Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Andrea Yates found Not Guilty

Andrea Yates was found Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity today:

A Harris County jury has found Andrea Yates not guilty by reason of insanity during her second capital murder trial for the drowning deaths of her children in the family's bathtub in 2001.

The verdict upholding Yates' insanity defense comes after the jury deliberated more than 12 hours over three days. Yates appeared shocked and sat staring wide-eyed with her lips slightly parted as State District Judge Belinda Hill asked each juror individually shortly after noon today whether they agreed with the verdict.

....It is unknown how long Yates will be hospitalized, but she will be subject to periodic reviews by state District Judge Belinda Hill's court.


My bet is she will be out within seven to nine years--wish her five children could have been so lucky.

Update: Dave Kopel has more on the double standards for parent murderers:

Murder a bunch of people in your family. Take long enough to perform the multiple killings so that it's plain that the killings were not a momentary passion. Are you the victim?

Consider Nikolay Soltys, currently on the FBI's most-wanted list for murdering seven people: his three-year-old son, his pregnant wife, two cousins (aged 9 and 10), and his aunt and uncle. Nobody defends those heinous acts. Nobody offers excuses about how tough it is to be an immigrant, to support an extended family, to cope with job-related stresses, or the like. Even though there is speculation that money problems helped push Soltys over the edge, nobody is claiming that the murders are "society's fault" because society isn't supportive enough of fathers of small children. Instead, Soltys is accurately described as a "monster."


Read more...

101 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

She was insane at the time of the murders, but she is apparenlty not insane now, since she has been through 2 trials. Someone who is not competent to stand trial is relegated to treatment until they are.

I realize the standard of culpability for criminal behavior and the ability to understand a trial are different things, but its a strage combo plate, nevertheless.

2:24 PM, July 26, 2006  
Blogger Dr. Melissa said...

I find it interesting--her very Christian, very "supportive" husband recently got remarried. I blogged about it.

How this woman will live with herself....unbelievable. By most anyone's definition she was insane. But don't all murderers have to be "insane" to murder? The fact is, her kids are dead.

2:48 PM, July 26, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

from what i have read, it seems that the father, and the religious extremism, that he followed, all contributed to the killing of those kids..

*In 1993, they were married and a year later had Noah. They planned on having as many children as came along, whatever God wanted for them, and told friends they expected six.

Yet soon after Noah was born, Andrea began to have violent visions: she saw someone being stabbed. She thought she heard Satan speak to her. However, she and her husband had idealistic, Bible-inspired notions about family and motherhood, so she kept her tormenting secrets to herself

In particular, he emphasized that people were accountable for children, and woe to the person who might cause even one to stumble. He once stated, "I feel like I need a sledge hammer to get you to listen." He denounced Catholicism, the religion with which Andrea had grown up, and stressed the sinful state of her soul.

He also preached austerity, and his ideas were probably instrumental in the way the Yateses decided to live. As Andrea had one child after another, she took on the task of home-schooling them with Christian-only texts and trying to do what the Woroniecki and his wife, Rachel, told her.

"From the letters I have that Rachel Woroniecki wrote to Andrea," says Suzy Spencer on Mugshots, "it was, 'You are evil. You are wicked. You are a daughter of Eve, who is a wicked witch. The window of opportunity for us to minister to you is closing. You have to repent now.'"

She continued to correspond with the Woronieckis and to receive their warnings. They thought it was better to kill oneself than to mislead a child in the way of Jesus—a sentiment she would repeat later in prison interviews.


**

http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/women/andrea_yates/index.html

so can you blame her, on her own, she did a bad deed, but without her husband and the religion pressuring her to have so many kids so soon after each other.. would she have killed them.. i dont know.. but blame should be spread out to everyone to contributed..

3:57 PM, July 26, 2006  
Blogger Baron Waste said...

during her second capital murder trial for the drowning deaths of her children

I seem to remember something from my grade-school civics class about "not being tried for the same crime twice." Her second capital murder trial? For the same crime? How many could she face?

4:10 PM, July 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're found guilty in the first trial you *want* a second one..so who's going to be able to stop it when a higher court finds fault with original trial? Yates was in the driver's seat.

4:16 PM, July 26, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

thing is, she was only tried for 2 of her 5 kids, so she could have been retried for the other 3, its a legal loophole.. it was because her conviction was unsound, so they had to have a retrial, using same evidence. forgetting certain errors in the original..

