Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Judge beleives that disturbed 14-year-old who later killed herself was "as much in control of the situation" as male teacher who had sex with her

Does this look like the face of a person with the sexual sophistication of a fourteen-year-old? This teacher, and the judge in his case, apparently agreed that since 14-year-old girl had already had sex, the teacher wouldn't be causing any more harm by getting a piece of the action. Others think the teacher took advantage of a disturbed child who ended up killing herself. I wonder if he could have made a difference if he had involved himself in her life in a more positive way.

UPDATE: New opinion piece by Meteor Blades

Unfit judge rules rape victim who killed herself 'was as much in control of the situation' as rapist
by Meteor Blades
Daily Kos
Aug 28, 2013

Outrage is growing against a Billings, Montana, judge who handed down a 30-day sentence to a rapist teacher and said the victim, who had killed herself, "was as much in control of the situation" as the teacher—35 years her senior at the time—because she was “older than her chronological age.” Prosecutors had sought a 20-year sentence in the case, with 10 years suspended. District Judge G. Todd Baugh imposed a 15-year sentence and suspended all but 31 days of it, with one day credited for time already served. The judge noted that the crime "did not warrant a lengthy sentence."

Whatever other rulings the 66-year-old Baugh has made during his time on the bench, that one makes him unfit to serve a single day longer.

The outrage began when the girl's mother, Auliea Hanlon, upon hearing the judge's ruling, stormed out of the courtroom repeatedly screaming "You people suck!" She had testified that the sexual relationship between her 14-year-old daughter and high school teacher Stacey Dean Rambold, then 49, had been a major factor in the girl's suicide a few weeks before her 17th birthday. Talk of the case on the internet and coverage in various traditional media have multiplied Hanlon's outrage far and wide.

Organizers plan a rally and protest for Thursday in a park next to the Yellowstone County Courthouse against District Judge G. Todd Baugh. A petition seeking his removal from the bench has been post online.

The case began in 2008 when Stacey Rambold, now 54, a high school teacher who four years earlier had been warned not to touch or be alone with female students, was discovered to be having a relationship with Cherice Morales, a 14-year-old student. He was arrested and initially pleaded guilty to a single felony charge. He was placed on paid leave from his teaching job, soon resigned and was forced to give up his teaching credential. In October 2008, he was charged with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent. The age of consent in Montana is 16. But before the case came to trial, Cherice killed herself, complicating things for the prosecution.

A settlement was reached. Rambold was granted deferred prosecution and ordered to complete a sexual offender treatment program after which the charges would be dropped. He finished the first two of the program's three phases. But then he stopped coming to sessions. It was learned that he was having unsupervised visits with minors and had begun a sexual relationship with an adult without telling the program's supervisors. "The violations were serious enough when taken together to kick Rambold out of the program, although it was learned that the minors Rambold was visiting were family members." Of course, sexual offenders never ever prey on family members...

Former teacher in Montana gets 30 days in jail for raping student who later committed suicide
By Associated Press
August 27, 2013

BILLINGS, Mont. — A former Billings Senior High School teacher who pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old student who later killed herself has been sentenced to 30 days in jail by a judge who said the victim was “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as the teacher.

District Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Stacey Dean Rambold to 15 years in prison for sexual intercourse without consent, with all but 31 days suspended. He gave Rambold credit for one day already served, The Billings Gazette reported ( ).

The girl’s mother repeatedly screamed, “You people suck!” and stormed out of the courtroom Monday.

Rambold, now 54, was charged in October 2008 with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent alleging that he had an ongoing sexual relationship with Cherice Morales, starting the previous year when she was 14.

Morales took her own life in February 2010 while the case was pending.

In July 2010, Rambold entered a three-year deferred prosecution agreement with prosecutors that said the charges would be dismissed if Rambold completed a sex offender treatment program and met other conditions, including having no contact with children. He also admitted to one rape charge.

The case was revived last December when prosecutors learned Rambold had been terminated from the sex offender treatment program.

Treatment provider Michael Sullivan said Rambold started missing meetings in August 2012, but Sullivan said he met with Rambold and he appeared to be back on track with his treatment.

Rambold was terminated from the program in November when it was learned that he had been having unsupervised visits with minors, who were family members, and did not inform counselors that he had been having sexual relations with a woman.v Defense attorney Jay Lansing said Rambold has since continued his treatment with a different program and an evaluation found him at low risk to re-offend.

