Questions on mental state anger Kaczynski
Jonathan T. Lovitt ; Martin Kasindorf
Fed up with lawyers jousting over his mental health, Unabom defendant
Theodore Kaczynski became openly rebellious Tuesday at his federal death
penalty trial in Sacramento.
Kaczynski grew steadily more upset as defense counsel Gary Sowards argued
that his client's persistent refusal to allow government psychiatric interviews
shouldn't preclude defense experts from testifying that he is a paranoid
"Psychiatrists!" Kaczynski finally muttered. "No way!"
Defense lawyers suggested that letting the government counter a mental defect
defense without tests would be akin to diagnosing a limp without x-raying the
leg. That's when the defendant stopped furiously scribbling notes and fidgeting
with his glasses. He slammed his pen down, sending it skidding across the table.
Co-defense counsel Judy Clarke placed her hand on Kaczynski's arm to calm
The outburst was the emotional high point of a second, inconclusive courtroom
wrangle over psychiatric evidence.
Kaczynski, 55, has pleaded innocent to a 10-count indictment charging him with
interstate mailing or transportation of bombs that killed two men and maimed
Faced with reams of incriminating writings seized after Kaczynski was arrested
at his Montana cabin, defense lawyers say he can't be found guilty because
mental illness would keep him from forming intent to kill.
Irked by that strategy, Kaczynski stopped cooperating with defense doctors after
The prosecution wants U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell to bar defense doctors
from testifying about Kaczynski's mental health unless he bows to court orders
and gives prosecution doctors equal time with him.
"I'm not ready to rule, but I am leaning toward a lesser sanction," Burrell said
Tuesday. He indicated favor toward a compromise that would limit expert
testimony to analysis of Kaczynski's writings. Also, the jury would be told about
Kaczynski's disobedience of court orders.
Through his attorneys, Kaczynski refused proposals Monday that he respond to
written questions from government psychiatrists.
Burrell, prodding the parties toward finding a compromise on their own, could
resolve the issue next week.
In an earlier display of his sensitivity to having his mental health publicly
questioned, Kaczynski boycotted a court hearing Friday devoted to the
Tuesday was the eighth day of jury selection. By the end of the day, 41
prospective jurors had been approved. A pool of 64 is needed for the jury of 12
and six alternates.