4:26 PM, July 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks - please dont blame her husband or the Church they went to or whatever. fact is, Andrea Yates was the person why committed thos 5 acts of homicide. She is a criminal, regardless of her sanity. I think that t he whole concept of "not responsible" for her actions, due to insanity or mental retardation is one of the biggest pieces of BS!! So what if she is mentally ill? I dont care, she is a danger to society, so, lock her up!!!! For 5 life-terms. Then we wont have to deal with her being released from a "mental hospital" in a couple of years and have her kill again.

5:15 PM, July 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course it's her husband's fault. It's always the man's fault. Women are so strong and independent and superior. That's why they get the pussy pass, afirmative action, vaginamony, etc. They don't have a problem living off of a man's income and screetching about how large and in charge they are.

Andrea Yates is the poster girl for feminism. It's just fine and dandy to kill one's own children before or after they are born as long as a women does the killing.

Truly disgusting.

5:39 PM, July 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Mercurior dude, blame the male. A pity he is not in jail too, he is totally guilty of the crime, he well, he was the nearest male to the crime scene, and as we know females do not commit crimes so he is guilty...

8:19 PM, July 26, 2006  
Blogger Sissy Willis said...

Some would say they were lucky to be out of this world. What if that were the one you knew as mother?

8:46 PM, July 26, 2006  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Like my wife says, "You're not insane unless they find you mumbling while playing with the corpse."

8:51 PM, July 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. The OJ case taught us that race trumps gender, even when it's pretty; this case looks to teach us that woman trumps child. Well male child anyway (4 out of 5 of the kids were boys). We already know that race and woman trump man, so we now know that:
race trumps gender
gender trumps male child
male child trumps trumps man

What else do we have? Female child?
Female criminal?
Married woman?
Male criminal?
Father?
Single mother?
'Differently abled'?
Gay?
Lesbian

Oh the fun to be had. So, come on, folks. Roll up, roll up. What do you reckon? Place your bets on the hierarchy of political correctness wheel of fortune. Here's my punt...

female child trumps race
race trumps lesbian
lesbian trumps single mother
single mother trumps married woman
married woman trumps male child
male child trumps gay
gay trumps differently abled
differently abled trumps man
man trumps father
father = male criminal


Oh to be a differently-abled, minority, lesbian single mother ...who is under 16. The very Ace of Trumps!

But don't stop there. That is only round one in this game for (destroying) all the family. What happens further down is where things get REALLY interesting. Does a gay, minority male trump a straight, white female? What if he's only a juvenile? How many gay white males = one minority female? What if some of them are differently-abled? Does a gay, differently-abled male child beat a lesbian criminal? (Ha! Trick question that one. You should know that a lesbian can't be a criminal).

So, answers on a postcard to:
Oh shit the chinese/iranian/iraqi army is massing on the border and our army is full of pregnant single mothers and
Fragrant Metrosexuals
Coming to a future near you Street
We were a great country once-ville
USA

9:13 PM, July 26, 2006  
Blogger dadvocate said...

As other commentors have said, interesting how quickly her husband is demonized. I wonder what the outcome would have been if he had killed the kids. But I think we all know.

10:43 PM, July 26, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...

I believe the Yates guilty verdict was reversed on appeal based on errors that occurred in the original trial, including the admission of testimony by the prosecution's mental health expert that the crime was similar to an episode of Law & Order in which the defendant was found not guilty by reason of insanity. It was later determined that no such episode had aired. Once the original verdict was reversed on appeal, the prosecutors had the option of dropping the charges or re-trying the case. They chose to re-try, hence this case. That is not double jeopardy.

In addition, I believe she was tried for the deaths of 3 of her children. The prosecutors could still bring charges for the deaths of her 2 other children, although the conventional wisdom is that they won't because of this jury's verdict. Apparently this jury was more impressed than the first jury with the evidence of Andrea Yates' mental illness. In addition, retrials generally favor defendants.

I encourage everyone to read the transcript of Andrea Yates' confession, which was published in the Houston Chronicle in February 2002: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/special/drownings/1266294.html. I trust juries - they usually make the right decisions - and I can't say this jury was wrong. Perhaps they were overwhelmed by the fact that she killed 5 children. It's hard to believe anyone, let alone a mother, would do that unless they were crazy. It's also hard for some people to accept that people can be evil. It's easier to believe they are mentally ill. For my part, I would have had a hard time finding Andrea Yates not guilty. However, I think there's a good chance she will be kept in a pscychiatric hospital for the rest of her life.