Baugh said he was not convinced that the reasons for Rambold’s termination from treatment were serious enough to warrant the 10-year prison term prosecutors recommended.v The judge said he listened to statements given by Morales before her death and believed that while she was a troubled youth, she was “as much in control of the situation” as Rambold and was “older than her chronological age.”

Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he would not appeal the judge’s sentence.

“We respect the court’s sentencing decision. We obviously disagree with it, based on the recommendations my attorneys made, but it appears to be legally permissible,” he said.

Asked about Baugh’s reasoning that a 14-year-old girl below the state’s age of consent had an equal share of control of the relationship, Twito declined to answer directly.

“The judge’s reasons are his reasons and his reasons alone. He has broad authority under state law, given the proper criteria,” Twito said.

The case resulted in a $91,000 wrongful death settlement between the school district and Morales’ family.

Rambold reached a confidential settlement with the girl’s family.

Mont. judge apologizes for comments in teen's rape
Associated Press
August 28, 2013

ILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Montana judge apologized Wednesday for saying a 14-year-old rape victim was "older than her chronological age" and had as much control of the situation as the teacher who raped her — remarks that prompted protests and a petition for his resignation.

District Judge G. Todd Baugh made the comments Monday while sentencing former Billings Senior High School teacher Stacey Rambold to a 15-year prison sentence then suspending all but 31 days and giving him credit for one day already served.

...Faced with backlash over his comments and the sentence that protesters considered too light, Baugh wrote an apology in a brief letter to the editor to The Billings Gazette. The newspaper provided a copy of the apology to The Associated Press.

"I'm not sure just what I was attempting to say but it did not come out correct," he wrote. "What I said is demeaning of all women, not what I believe and irrelevant to the sentencing. My apologies to all my fellow citizens."

"I will add an addendum to the court file to hopefully better explain the sentence," he added.

A protest scheduled for Thursday outside Yellowstone County Courthouse will go on despite the apology, said organizer Sheena Rice, stressing that it's important for the community to show it is not going to stand for victim blaming.

"I'm glad he apologized, but he should have known better as a judge," Rice said. "The fact that he said it makes me think he still believes it."

A petition will be circulated at the protest calling for Baugh's resignation. An online version of the petition had more than 8,500 signatures by Wednesday morning.

If the petition and protest aren't enough to force Baugh's resignation, protesters will shift to defeating him in the 2014 election, Rice said.

He was first elected to the bench in 1984 and has been re-elected every six years since then without an opponent.

Rambold was charged in October 2008 with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent after authorities alleged he had an ongoing sexual relationship with Cherice Moralez, starting the previous year when she was 14. Moralez killed herself in 2010 at age 16 while the case was pending.

The girl's mother, Auleia Hanlon, said in a statement to the Gazette that she no longer believes in justice after Baugh's sentence and remarks about her daughter.

"She wasn't even old enough to get a driver's license. But Judge Baugh, who never met our daughter, justified the paltry sentence saying she was older than her chronological age," Hanlon said. "I guess somehow it makes a rape more acceptable if you blame the victim, even if she was only 14."

Under state law, children younger than 16 cannot consent to sexual intercourse.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Roberts Court is taking from ordinary Americans rights they have enjoyed for a very long time

"[T]he Roberts Court is unusually willing to take from ordinary Americans rights they have enjoyed for a very long time. The Supreme Court has a long history of standing athwart history yelling stop. This Supreme Court, however, wants to shift history into reverse."

Justice Ginsburg’s Terrifying Assessment Of Her Own Court
By Ian Millhiser
August 26, 2013

In an interview with the New York Times’ Adam Liptak, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg offered a grim assessment of the Court where she so often finds herself leading a four justice dissent — the Roberts Court is “one of the most activist courts in history.”

As an historic matter, this is a pretty staggering claim. The Supreme Court in 1905 handed down a decision called Lochner v. New York that is now widely taught in American law schools as an example of how judges should never, ever behave. Lochner treated any law improving workplace conditions or helping workers to obtain an adequate wage as constitutionally suspect. And Lochner was hardly an anomalous moment in the Court’s history.

Thirteen years after Lochner the Supreme Court struck down federal child labor laws in a decision that is also widely taught as an example of inexcusable judicial activism. In 1895, the Supreme Court rendered the country virtually powerless against monopolies and other powerful combinations of corporate power, and then it held an income tax on the wealthiest Americans unconstitutional just a few months later. The Supreme Court has, with rare exception, been a largely malign force in American history.

