Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Improper Use of a Weapon

A law student and beauty queen has been indicted for torturing her boyfriend --sorry registration seems to be required (Hat tip: Fred Ray):

A University of Arizona law school student and beauty queen has been indicted on charges that say she and three others held her former boyfriend captive for 10 hours while torturing and robbing him.

Kumari Fulbright, a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Raner Collins, was indicted Dec. 18 on five felony charges – armed robbery, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Check out the comments to the post--some people, in the examples below, are asking what the boyfriend did to deserve being bitten, threatened, and held at gunpoint:

I wonder what he did to her that made her do this? I would like to hear her story. Was this drug related? Obviously this is big from a law student to the dark side. Something pushed her over the edge.

What did her former boyfriend do to her that she felt she could torture him? Where are her other former boyfriends?

Other commenters are more concerned with her looks or her sexiness than with her criminal acts:

Beauty queen? Did she have a gun on the judges?

Don't know if this makes me a bad person or not, but that story kind of turned me on a bit.

With this attitude, it's no wonder women's acts of violence are held to a double standard and not taken as seriously as men's. Women are sexy and cute if they commit violent acts or they are forced to act violently because of the actions of a man. They are not autonomous beings who are responsible for their own behavior. How sexist is that?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree about the double standard. Look at the last line of the story:

"Police said the man’s injuries were consistent with his story."

The police, and the press it seems, doubted the man's story until they verified his injuries.

When have you ever seen a similar comment when a woman was the victim?

9:16 AM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger Carl said...

If this law student did this she should get the maximum sentence available and it would be a great idea to publicize that as much as the beauty pageant pictures that are getting spread all over the world as I write. How about putting up her booking picture instead?

9:20 AM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Dr. Helen
RE: As They Say Amongst Tankers....

"With this attitude, it's no wonder women's acts of violence are held to a double standard and not taken as seriously as men's. Women are sexy and cute if they commit violent acts or they are forced to act violently because of the actions of a man. They are not autonomous beings who are responsible for their own behavior. How sexist is that?" -- Dr. Helen


Cease fire....

Happy New Year,

[Women, n., the unfair sex. -- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary]

9:35 AM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger TJIC said...

Guys, stay away from those beauty queens - they’re brittle, psycho, and scary! Find yourself a nice mild CS major, maybe.

(For the record; the above joke is just in fun - I think that the vast majority of women are wonderful people).

10:26 AM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger Sid said...

Serious crime. Very.

I hope all four are prosecuted to the fullest extent.

But like many, I doubt that SHE will be treated as harshly as her MALE co-conspirators. If this case is followed, we are likely to hear that she is a great person who was pushed into a poor decision by the men in her life while she was on a break from reading to blind children at an orphanage next to the Habitat for Humanity home she was building in a poor neighborhood that she came to as a legal aid volunteer.

The victim will be portrayed as a jerk. We may hear that he abused her and forced her into making the decision to call upon friends to help her defend herself.

She will not remember sticking the knife in his ear.

I call this the Winkler narrative. It has a good track record.

And it is a damn shame.

10:32 AM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Might I just add that the very idea of Beauty Pageants in this day and age is incredibly stupid, and the fact that someone is first identified as a "Beauty Queen" is silly and bizarre.

We should either treat women like prized cows at the state fair, or not -- just pick one approach and be consistent!

I recall in High School the most progressive, liberal feminist girl I knew had a strange soft spot in her heart for beauty pageants ... perhaps because she won the Arkansas Junior Miss pageant...

11:17 AM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger fredösphere said...

This happened probably because the boyfriend was dressed too provocatively.

11:24 AM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger James R. Rummel said...

Though I am certainly willing to admit that there is a double standard as to how people perceive female and male suspects, let us not forget that there is also a large divide between the perception of ugly and attractive criminals.

It might be before your time, Dr. Helen, but there was a very vocal upswelling of support for accused serial killer Ted Bundy. Most of his fans were women, something particularly puzzling since he confined himself to female victims.

More recently, we have the Mendez brothers. If memory serves, their first trial was ruled a mistrial because the juries couldn't return a verdict, mainly because some of the female jurors refused to declare the suspects guilty even though the evidence was so incredibly overwhelming.

Unattractive serial killer Eileen Wuornos used a strikingly similar defense, that she was the victim of repeated and terrible sexual abuse. But she was convicted in very short order, with no hung juries.