1:37 AM, July 27, 2006  
Anonymous Acksiom said...

Yeah, and I'm still wishing to see you or the Insta-Hubby fairly and objectively address the issue of routine and ritual male genital amputation.

Not holding my breath, though, now am I.

4:13 AM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger jw said...

I do not like this 'blame the husband' stuff; it is very sexist. No sane person blames the wife when it is the father who kills ...

Will she stay in a psychiatric unit for long? I do not know ... In most cases the convicted stays in the psych longer than he/she would stay in prison. In this case with the massive power of the women's lobby behind her, she may well get out sooner.

4:19 AM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

all i said was he contributed to the murders, the church that told her she was evil, the pressure on her to breed by her husband, the cramped conditions.

all are contributing factors. i didnt say he killed them, all i said was he contributed to the murders, he left her alone, when he promised he wouldnt, then she killed them in that time the husband was away. isnt that a contributing factor. if he hadnt have left, she wouldnt have killed them..

you think everything is done without the connection to other causes. yes a lot of people blame him, and he is culpable because the caused those murders to happen, by neglecting his promise. the church people who preached a brand of religious extremism, all had a contributing factor.

if the husband hadnt left, they wouldnt have died, if the church hadnt promoted their extreme beleifs, chances are those kids would still be alive.

anonymous 8.19 you are deliberatly misunderstanding what i said, even dadvocate. rusty yates was morally culpable, of contributing towards that crime. and so was the church they belonged too (who thought catholocsim was too wishy washy). the dr was culpable too, morally, by ignoring the facts of her prior medical history. and kept changing her pills.

thats the reason, thats why i said he should be partly to blame, if she didnt have kids she wouldnt have killed them, the pressure to have kids by society is to blame as well.

5:26 AM, July 27, 2006  
Anonymous the fat man said...

all crimes have links, if one of those links wasnt there the crime may not happen.

look at drug addicts who commit crimes for their fix, if the drugs werent around, (its a simplistic example i know but still valid), if the drugs were cheaper, less crime, if they werent addicts no crime.. but the price of drugs, the mental addiction, the lack of money are all contributing factors.

crimes do not spontaneously occur for no reason,

revolutions, if the government was better towards its citizens no revolution, if the people werent taught they could make a difference no revolution, everything whether its yates crime, to americas civil war, all had distinct reasons, if boston tea party hadnt occured, would there have been the independence.. maybe. maybe not but thats the point.

everything has a contributing factor to everything else in nature, and in society. criminals who steal because they are from deprived homes, steal due to that factor but also others..

5:36 AM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

http://rootcausescrime.blogspot.com

The root causes of crime are well documented and researched. Crime is primarily the outcome of multiple adverse social, economic, cultural and family conditions. To prevent crime it is important to have an understanding of its roots.

These are complex and interrelated, but can be summarized in three main categories:

Economic Factors/Poverty
Social Environment
Family Structures


Economic Factors/Poverty

In addition to lack of financial resources, poverty manifests itself in a lack of educational opportunities, lack of meaningful employment options, poor housing, lack of hope and the prejudice against persons living in poverty.

Social Environment

Our social structure mirrors to citizens and communities what we value and how we set priorities. Social root causes of crime are: inequality, not sharing power, lack of support to families and neighborhoods, real or perceived inaccessibility to services, lack of leadership in communities, low value placed on children and individual well-being, the overexposure to television as a means of recreation.

Family Structures

The CSCPC believes that families are uniquely placed in contributing to raising healthy responsible members of society. But the task of putting children first goes well beyond the family to include communities and society. Dysfunctional family conditions contribute to future delinquency.

These conditions include:

Parental inadequacy
Parental conflict
Parental criminality
Lack of communication (both in quality and quantity)
Lack of respect and responsibility
Abuse and neglect of children
Family violence
Crime prevention must focus on improvements in all three areas.

5:43 AM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

as you can see there are many root causes for crime, but if one root cause isnt there, then the crime may not occur.. in hindsight rusty was jsut as culpable, contributing i said contributing to the kids murders. he didnt push them under he set up the situation where she could drown them.. so please dont think i give her a free pass coz she is a woman, she is sick and should be punished for it, but it should be realised that its NOT only her fault. yes i blame her, but i also blame, her husband, the church they belonged to, the dr, all contributed to her death the dr if she was on haldol all the time.. chances are she wouldnt have killed..

it reminds me of the story,

for the want of a nail the war was lost.