There is, however, one important way in which the Roberts Court is distinguishable from the Courts that decided cases such as Lochner. Laws such as the Sherman Antitrust Act and the first federal ban on child labor arose as lawmakers with struggling with many of the negative side effects of the Industrial Revolution. The birth of the railroad and the dawn of mass production massively improved the American standard of living, but they also enabled monopolists to thrive and they resulted in mass exploitation of the working class. The Supreme Court in this era did not so much tear down established rights as it stood for a status quo that favored capital over labor and the rich over the rest of the nation.

The Roberts Court, by contrast, has actively rolled back existing laws protecting workers, women and people of color. The Nineteenth Century Supreme Court blocked America’s first meaningful efforts at racial equality, but the Roberts Court stole from minority voters rights that they had enjoyed for decades. The Lochner Court strangled basic protections for workers in their crib, but the Roberts Court takes fully matured protections for workers and carves them up a piece at a time. And, while Lochner Era courts acted out in the open, undermining human rights in published opinions. the Roberts Court pushes an alternative, corporate-run arbitration system that operates largely in secret.

None of this is to say that the world we live in now is worse than the world our great-grandparents lived in under the Lochner Court — if the Roberts Court’s goal is to bring us back to this era, they are currently shy at least one vote. Nevertheless, the Roberts Court is unusually willing to take from ordinary Americans rights they have enjoyed for a very long time. The Supreme Court has a long history of standing athwart history yelling stop. This Supreme Court, however, wants to shift history into reverse.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

From The Onion: Judge Rules White Girl Will Be Tried As Black Adult

This story is hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time.

Judge Rules White Girl Will Be Tried As Black Adult (VIDEO)
The Onion
The court ruled a white teen who stabbed a classmate to death will face the jury as a 300-pound black man.

See video here: Judge Rules White Girl Will Be Tried As Black Adult

Friday, August 9, 2013

Those who passed the bar exam have failed to create a just legal system; it's time to let other experts practice law

“'This is the 50th anniversary of Gideon,' said Shapiro, referring to the landmark 1963 Gideon v. Wainwright Supreme Court decision requiring states to provide lawyers to criminal defendants who can’t afford one. 'If this continues, there won’t be anyone to hear Gideon’s trumpet,' she said.

"Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of the New York Court of Appeals, the highest court in that state, suggested the Gideon approach of publicly paid lawyers should be applied to some civil cases.

"He proposed that other changes, such as greater use of expert non-lawyers, should also be considered."

Deep Cuts To Court Funding Make CA Chief Justice “afraid to see the future”
San Francisco Appeal
August 9, 2013

The chief justices of California, Texas and New York and three federal judges deplored funding cuts and other roadblocks to public access to justice at an American Bar Association meeting in San Francisco Thursday.

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said she had reluctantly supported some increases in court fees as “desperate measures” in the face of deep funding cuts that have resulted in the closure of 40 courthouses and 77 courtrooms statewide.

“When it comes to keeping courts open, if these aren’t desperate measures, I’m afraid to see the future,” she said.

Cantil-Sakauye and the five other judges spoke at a session entitled “Are Courts Dying? The Decline of Open and Public Adjudication” on the first day of the ABA’s annual meeting at Moscone Center West.

About 8,000 lawyers and guests are attending the meeting, which continues through Tuesday.

The judges said public access to courts is impaired not only by funding cuts but also by the high cost of lawyers in civil cases and the so-called “outsourcing” of adjudication.

Examples of outsourcing, they said, are the use of private judges for those who can afford it and the use of mandatory, closed-door arbitration instead of open courts to resolve consumer disputes.

“There are reports that 75 percent of the people in our state can’t afford a lawyer” in civil cases, said Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson.

“There are people who have been denied their rights who will just give up,” he said.

U.S. District Judge Norma Shapiro of Philadelphia and retired U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson of Dallas said funding cuts are hurting federal as well as state courts.

They said the current U.S. budget sequestration is resulting in reductions in federal public defenders, limits on auxiliary services such as probation supervision and delays in needed technology upgrades.

“This is the 50th anniversary of Gideon,” said Shapiro, referring to the landmark 1963 Gideon v. Wainwright Supreme Court decision requiring states to provide lawyers to criminal defendants who can’t afford one. “If this continues, there won’t be anyone to hear Gideon’s trumpet,” she said.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of the New York Court of Appeals, the highest court in that state, suggested the Gideon approach of publicly paid lawyers should be applied to some civil cases. He proposed that other changes, such as greater use of expert non-lawyers, should also be considered

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Superior Court Judge Cline retires after 15 years

Judge Richard Cline.

