of mental illness as someone else’s problem, that is until it touches down in your life. Morgan Geyser‘s mother knows this best: Two years ago I was getting ready for bed as the laughter of three preteen girls echoed through our home. In the morning we would all have breakfast – Krispy Kreme donuts and strawberries – and then the girls would head off to the park. That was the last time our lives were normal and happy. Hug your children if you can. My daughter has been in a jail cell for two years. It is so common that the National Alliance on Mental Health now says that over 10 million adults are afflicted with a serious mental illness, nationwide. They also say that 1 in 5 adults in America will experience mental illness; that is 20% of the population!
Unfortunately the system is not prepared to deal with mental illness of this magnitude. The alternative to hospitals are prisons (although a poor one), and even our prisons cannot handle the influx. In Wisconsin, where Morgan Geyser is currently in a cell, there is an extensive waiting list for treatment. Stevens Point Journal explains, “With the surge in referrals, both facilities filled quickly, causing delays for anyone who still needs a bed. The only alternative for many in the state waiting to get in…is spending weeks in a jail cell” (Full article: Mentally ill inmates left waiting in jail). We must remember that this waiting list is for alleged criminals awaiting trial, many of whom must first prove to a judge that they are in fact mentally ill. During the interim they are left undiagnosed and untreated. Many of these individuals are awaiting trial for a crime, or crimes, committed as a result of being undiagnosed and untreated to begin with.
According to The Intercept, “The United States is the only country in the world that routinely sentences children to life in prison without parole, and, according to estimates from nonprofits and advocacy groups, there are between 2,300 and 2,500 people serving life without parole for crimes committed when they were minors” (Full Article: The U.S. is the only Country That…). Morgan Geyser (12 years old at the time) is currently facing a charge of 1st Degree Attempted Homicide, and is being tried as an adult, which comes with a sentence of 60+ years in prison. In Morgan’s case, she was suffering from undiagnosed and untreated, early onset childhood schizophrenia when the crime occurred, so she falls into both categories: a child and mentally ill.
We at slenderchance.com are looking for people to get involved! Engage by commenting on blog posts. Share this page on your social media sites. Tell the people you know, and ask them to tell the people they know. Donate with the button on the Support page – funds which cover legal fees for Morgan Geyser – and receive a complementary sticker to help promote Morgan’s cause. In an increasingly chaotic world with dwindling resources, where overcrowding is the rule not the exception, we can expect to see more and more mental illness. It is easy to dismiss until it touches down in your life, but the devastation it can create is terrifying. As a society we need to take responsibility for our own!