For want of a nail, a shoe was lost...For want of a shoe, a horse was lost...For want of a horse, a rider was lost...For want of a rider, a battle was lost...For want of a battle, a war was lost...For want of a war, a kingdom was lost...All for the lack of a horse-shoe nail

Benjamin Franklin - Poor Richard's Almanac.

nothing happens without a connection to other happenings.

5:50 AM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Kelly Moore said...

I find interesting the comments about the pressures put on Ms. Yates and how they added to her "insanity," as the jury concluded it was. Some say, "He was too religous, he was too forceful about wanting children, he ignored her visions/desires, etc." Painted in the right light, the husband can be made to look abusive. Thus, we have an abused spouse lashing out in violence.

Typically, it is the abuser who is harmed, but here it is the children.

Right or wrong, in our courts the abused spouse defense doesn't work. I think it some cases the defense should work, but would not agree it should work in a case like this where the children have been killed (typically, protection of children is part of the spouse's motivation in killing the abuser, not the other way around).
The husband may have some moral culpability, but that shouldn't impact the legal case against the wife (she was insane, or not), but the law should not allow the insanity to stem from the husband's actions.

11:07 AM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...

Here's an interesting article on the father, Rusty Yates, and how the jury made its decision: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060727/ap_on_re_us/yates_tria

It seems the jury disregarded the legal standard for insanity in Texas. A person can be mentally ill and still be legally responsible if they knew and understood at the time that what they were doing was illegal.

1:37 PM, July 27, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a few years, she's going to be declared "well," and release. To make more babies. And kill them.

1:55 PM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger orpheus_sail said...

For reference, I believed in juries until I served on one about 3 months ago where a 16 year-old boy was charged with three counts of child molestation of a 5 year-old girl. The prosecution offered testimony, evidence, and a taped interview where the boy denied the crime before anyone asked him anything about the crime. The defense offered nothing - no testimony, not even an alternate take which might make me think the facts said anything other than what the prosecution said they did.

The jury convicted on one count and was hung on the other two. The justification by the two people who hung the jury was that '16 year-old boys don't do stuff like this'.

It was that point that it dawned on me that I never, ever wanted to have anything important to me in the hands of a jury. These are the people you stand next to in line at the DMV. There's no mantle of justice nor solemn loyalty to a search for truth which descends on people on a jury. I hope to never, ever come in contact with the legal system again.

Yates got a pass. It shouldn't happen. She killed 5 people. Whether she's insane or not, she should never, ever see the light of day again. No amount of pseudo-scientific sociology about economic causes will deny the fact that she, Andrea Yates, chased the children with a knife, held them under the water and looked them in the eyes until they stopped struggling.

2:10 PM, July 27, 2006  
Anonymous Teresa said...

She is a murderer plain and simple. She is going to walk away with only a moderate amount of time served. Her 5 children weren't given that option.

It doesn't matter what her husband did or didn't do. Many people live under horrendous conditions their entire lives and yet they never resort to killing children.

If the father had done this - we wouldn't hear one single solitary word about how the wife might have pushed him into it - nope - he'd already be strapped to the electric chair. The whole thing is disgusting.

The clear fact is that she is a murderess. The ones who paid for this were her children. But why bother to have laws at all when women like this can kill children and only receive a slap on the wrist for it.

3:11 PM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

no man is an island, john donne.

there is always a contributing factor, yes she is a murderess, yes she deserved to be punished, i agree with that, but to just put the blame upon her, is a little short sighted, lots of people suffer abuse, some dont go on to abuse others some do.. why, because life is complex, for example, if you were abused as a kid, you have a greater chance of being an abuser say 10%, add to that drug problems, maybe caused by the abuse an extra 20%, and so on.. until that moment when you snap, everyone.. who saw it and didnt say anything, let the abuse carry on, the signs and symptoms that were refused to be dealt with, all share culpability.

not that they are guilty like she would be, but they share it. and teresa have you ever seen in these mental homes for the criminal insane.. they are bad, the drs' try their best, but by the very nature, dangerous, violent people, and sick people, all together to think of it as an EASY option is simplistic.

why do people snap, the phrase the straw that broke the camels back, is very apt..

i am in NO way legitimizing the murder of children, or giving her a free pass, she did an evil thing, she did the act, but other people who allowed it to happen, they must share the blame. not by prison sentences, but by thinking and looking hard at their own actions then and since.. to make them a better person, less willing to let such a horrendous crime happen. for the want of a nail..

its a cumulative effect, its taking individual responsibility to the extreme. there is also societial responsibilities too, plus familial as well and so on..