Superior Court Judge Cline retires after 15 years
By Daily Transcript Staff Report
July 31, 2013

San Diego Superior Court Judge Richard Cline announced his retirement Wednesday, capping a 15-year career on the bench. His last day will be Friday.

Cline is well-known in the North County, having spent his legal career in that region before joining the bench.

Prior to his judicial career, he was an associate at the Law Offices of Richard D. Ring and then partner at Ring and Cline Law Firm in Vista. He also served as the president of the North County Bar Association.

Cline was appointed to the Municipal Court in September 1998 by then-Gov. Pete Wilson and then joined the Superior Court three months later.

While he has spent the majority of his judicial career in probate court, Cline has presided over criminal and civil cases as well.

During his tenure on the bench, Cline has spearheaded such community outreach projects as Youth in Court Day and the On My Honor programs -- both designed to expose students to courtroom procedure.

In addition, he has worked with California State University, San Marcos to develop the On My Honor Teachers Institute. The institute provides training statewide to elementary and high school teachers in an effort to enhance understanding of the state judicial system.

"It quickly became apparent that many of the citizens throughout our community had an inaccurate and grossly incomplete understanding of the role and operation of the court and the third branch of government," Cline said. "Much of this problem is traceable to the skewed information presented by the media, especially television. Many of my colleagues share this view. I decided I could do my part in educating the public through youth outreach programs."

A 1965 graduate of Claremont Men’s College (now Claremont McKenna College), Cline served from Ensign to Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy from 1965 to 1972. He received his law degree from University of San Diego School of Law in 1973.

Cline has both chaired and served on numerous committees for the Center for Judicial Education and Research, where he also served as faculty. In addition, he received a statewide “Ralph N. Kleps Award” for his work on the On My Honor program.

“Judge Cline’s outstanding community service work demonstrated his commitment to educating the public about the justice system," said Presiding Judge Robert Trentacosta. "It will be a fitting tribute to Judge Cline’s legacy for our court to continue this important outreach.”

Video and update on "M. E. Thomas", the lawyer in a wig who claims to be a sociopath; BYU law school is not amused

See original post HERE.

Dr. Phil thinks "M. E. Thomas" (above), the pseudonymous law professor who appeared recently on his program, might be perpetrating a scam.

I would say she's pulling off a cool trick--but not necessarily a scam. Her clever trick is to tell the truth--or something pretty close to it.

Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between a narcissist and a sociopath. Many, if not most, people are skilled at rationalizing their own bad behavior. Isn't it possible that people's ability to feel guilt varies from high to low, and would show up as a bell-shaped curve if we were to create a graph of how this trait is distributed across the population? Wouldn't the graph look pretty much like the graphs of our heights, weights, and IQs?

It's perfectly believable that Ms. "Thomas" ranks quite low on the scale of ability to feel guilt.

It's not illegal to be a sociopath. It's not even considered a mental illness. You only lose points in your mental health score if you sabotage yourself; it's considered normal, apparently, to sabotage others. I think the biggest factor undermining her claim is that she does sabotage herself. Either way, sociopath or narcissist, she seems to have calculated that she can get rich and famous by simply being herself, so why not?

If you see 100 people today, you'll probably catch a glimpse of a few sociopaths. One or more of them might even work with you. If you're at a meeting with as few as 10 CEOs, you will probably be sharing the room with a sociopath.

The problem is that the legal profession is not tolerant of discussions of its ruthlessness. But perhaps this Mormon female law professor barred in CA, who is likely Jamie Lund, is tired of being a law professor and wants to be a celebrity/author instead. Plus, she'll have a very interesting case if Brigham Young University fires her.

The Author of ‘Confessions of a Sociopath’ Might Be This Law Professor
By Elie Mystal
Above the Law
17 May 2013

It appears that a lot of you would like to know which law professor authored the “Confessions of a Sociopath” summary and book that we discussed yesterday. I guess it’s news if it appears that one of your law professors has gone on television to say that she might murder someone. Sources have come forward about the author’s possible identity, so we’ll share with you what we’re being told while noting that the anonymous author hasn’t yet officially come forward.

It seems that donning a wig and going on Dr. Phil to talk about your sociopathic thoughts doesn’t protect your identity as much as one would think

[Note the UPDATE after the jump....]