1:57 PM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I wonder if Kumari Fulbright's attorney will claim she is too pretty to go to prison a la Debra Lafave.

5:21 PM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger Ken said...

The judge that Ms. Fulbright works for was appointed by President Clinton. Why am I not surprised?

5:40 PM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

I am willing to allow comments judging this lady's "beauty". The minute someone calls themselves a beauty queen, body builder or figures competitor then I am all over it, having dabbled in this myself. Any participation in a pageant or comp means that a person is working hard to achieve some sort of ideal. It also very much opens them up for criticism of their physical selves or pictures.

Having said that, Kumari Fulbright has solid delts, weak biceps, non-existent forearms, okay abs. She has much work to do if she wishes to be some sort of body builder which looks like the direction she is headed. Luckily for Kumari, the weight rooms in prison often consist of an excellent selection of free weights. Prisoners often concentrate on upper body and ignore the legs. I suggest she trade some legal advice (the most sought-after skill in prison) for some personal training in the prison gym. Years from now she could come out a lean-mean bb competitor.

7:18 PM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger Daniel H. said...


7:52 PM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger AZLawStudent said...

The Clinton reference was dumb. The students are appointed by the law school by a professor who coordinates the externship program. I had (past tense...I don't think she'll be coming back to school for awhile) classes w/ Kumari at UA Law. I always respected her because I thought she was savvy & had "survival" skills. She could've been great, but I definitely noticed a very dramatic change in her behavior over the past semester. I would guarantee this is drug related, as it appeared as though she was on something the past few times I saw her. This has nothing to do with the legal community, lawyers, judges or students. It has everything to do with Kumari and her very poor choices as of late. She went from being a potentially great attorney to a train-wreck in a short period of time.

7:55 PM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger Reinholt said...

Agreed that the Clinton reference was particularly asinine. What, should we start holding the employers of all criminals guilty for the crimes of their employees now? Be it on the clock, off the clock, or anywhere in the world?

If one looks closely, you can find coincidental connections in almost every single situation where something goes bad, because you can also find them in almost every single situation where something goes well. It's irrelevant; I mean, we could almost assuredly link this woman to Kevin Bacon in six steps, and I don't see anyone slandering him.

You'd have more of a point regarding Clinton if her crime was giving a professor a blowjob, anyways (cheap shot!).

Helen's initial point that appearance and gender are likely to play into this are well-taken, however, as is the point above about the attractiveness of serial killers. Attractive people are almost always treated better by the law, sadly. People are influenced by it, and normally do not even realize it.

9:18 PM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

I suppose it's okay for her to torture the guy, as long as she doesn't erase the videotapes.

10:34 PM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger goesh said...

In keeping the the theme of this post, it was payback for his erectile dysfunction thus nearly justifiable and should get her probation with minimal fine

2:19 PM, January 02, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She has a lot of options. First, as others have mentioned, she can claim that the victim maltreated her. That may have some weight with a jury, but the fact that she kept him on ice for ten hours while torturing and intimidating him will go against her. It's one thing to kill an abuser in self defense, even to plan the abuser's murder, but planning, getting other people to help, working him over for ten hours - that would seem to make it hard to claim self-defense. She might also claim that one or more of her "associates" influenced or forced her to participate - a Patty Hearst defense. She could cut a plea deal sending them to prison in exchange for a lighter sentence. I think even if she just claims her life was going to hell, she was on drugs, etc., etc., she'll get a lot of sympathy.

Like others, I'd like to get the tabloid scoop on her life. She doesn't seem like just a hard-working career woman. Intelligent, obviously, but with something else going on in her life besides lawyering and beauty contests. We need to know the connection between her, the victim, and the accomplices. Guess it'll all come out at the trial...

3:26 PM, January 02, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...

Aside from the obviously idiotic comments, what is sexist about wondering over the "why" of a crime? Motive fascinates.

Prosecutors are never under any obligation to present a motive to a jury...but they know durned well they better present one because we all want to understand why someone commits a crime ... and when the perp presents as a person with so much going for them (looks, education, high prestige job, etc) people can't wrap their heads around why such a person would risk all with such heinous crime. Either male or female perp.

