Punished for attempting suicide

A “56-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday in Caroline County District Court to one count of ‘attempted suicide’ and was sentenced to a three-year suspended jail sentence, and two years of probation.” While the Maryland legislature has not enacted any law against attempting to end one’s own life, the state’s judicial system continues (unlike most states’) to recognize a category known as common law crimes. [Justin Fenton, Baltimore Sun]


  • It seems to me that is someone has already demonstrated themselves to be suicidal, that a conviction on a criminal charge will likely give that person an additional reason to do themselves in.

  • Punishment is definitely how we should help someone suffering depression. How about ordering mental health assessment and treatment? Oh wait that requires thought and effort.

    • not to mention money, after all, the prisons are just sitting there empty waiting to be used, right?

    • This argument always confuses me: Let’s not punish someone for depression; let’s just imprison him*, possibly violate his bodily integrity**, and strip him of at least one of his inherent rights***! In what world is that not punishment?

      *I know the term “hospitalize” is preferred, but if you cannot leave of your own accord, it’s a prison.

      **I.e. force him to take medications.

      ***Obviously, I’m referring to the right to keep and bear arms.

  • I could see this if the suicide attempt put others in danger–e.g., jumping off a balcony. Absent that–this seems a silly prosecution.

  • I’m more troubled by the prosecutor who felt it necessary to file such a case than I am with the judge who sentenced the defendant. This prosecutor obviously doesn’t know how to properly exercise their discretion.

  • I think the cited article gives a little more clarification:

    The case was presented to a District Court commissioner, who approved charges of attempted suicide, reckless endangerment, and endangering his safety and the safety of his brother while intoxicated.

    In Maryland, police officers present a case to a District Court commissioner, who reviews it to determine if sufficient probable cause exists to charge someone. The commissioner also can determine what those charges should be. Though they are judicial officers, most commissioners have no legal background.


    Riley noted the state’s plea offer was for the man to plead guilty to one of the three counts, and he chose the attempted suicide charge.

    The article does not say, but perhaps the terms of probation includes getting help for his issues.

    At least I hope so.

  • Old quote: “the beatings will continue until morale improves”