Let’s start with the video tape. Multiple sources and commenters reported that the the woman in the second half of this Dr. Phil promo is a law professor in Texas. Her segment on Dr. Phil is called “Confessions of the Sociopath” which is exactly the same title of the article from Psychology Today. The alleged professor shows up at the 29 second mark of the video below.

She calls herself “M.E.” to Dr. Phil. The author of the article and book “Confessions of a Sociopath” is “M.E. Thomas.”

Tipsters report that this M.E. Thomas woman is Professor Jamie Rebecca Lund of St. Mary’s School of Law. St. Mary’s, coincidentally, took down her bio just today (more on that later). But we captured a screen shot before the page was removed (click to enlarge):

That chin seems like the smoking gun to me.

You’ll note that there are many aspects of her bio that link up to details the author of the sociopath tell-all piece revealed yesterday. She went to college at BYU, she’s admitted in California (note however that St. Mary’s Law School is in Texas), and she worked for Irell & Manella… which has to make you wonder if there is some senior associate or junior partner at Irell “named Jane.”

A student of professor Lund’s contacted us to say that he believed his former professor to be the one who authored the article. From the student:

She was generally known as the IP law professor with big tits (she only taught trademarks and copyrights because she had no science background) and there were A LOT of guys (and girls) that were infatuated with her. The sociopathic part that people were able to pick up on was the stare – that blank, empty, uncaring stare. I met with her in office hours once. I wasn’t sure if she wanted to f**k me or eat me. I’m assuming now that it was likely both.

You’ll remember that in her article she talked about her “predator stare.”

But is this all a scam? Dr. Phil seems to think so. We reached out to Professor Lund, but thus far she has not responded. In the extended interview with Dr. Phil, M.E. Thomas says that “My primary reason for staying anonymous is that I have a family, and little relatives — nieces and nephews — who have done nothing to bring any sort of notoriety to themselves.”

We also contacted St. Mary’s. A spokesperson there said that the removal of her bio today was pure coincidence:

Her listing on the website came down today as part of a year-end update of law faculty not returning next year. After spending the past year as a visiting professor at another institution, she notified the School of Law early in the spring semester about not returning to teach.

Enter another Above the Law source. This source says that Lund did indeed intend to leave St. Mary’s for… BYU Law. Again, if you read yesterday’s article you know that the author crowed about how “[t]he Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a sociopath’s dream.” From our tipster:

She was set to become a law professor at BYU Law School. The Dean there is “getting his legal ducks in a row” in order to fire her. Can’t say I blame them, but kind of an ugly result nonetheless. She was courting that result, though: so many unusual biographical disclosures that pointed her way (Mormon female law professor barred in CA reduces it to a class of one, I think).

[UPDATE: 3:20] Additional sources confirm the BYU hired Professor Lund. BYU Law alumni have received a their new faculty list from the school, and they list “Jamie Lund (JD, University of Chicago Law School)” as one of the new hires.

Unlike St. Mary’s, BYU Law has not responded to our multiple requests for comment. Arguably, if Professor Lund is the author of “Confessions,” it does put BYU in a weird spot. Not that “alleged sociopath” is a protected class or anything, but talking about thoughts you have that you don’t act on doesn’t usually get people fired. I mean, she’s published, right!

But that brings us back to Dr. Phil’s “scam” allegation. Perhaps there is a sociopath out there who looks a whole lot like Professor Lund who went on Dr. Phil, and wrote an article and book with a bunch of identifying details in order to frame the professor and harm her in some way. But, absent the “evil twin” scenario, it sure appears that a law school professor went on Dr. Phil to talk about how she might kill somebody, then thought that people wouldn’t notice because she wore a wig. Is that what sociopaths do?

One of our commenters to yesterday’s story said:

Sociopaths are a nice a break from the swarming narcissists that currently dominate the profession.

Sadly, the wigged woman on Dr. Phil seems much more like a narcissist looking for attention. Maybe the only thing she wants to murder is her professorial career?

Friday, August 2, 2013

A lawyer who admits to practicing the fine art of ruining people


M. E. Thomas admits to practicing “the fine art of ruining people," seducing with charisma, and cunningly covering her hollowness with superficial charm.

“The law school environment made everyone a little more sociopathic, since we were encouraged to view our successes in a zero-sum game measured by precise numbers,” she says.

She describes herself as a "Nietzschean machine."

M.E. Thomas Is a Sociopath
And so am I.
By Patrick Bateman
June 7, 2013

Editor’s note: A Slate columnist awoke this morning to discover an envelope slipped under his apartment door. Inside, printed on bone-colored stationery in Cillian Rail font, was this essay.