This is also highly unusual because when it comes to very serious intimate partner crime, women are far more the victims.

check the government statitics... cops discover a male murder victim 1 chance out of 33 his murderer was his wife/girlfriend/ex

female murder victim? 1 chance out of 3 that the husband/boyfriend/ex murdered her.

dog bites man doesn't get a lot of newspaper column

1:20 AM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


Better check the way the stats are skewed. In 1976, females murdered more than 1,304 male intimates--about the same number as the number of women killed--1587. In 1993, men were the victims of about 162,870 violent crimes by an intimate partner. In 2000, an intimate partner killed approximately 1,247 women and 440 men.



The stats look skewed because there are not that many women murder victims as compared to men. In other words, percentages of all men killed and all women killed are used rather than actual numbers to make it look like women are being killed at a high rate and men are not. In reality, even in 2000, 26% of the spousal murders were men--meaning that more than one out of four homicides committed by an intimate was committed by a wife or girlfriend. Not so rare.

In addition, regarding the perpetration of violence, women tend to initiate violence against men more than the other way around.


6:22 AM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...


women intimates are still murdered more often then men AND the gap


has only increased between 1976 and 1996.

and I would contend that when 3 out of 4 intimate murder victims is female, that we are still dealing with circumstances that put male victims are the exception, not the rule.

Yes, women and men are roughly equal on intiating domestic violence... but the law defines down that violence to include a push, a shove, blocking the path (ie standing in front of a door) even destroying the PROPERTY of the other in anger (it is considered misdemeanor dv if during an argument one intimate destroys the others cell phone to keep them from calling the police, or goes outside and smashes the windshield of the other's car)

But I don't see why general questioning of 'why' this perp "did it" is any more sexist than all the questions that surrounded the Menendez brothers ... a lot of that coming down to "well the parents must have done something to make the boys do that to them".

It's anecdotal, of course, but I've worked in a DA office for nine years and I just do not see this "oooooo... female perps get a break" stuff. When it comes to intimate violence, it is all treated the same... straight couples, gay couples, married, dating, etc. Are there idiots who read all sorts of things into crime as did those commenters? Of course. Just recall the absolutely insane stuff said about Nicole Simpson and what SHE did to "deserve" getting murdered by OJ.

I believe it is valuable to inject some dispassion and facts into events when those events are used politically (such as when gender feminists skew or makeup "statistics" to prove The Patriarchy is alive well and conspirarying to "get us".) However, that means not engaging in the same politicizing from the other side.

9:47 AM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...

oh...btw, yes, the stats are "skewed" because they include all murder vics, but doesn't that also speak to male initiated violence in general? For example, yes, there are female gangbangers, but they are far outnumbered by male gangbangers. And the majority of female gangbangers are in the subservient role in gangs.

If you ever want some eye-opening info on So. California gangs, I'll happily put you in touch with some people in our gang unit.

9:53 AM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...


You say:

In 2000, an intimate partner killed approximately 1,247 women and 440 men.

Assuming there are an equal number of male and female intimate partners then women have almost a 3:1 potential of being killed by an intimate partner as men.

The stats look skewed because there are not that many women murder victims as compared to men.

I don't see where the stats are skewed. Women have much less of a chance of being a murder victim than men. And older white males that live in the burbs have a much less chance of being a murder victim than young black urban males. But the upshot still is, that if you are female and are worried about being murdered, then it may very well be your intimate partner that will perform the deed, no stats skewing required.

I have noticed in the news recently that there have been a rash of men who kill their kids, their exwives and then themselves when it comes time to transfer the kids after visitation and shared custody visits. I am not sure any government agency even cares about these statistics because no trial is necessary, everyone is dead.

10:07 AM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


And men have a 4:1 chance--hardly a rarity as I pointed out to Darleen. In addition, women tend to poison and hire someone else to kill their spouse, making it harder for women to get caught. Women are more illusive when they kill intimates, men more direct. And as you point out, there is a rash of men who kill their wives on the national news, yet when a woman does it, it doesn't make the news or it is local. e.g. we have a woman here who has been charged with killing one husband, possibly two but it is just local news for the most part. We had another case of a woman beating her husband to death with a baseball bat--again just a local story. The news is big when a man kills a woman, not so big in the reverse.