3:37 PM, July 27, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My bet is she will be out within seven to nine years--wish her five children could have been so lucky."

Nice.

I'm not so sure I'd call a mother who's clearly insane and killed her five children in a delusional rampage "lucky."

I'd also be disinclined to "bet" on said person's institutional progress.

Geez.

Does anything the father said about the verdict mean anything at all to you?

3:52 PM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

there is a place near here, ashworth mental hospital, its a brooding place, it contains serial killers, child murderers, really dangerous people, ian brady this is an extremely high security prison/asylum, NOT a soft option.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashworth_Hospital

there is a psychic chill when you go past it, its so hard to explain.

3:55 PM, July 27, 2006  
Anonymous Jenny said...

mercurior,

Similar things are noted about the now-closed Danvers State Hospital in Massachusetts. To this day, Danvers State Insane Asylum Preservation Society has trouble dispelling those rumors that the hospital was built on the same ground where the Salem witches were hanged. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danvers_State_Hospital)


As far as Andrea Yates is concerned, let me be crude: Bitch crazy. But probably not insane.

Regardless of whatever judgement is made on her mental state, it floors me that Yates has a chance of getting out. She killed five people! Her own children! With her bare freaking hands! If she were man who killed strangers, or a father who killed his children, he'd be locked up for life, a la David Berkowitz (another truly crazy individual).

If she overcomes her depression and makes progress and stays on her meds, fine. Good for her. But she killed five people, and for that, there is no reason for her to be let out into society again. A ruling of insanity makes the likelihood of that happening greater than before.

Personally, I think all Andrea Yates needed was a pair of balls as well as a decent therapist and a good bracer of appropriate meds. Yes, she was crazy-- by all accounts psychotic-- but her actions after the murders show that she realized what she was doing was illegal. She was aware of the law, even if she was hazy on what was morally right and wrong.

And yes, I'd get Rusty Yates on being negligent, too. But that's another rant.

5:26 PM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

exactly, she did wrong and deserves to be punished, i am all for that.. but as you said rusty was probably negligent, and so were others who could have stopped it but didnt..

theres a difference between legal guilt and moral guilt. that a lot of people dont understand.. people who walk past a kid who's dying and dont help are equally guilty as those who beat him up, morally anyway.. but legally probably nothing would be done..

they all had an effect on her, and all should feel guilty as they failed her. and or helped increase the likely hood of the murders..

5:37 PM, July 27, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Dr Helen, where's your comments on this? Isn't this whole case pretty much your area of expertise? Isn't that why you write the blog - to add comment, among other things, from your lofty vantage point?

6:40 PM, July 27, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You people are sick and pathetic.

I'm not interested in casting about for others to blame for what happened to those poor children. Nor am I interested in speculating on the appropriateness of the jury's verdict. I suspect you all are just like me-- you have no knowledge of the evidence that was presented to the jury. You simply know that 5 children were killed and you are out for blood, regardless of the validity of her insanity claims.

Nor do I find it seemly to run around squawking like Chicken Little about the likely short-term of her mental hospital stay.

Something horribly tragic happened here. But in your thirst for retribution and finger-pointing(hey, don't forget the liberals!), you have lost sight of that. As a lawyer, I certainly know that at times it can be helpful to consider the relative fault of those involved. Similarly, I understand the place of punishment in avoiding future similar crimes and in protecting the citizenry (which after all is the ultimate goal of our penal system).

But sometimes, people, sometimes there is nothing to do but hang our heads and weep.

This is one of those times.

I know it's the blogosphere's wont to turn everything in to a topic for debate. But it wouldn't hurt you to recognize this as one of the times when that is unseemly. Instead, you have befouled the air around this case even further with your hatefulness.

1:55 AM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

anonymous 1:55:

Apparently you forget that the children did not vanish into thin air--they were chased down, tortured and murdered by their mother, Andrea Yates. Experts testified to their suffering. To sum all this up as you do to a "something horribly tragic" is magical thinking on your part, as if no murderer was involved--what a crock.

6:33 AM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger voloohaar said...

/points his finger

Teh Liberals!


... There. Happy?

6:37 AM, July 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently you forget that the children did not vanish into thin air--they were chased down, tortured and murdered by their mother, Andrea Yates. Experts testified to their suffering. To sum all this up as you do to a "something horribly tragic" is magical thinking on your part, as if no murderer was involved--what a crock.