... I pick up the magazine to read the cover story and see it’s the first serial excerpt from a memoir called Confessions of a Sociopath, pseudonymously written by M.E. Thomas, a female law professor who blogs about her pathological narcissism and remorselessness at

And she violates social norms like it’s her job. Emotionally she takes no prisoners: The high school teacher she falsely accuses of harassment, the friends whose boyfriends she sleeps with just because she can, the colleagues she mind-f____—they’re all just roadkill. It takes all kinds of anti-social behavior to give society an edge, and she and I differ in many important ways. She doesn’t use knives because she is too reckless with them—“I’ve cut myself many times. I can never force myself to be more careful, so now I just don’t use them”—where I use a Black & Decker Handy Knife, a slicer/peeler with several attachments and a rechargeable handle. She likes to get inside people’s heads with her ruthless charm, but I prefer a power drill. Between 1 and 4 percent of the population is just like us, if you’re willing to trust a self-aggrandizer like her.

Thomas escapes her abusive Mormon family and coasts through college and into a big law firm through manipulation and coercion. After she is fired for her lazy work, she undertakes a ruthless period of rational introspection. Once she embraces her true nature, she sees the dark light of harnessing her power, moving to a cushy gig as a law professor who screws with her students’ heads and prepares them to master the real world, just as she had in her day: “The law school environment made everyone a little more sociopathic, since we were encouraged to view our successes in a zero-sum game measured by precise numbers.”

I laugh out loud every time Thomas illustrates a point with an example drawn from legal practice. She writes about psyching out jurors as a trial lawyer and working the loopholes and core concepts, such as “efficient breach,” that sanitize unethical behavior.

But I wish she would go further in describing the baked-in sociopathy of the legal code as it pertains to business and the awesome unfeeling logic of capitalism. I sweat with excitement whenever she touches on it. Thomas talks about Al Dunlap, the turnaround specialist, and his appearance in a book called The Psychopath Test, in order to explain guys like me who know that manipulation is leadership and megalomania is a survival skill. “It’s probably no surprise that many sociopaths end up as successful corporate types,” she writes. “Sociopathic traits can be a real boon in the corporate workplace: unemotional, ruthless, charming, confident.”

And because she grows up Mormon (“a handy tool in explaining my eccentricities”) and builds her amoral resumé shoplifting at BYU, and because she uses an Etch a Sketch metaphor to explain her absence of core beliefs, she makes me think of Mitt Romney. Corporations are antisocial people, my “friend.”...

Patrick Bateman is a fictional character, the antihero and narrator of the novel "American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis.

M.E. Thomas On Her Sociopath Diagnosis: 'Seems To Explain A Lot' (VIDEO)
Huffington Post
By Alexandra Schuster

The term "sociopath" has been loosely thrown around to describe some of the biggest felons and criminals of our time. But that's not always so accurate -- sometimes they're just ordinary people who may not even be aware of their behavioral differences. M.E. Thomas, author of "Confessions of a Sociopath" and a diagnosed sociopath herself, joined HuffPost Live's Marc Lamont HIll to discuss her life experiences.

After a period of "self-destruction" -- losing her job and enduring several failed relationships -- Thomas sought therapy. But it wasn't during those therapy sessions that she realized her diagnosis. Rather, a coworker brought it to her attention, likening Thomas' behavior to another sociopath her coworker knew.

"So I looked up the term and I thought at the time this makes a lot of sense, but I didn't think much of it until years later," says Thomas. "So I started to blog and started researching more and thought this really does seem to explain a lot."

Dr. John Edens, Professor of Psychology at Texas A&M University, describes sociopaths as "people who are emotionally disconnected from others -- they don't have the same sort of desire for relationships or capacity to connect emotionally with people."

Thomas illustrates Edens' point, as she draws on her path to self-realization. Explaining that it wasn't until she got to law school that she came to terms with her diagnosis, Thomas says it was "natural" for her to think like a lawyer -- "very logically, rationally."

However, it wasn't as easy for her peers, she says: "Everybody else has to sort of adapt to [thinking like a lawyer]. They almost get brainwashed to do it. And they would do it for every single case except when it became something very controversial, like abortion or the death penalty. And they would abandon this "think like a lawyer" mentality and they would start relying on other things that seemed more important to them. They were reacting emotionally to it in a way that didn't make sense to me, but everybody did it. And that's when I think I really realized that I am different from these people."