Also, what is interesting is that women in 1976 were killing their husbands as often as men were killing their wives and the rates dropped, perhaps due to getting women help, divorce laws, more favorable laws in general for women. Now, men face many of these obstacles. The law gives custody mainly to women, not men, men pay alimony and child support in 84% of the cases, men lose their families and homes more often than women, they are held liable to pay for children who they find out are not theirs, etc. Perhaps these unfair laws play a part in men feeling they have no way out except to murder--just like the women did in 1976. Does this make it right? No more than it did for the women in 1976 but the proper question becomes, how do we lower the rates of intimate murder? Provide psychological help for men and make the laws in custody, alimony and paternity more fair.

10:31 AM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Helen: I agree with you that psychological help for men would be helpful in allowing men to better deal with the end of a relationship. But there are plenty of good counselors out there and I doubt the discriminate between men and women. My guess is that as long as the money is green they'd welcome just about anyone into their office. The issue is more of our cultural stigma regarding men seeking help from a professional. Men often rail against marital counseling and personal counseling but are often happy with the results once they cross the threshold into it, assuming they get a good counselor. Making paternity and alimony more fair would probably not put a dent in the intimate murder rate, not that I am opposed to the idea of better legal balance.

As discussed on the board before, the reason men perform intimate murders or violence against their exwives and ex-SOs probably has more to do with the loss of the close intimacy and friendship. The end of a relationship/marriage not only spells the end of the romantic partnership but often the loss of the only close friend a man has. Men feel more failure when it comes to the end of a relationship. They are more likely to own a gun than women and are also more able to physically overpower women and children. I don't know how many romantic relationships you have had to end but I have ended more than a few and it is never ever pretty when it comes to the way men behave.

Offering psychological help for men is a good place to start but somewhere along the line as a culture we need to encourage men to form better friendships, closer friendships, see their friends more often and encourage conversations that include more than sports scores and air temperatures. Relying on men's "suck it up" capability doesn't work.

11:06 AM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


I agree that psychological help would be helpful but I disagree that counselors are all fair--and when men do open up about their feelings and this includes extreme feelings of anger which is often hurt turned outwards, people don't have to hear it, feel threatened and try to shut men down. Just witness what happens on this blog when any men try to discuss their anger. They are shouted at, called misogynists and told to suck it up. You seem to understand some of this and have a fair view but not everyone does.

11:14 AM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Brutus said...

I notice that something else is missing here-a discussion of the perps' ethnicity, which is telling in any discussion of violent crime.

11:56 AM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Kaya said...

Mrs. Lorena Bobbitt - Act II. That was close.

2:19 PM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Cham - some counselors are very biased.

When my ex-wife bruised my then 5 year old son's arms and her then boyfriend bruised the same son's back, all within three days, the counselor my ex-wife had him seeing not only did not report, as required by law in that state, what was clearly suspected child abuse but helped justify it and cover it up.

When I talked with this same counselor one of my closing sentences was "I came intending to slam *****(ex-brother-in-law) but I didn't." She wrote in her notes that I said "I came intending to slam *****(ex-brother-in-law)" and left out the other half of the sentence.

I filed a ethics complaint and the counselor, a clinical social worker, was forced to stop seeing my child. Interestingly, the state office of the National Association of Social Workers told me this person was one of their trainers. Scary thought.

4:21 PM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...


There are good counselors and bad counselors out there, I've had experience with both. The best course of action if you feel that you aren't benefiting from one is find another. Some counselors are a big waste of the earth's natural resources and some can be saviors.

4:58 PM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Serket said...

I saw this story elsewhere and I have to admit my first response was to see pictures of the woman for her looks, but then I read further into the article and decided it wasn't worth it.

6:06 PM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Cham - Yes, "There are good counselors and bad counselors out there..." I worked for 10 years in social services and mental health. I'm quite familiar with good and bad counselors.

This wasn't a case of me needing a counselor or a better one. This was a case of a counselor, supposedly providing family therapy for a 5 year old and his mother, being so biased towards women that she did not follow the law in reporting potential child abuse but acted to help protect the mother instead of the child.

I talked to the counselor one time to supposedly discuss what I might be able to do to "help." The counselor, a female, twisted my words in order to paint as bad a picture of me as possible. Which was my ex-wife's intention in order to be able to go to court and claim that in this counselor's eyes I was a poor parent. Unfortunately for her and fortunately for me, this backfired.

10:01 PM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...

In addition, women tend to poison and hire someone else to kill their spouse, making it harder for women to get caught.

So, you've got a link to the study that shows unsolved poisoning or murder by hire of men where the preponderance of evidence indicates the female intimate partner?

