Thursday, April 04, 2013

Arias expert tells stupid frog story

A defense expert at the Jodi Arias trial testified:
Psychotherapist Alyce LaViolette: Most of us, when we do things that we want, either in a relationship or a job, and we are compromised, we lose part of who we are when that happens. And you see this a little at a time, it is gradual.
So nobody is losing all of themself at once.

There is an analogy that if you throw a frog in a pot of boiling water, the frog is gonna boil, but it is gonna jump out. But if you put a frog in a pot of water and slowly turn up the flame, the frog gets boiled because its gradual and it doesn't know what's happening.

LaViolette: Defense lawyer: Oh, okay. So can I guess to abusive relationships, when they're gradual like this, the person doesn't necessarily have that reckoning, that it is happening to them? Is that what you mean?

Yes, that is what I mean.
No, the boiling frog story is not true. I did the experiment myself, even tho I got some criticism from some animal rights sympathizers. If you don't believe me, do the experiment. Or look it up.

So what is this woman's expertise? Much of what she says is common knowledge, such as saying that relationships have ups and downs, or that one might be more in love than the other. But when she makes some claim, she has no facts to back it up. Here it is just a bogus myth to back up her conclusion.

Later she shows some knowledge when she says:
LaViolette: It's a mandatory report to the police [when a domestic violence medical injury is treated in California] ...

What I find to be most true is that there is not a lot of record of medical or police calls in a lot of domestic violence cases, that when people are intending to stay together, they don't call the police, because they don't want their partners arrested, they don't want a record, that kind of thing. ... That will go for victims of either gender.
There is some truth to this. The broader principle is called the law of unintended consequences. California feminists and liberals can pass a law requiring reporting, and the result can be less reporting, because the reports have severe and unfair consequences that people want to avoid.

Of course LaViolette does not have any data that would allow applying to this case.

She also testified:
LaViolette: I also, by the way, have people who are sophisticated enough that they are not doing physical abuse because they know that they can be arrested for it. And much more of the abuse is controlling behavior and psychological.

Defense lawyer: You mean you have actually seen perpetrators do that:

LaViolette: Yes.
So if laws against girlfriend beating are enforced, then men will do it less. But in her view, the psychological abuse is worse, so I guess these laws are counter-productive.

LaViolette was asked about the Conflict tactics scale. She said she had several disagreements with it. This drew an objection, but the defense successfully argued that an expert is allowed to give her opinion.

The trouble with this line of argument is that an expert is supposed to be following generally accepted knowledge. Once she starts disagreeing with the accepted knowledge, it leaves the jury confused. Are they supposed to follow the accepted knowledge or the disagreement?

And ultimately LaViolette's testimony is based on her impression of a lot of hearsay, while there is no direct admissible evidence for her premises. For example she assumes that Jodi was abused by her parents, and those parents are sitting in the courtroom without having testified.

A lot of what LaViolette says seems just plain wrong. For example, she testified that the evidence shows that Travis was jealous, and there is no trace of Jodi being jealous. But Jodi's diary said:
I certainly wasn't thrilled - no - I was DEVASTATED when I discovered that he wasn't being faithful to me. I just don't get why men cheat!!! ... Infidelity is so awful and causes rediculous [sic] pain. ... Each time the transgressor seemed grieved that I got hurt.
This proves that Jodi was jealous. LaViolette also testified that Jodi did not write about her being abused because she believed in the law of attraction. But the above diary shows that Jodi did write negative things about Travis.

Update: The defense complained about the release of documents and videos, and asked that the jury be sequestered. The judge said no. The documents and video seem to contradict what the defense experts are saying, and the defense does not want the jury to see that.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Everyone agrees that the frog will try to escape boiling water, so it isn't necessary to try that! To do the experiment, one must heat up the frog gradually to see whether it jumps out. According to George, it did just that. That isn't torture -- it's the same as a person seeking shade on a hot sunny day.

I've tried the experiment with lobsters and it's true for them. You need to use a grate or steamer to keep them from direct contact with the bottom of the pot.

George said...

Please be civil. Boiling water kills a frog instantly.