Monday, December 7, 2009

Harvard Professor: CNN's Nancy Grace Contributed To Woman's Suicide



By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network


"Guilty, guilty, guilty!"

Anyone who has ever watched former prosecutor Nancy Grace's show on CNN HLN (formerly Headline News) knows that she uses her prosecutorial skills that she honed so well in the courtroom and applies them to high-profile cases that she - and a panel of experts - dissects each weeknight on TV.

But sometimes strong assertions about people who are not used to be cast in the limelight can have tragic repercussions. Such was the case, asserts Harvard professor of psychiatry Dr. Harold J. Bursztajn, in the death by suicide of Melinda Duckett, one day after being cross-examined by Grace on her show.

Duckett was the mother of 2-year-old Trenton Duckett, who disappeared in Florida in 2006. By the time Duckett appeared on Grace's show, speculation focused on her as a "person of interest" in the child's disappearance.

The day after she appeared on Grace's show - Duckett, 21, put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. The child remains missing to this day, and Duckett is considered, even in death, as the only suspect.

Now the family has named Grace as a defendant in a wrongful death suit. In a filing supporting the plaintiffs, Bursztajin said Duckett's "unexpected public humiliation" on national television contributed to her decision to end her life.

Grace and the network both refute the contention that the interview led to Duckett's suicide.

I don't know if Bursztajin is right, nor if the lawsuit will prevail. I won't speculate, because it's unfair to rush to judgment.

Hopefully, that's exactly the lesson Grace will learn from this tragic event

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