I have a great deal of respect for you, Helen. I lurk much more than I comment. However, I can just as easily start giving you lots of local murder cases that don't get much national coverage either so I don't count it as part of some Grand Unified Conspiracy theory. Coverage is about the ratings...so 'sexy' stories count.

However unfair some family law, or its practice, has been I very much doubt it has anything to do with spousal murder. Many victims are totally unaware that something is "wrong" with their marriage (ie Lacy Peterson) so what overwhelming fear of family law would be driving the perp?

10:18 PM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger James R. Rummel said...

So, you've got a link to the study that shows unsolved poisoning or murder by hire of men where the preponderance of evidence indicates the female intimate partner?

Dr. Warren Farrell has done a fair amount of work on this subject. Two quick and short essays discussing his conclusions can be found here and here. Below is the money shot.

"There are only two major statistical differences between male and female domestic violence: Women are more likely than men to use weapons and the element of surprise, and women are more likely than men to suffer serious injuries. The only studies which show significant differences in the number of male and female victims are crime surveys. These surveys are held in low esteem by serious researchers, however, because they only ask respondents about domestic violence in the context of crime, and most male victims do not think of their intimates' attacks on them as crimes."


10:52 PM, January 03, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:46 AM, January 04, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:49 AM, January 04, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...

James and Darleen,

Thanks, I was thinking of the work of Warren Farrell as well as that of Patricia Pearson in "When She was Bad" that discusses some of the indirect ways that women get away with murder.

Darleen, you might try taking a look at the Pearson book as it looks at some of the issues of poison and women using indirect ways to get away with murder. I do think that some men are reacting to a feeling that their family is being ripped from them and that they are being held responsible, yet with nothing to show for it. If a father is not allowed visitation or only allowed visits at the mother's direction, has to pay child support that is above and beyond what he can afford and/or has to pay for children that are not his, or for children that he did not want, it can set the stage for anger and frustration. If you want to understand motivation, you have to understand that a feeling of having no way out can lead to doing something extreme, does this make it right? No, but if laws exacerbate this problem for men--just as laws and society restricted women in earlier times--we may see some men (still very few) acting out in ways that might have been avoided with psychological help, a change in laws to make their responsibilities more fair and an awareness that men are human beings also.

6:10 AM, January 04, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, I just got a look at Kumari's mugshot. I know mugshots are always unflattering, but hers are in a different league. I think something terrible must have been going on with her between her sexy machine gun pic and the day of her arrest.

8:56 PM, January 05, 2008  
Blogger Michael Lee said...


Men do most killing, no question.
Most of the killing men do is of other men. Except for the very worst of men, men go out of their way not to kill women. Most men protect women, including women they don't know. If this were not true, you'd be dead or in a dungeon/harem.

The fact that a large plurality or majority (pick your stats) of women who get killed are in intimate relationships with the men who kill them is testament to how safe it is to be a woman compared to how safe it is to be a man. Women can dramatically reduce their risk of getting murdered just by not dating obvious a-holes.

Since you like to quote stats, I won't quote this one; I'll rely on you to know or find this stat. How many men, per 100,000 end up as murder victims? How many women, per 100,000, end up as murder victims?

10:35 PM, January 05, 2008  
Blogger Michael Lee said...

Oh, yeah...commenting on this case...

I have little doubt that the boyfriend behaved caddishly or worse.

The real issue here is the messages we are sending women about what they are entitled to do for redress of their romantic grievances. As far as you can tell from any old PG-13 movie in the last couple of years, they are entitled to kick, punch, plot horrible revenge, throw drinks, dump spaghetti, nutcrack, and stalk the new girl.

Couple these messages with the ridiculous Che Guevara/Jacques Derrida attitudes that most women going to college nowadays have infused into them, and you get this case. Send that many "go" signals and some psycho-bee-yotch will go reductio-ad-absurdum and end up Patty Hearsting her boyfriend.

Here's what annoys me about thoroughly modern women: they lack the guts to act out like that, but they have the same attitudes.

11:04 PM, January 05, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of them do have the guts to act out like that - and then expect society and the legal system to cut them some slack because they're, you know, girls. Just like the movies, I guess.

Fortunately, I've never had to deal with one of these. My wife, however, has threatened to slam my nuts in an unabridged dictionary (somewhere in the r's, I think) if I ever cheat on her. Doesn't bother me, though. We don't own an unabridged dictionary.

11:38 AM, January 07, 2008  
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