Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What's Up the Hot Mess's Sleeve For This Blog?

FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS... I want to say that I will not stop blogging on my website about bipolar disorder, other mental health issues, and the other random antidotes of the goings on in the world of the Bipolar Hot Mess!!  So no worries, your doses of glitter and other writings will continue on!

Phew. That said, THIS blog is where I will be taking my research skills learned in college, the course of my career as a litigation paralegal who worked on a variety of cases (large and small, high profile, low profile) and my love, genuine interest, and passion that lies in the criminal justice system and combine it with my love of writing, to discuss and explore the many issues that lie within each of the chosen cases. Of course, I will be addressing cases that deal with issues of mental health; whether the mental health affects the perpetrator or the victim, and I plan to show that those with mental illness are not always the perpetrators, but are also victims, but the cases I discuss will not be limited to violent crimes either. We all know that white collar crime can affect our lives just as much as violent crimes; just take a look at Wall Street and all the ponzi and hedge fund schemes. Those did not just affect the rich and famous you know.  Your everyday average Joe's and Jane's also put money into those investments (maybe not exactly the grand amounts that others did, but for them, it may have been a life savings) and were affected by them drastically.

Watching the live courtroom coverage of the high profile cases, my personal experience in day to day litigation procedures, and even my experience being on the other side of the table as a defendant has given me the ability to look at cases from both sides. While I did not have a jail or prison sentence, my then husband (now ex) did, so I experienced what it was like in the world of "Prison Wives." I experienced the every day life of a prisoner (which I believe was somewhat sugar coated by my ex-husband so that I would not be so worried) in the federal court system, which also affords me the opportunity to put myself in the defendant's shoes to analyze the full picture.

My addiction to the live coverage of cases began when the Casey Anthony case was televised a few years back. I not only watched every day of the trial (or as much of it as I could), but I found all the public court documents that were available online (pleadings, deposition transcripts, evidence, etc.) and read them all myself.  I wanted to see the exact sources the attorneys were using to determine what pieces of evidence were being used in or out of context so they could sell their version of the case to the jury. The Amanda Knox trial (the college girl from Washington studying abroad in Italy and charged with the murder or her roommate) had also captured a great deal of my attention because at the time, my ex-husband's niece was studying abroad.

Those two cases slowed down and I ended up going on FMLA leave from work due to my bipolar disorder. It eventually turned into long term disability and since I was home alot, I turned on the tv in search of some live trial coverage and sure enough, HLN and TruTV had just started covering a trial! In this case, a woman my age was accused of murdering her boyfriend in Arizona, it was Jodi Arias.  I watched that trial day in and day out. My tv (nor the tv in my boyfriends house) never left those channels while I soaked in every bit I possibly could from the daily courtroom activities, to Nancy Grace's opinions, to Jane Velez Mitchell's coverage, and lets not forget Dr. Drew! I was in heaven. Lucky for me, as soon as that case ended the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case picked up. SIDENOTE: While watching the Jodi Arias case, I was living at home and my mom would pop in and watch a few minutes her and there until soon, even SHE had all the tv's in the house tuned into the case. She got my dad and my sister hooked in as well. As if that wasn't enough, one of my awesome friends (and guest admin on my FB page, Dori), actually lives in Mesa, Arizona and all this was taking place practically on her front lawn!!! With spending endless hours of conversation and analysis on the case, we eventually declared ourselves "arm chair reporters." Of course we followed suit with George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin. :)

While completely immersed in Jodi and George, I decided I NEEDED to start writing out my opinions on the cases. I mean, I was so invested in these cases that I began to see that even though all the talk and discussion by Nancy Grace, Jane Velez Mitchell, and Dr. Drew and their analysts and experts was ok, but I had so much more to comment on and had many different ideas and theories and I HAD to express them, I couldn't just sit on them!. I didn't really have much "get up and go" at that time (thanks to med changes and the like), but then, I went back to watching some of the shows I used to watch all the time on the tv station, Investigation Discovery (ID). A pattern seemed to surface that I hadn't really noticed before and again, I HAD to share it! Many of the victims in the show had bipolar disorder, or some other mental illness. We can all attest to the fact that the media has made an overwhelming case to the public that those with a mental illness are dangerous, which can result in the blanket assumption to fear all who have a mental illness. The episodes I had been watching however, were very clearly stating that it was the VICTIM who had a mental illness. The first one or two episodes I saw that showed that, I kind of just brushed off as flukes, but they continued on with several more.

Now, being a mental health blogger and advocate, I saw this and immediately wanted to plaster all over the place "SEE! WE AREN'T ALL DANGEROUS!!! LOOK! EVEN THE MEDIA IS TELLING US THAT!!!" And posting a few posts on the Musings of a Bipolar Hot Mess blog about it would probably get the message across,  but definitely not on the larger scale I wanted it to and thought it needed. The more I thought about it, the stronger I felt that in order to grab the attention and deliver the message it deserved, I would have to do an entire blog focusing on crime. One that would allow me to write and research and immerse myself in all the details of the cases that I love doing, and I can still help reduce stigma in yet another way, on another platform, and from another angle.

SOOOOO.... VOILA!!!!! The Bipolar Hot Mess Turns Crime Investigator is born!

Well, now that we are born, where do I start? Lol! Well, I had already been gathering notes from books, and magazine clippings from my Vanity Fair magazine about cases that I wanted to learn more about, and then there were the cases from the shows on Investigation Discovery, and of course, the national news and headlines gave me some topics as well. 

Are you curious as to who you might find showing up here? Well, I'll give you a sneak peek of some of the cases I would like to cover. Some are violent crimes, some are scandals, some are profiles on people doing their job and seeking justice, some may be abusing their power, and some are related to mental illness, while some aren't. There are cases I just found interesting and wanted to discuss them. If the crimes were committed in the Chicagoland area, or somewhere in Illinois, those caught my eye immediately.  I can't guarantee I will address all of these because not only will I be actively searching for new ones all the time, but I will take into consideration any suggestions from you guys and some of these after doing a bit of research, I may not find interesting anymore. For now, here are a few that have been in my archives for quite some time and now its just a matter of where to start:

  1. Amanda Knox
  2. Jodi Arias
  3. Casey Anthony updates
  4. The Man In the Rockefeller Suit (Christian Gerhartsreiter posing as "Clark Rockefeller")
  5. Marc Drier (Wall Street Hedge Fund theif)
  6. Judge Jed Rakoff - profile on how he WANTED to punish the Wall Street offenders.
  7. Kenny Waters (The movie Conviction is based on his story of being wrongly convicted and then proven innocent)
  8. Nick Roses ( A Hollywood Agent in his 20's working as an agent for "young performers" but accused of scamming his clients)
  9. Manti Te'O (The Notre Dame football player that was called out on a hoax when he claimed he had a girlfriend who was a cancer victim. This is not so much a crime, but who does this kind of thing??!!!!!)
  10. Bill Ackman (another hedge fund scammer)
  11. Dr. Arnold Klein (Michael Jackson's dermatologist who was sued, etc.)
  12. Oscar Pistorius (The South African Olympian with the blades for legs) accused of murdering his girlfriend
  13. I have a list of names taken from the various ID shows that I will be doing some background investigation on which are victims who had a mental illness.

I am ABSOLUTELY open to any suggestions, or input, on other cases you would like to see me discuss. I also encourage you to comment and discuss these cases along with me and others that may comment. I may even create a private Facebook Group for those who want to discuss among each other the cases etc. if there is a strong interest there. 

To contact me with suggestions and comments, you can reach me via email at

AHHHHHH!!!!  I can't wait! :)

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