Speaking of crocks...

Are you finished knocking down straw men? Feel better now?

Can you point to a post above that "forgets" about the deaths of the children?

Nope.

Based on your tone and general Yates-is-a-bloodthirsty-monster attitude, it sounds like nothing but the needle or the chair would've satisfied your bloodlust in this case.

One wonders when the death penalty ISN'T appropriate in your mind.

What is Andrea Yates' material gain here? She killed her kids because she thought she was saving them from demons while on multiple medications, as she told the police.

Experts testified to her craziness. Her husband, who should be the aggrieved party here, agrees with the verdict.

Why aren't you angry at him?

To ignore her mental state when you're a psycholgist is just bizarre.

Her crime was horrific. There is no debate about that. The issue is, does her mental state in any way explain her crimes, and does that mitigate her punishment.

Our laws say they do. Don't like 'em, lobby to have everyone executed for murder, no matter how nuts they are.

10:34 AM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger Mel said...

Anonymous 10:34, read through the following:

"So what if she is mentally ill? I dont care, she is a danger to society, so, lock her up!!!! For 5 life-terms. Then we wont have to deal with her being released from a "mental hospital" in a couple of years and have her kill again."

"For my part, I would have had a hard time finding Andrea Yates not guilty. However, I think there's a good chance she will be kept in a pscychiatric hospital for the rest of her life."

"Will she stay in a psychiatric unit for long? I do not know ... In most cases the convicted stays in the psych longer than he/she would stay in prison. In this case with the massive power of the women's lobby behind her, she may well get out sooner."

"In a few years, she's going to be declared "well," and release. To make more babies. And kill them."

"Yates got a pass. It shouldn't happen. She killed 5 people. Whether she's insane or not, she should never, ever see the light of day again. No amount of pseudo-scientific sociology about economic causes will deny the fact that she, Andrea Yates, chased the children with a knife, held them under the water and looked them in the eyes until they stopped struggling."

"The clear fact is that she is a murderess. The ones who paid for this were her children. But why bother to have laws at all when women like this can kill children and only receive a slap on the wrist for it."

"i am in NO way legitimizing the murder of children, or giving her a free pass, she did an evil thing, she did the act..."

"If she overcomes her depression and makes progress and stays on her meds, fine. Good for her. But she killed five people, and for that, there is no reason for her to be let out into society again. A ruling of insanity makes the likelihood of that happening greater than before."

"exactly, she did wrong and deserves to be punished, i am all for that.."

These are all the comments I could find that expressed an opinion as to what her fate should be. Which ones express an interest in seeing Ms. Yates dead? Seriously, the only place I could find a recommendation for execution was in your comments.

"[Y]ou have no knowledge of the evidence that was presented to the jury. You simply know that 5 children were killed..."

THAT'S ALL I NEED TO KNOW. The fact that she admitted to killing five people is enough for me to stand in judgement of her, and to decide that she is not welcome in my society.

11:54 AM, July 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Legal Definition of insanity is the capacity to know right from wrong. Andrea waited until her Husband left for Work. Then she locked the doors and ambushed her children. She went from youngest to oldest. One evacuated themselves and took time to die. She was callous, deliberate, planned her killings. She is a predator. Of that there is no doubt. If she had the inability to handle being a Mother or the stress she should have asked for help.

As usual FemNags have given her a Free pass. We will see more Attorneys arguing for Post Partum Psychosis as a result of this verdict. Yet the murder of children by their Mothers is increasing not decreasing. Young Women are becoming more violent where Gender Feminism is codified and their abberant behavior is excused.

Khankrumthebulgar

12:00 PM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Anonymous 10:34:

You state: "To ignore her mental state when you're a psycholgist is just bizarre."

I will point out that a psychologist's role is not to find a defendant guilty or innocent--that is the role for a judge and jury. An expert's role in the Yate's case would be to determine if Andrea Yate's met the insanity criteria for the state of Texas. Did she know right from wrong when she comitted the crime etc.? Forensic psychologists are supposed to be objective when considering data. You mistake their role as being one of a therapist or helper. This is incorrect in the field of forensic psychology. As for your accusation that I am saying that Andrea Yates deserves to be executed--that is quite a leap.

12:14 PM, July 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"An expert's role in the Yate's case would be to determine if Andrea Yate's met the insanity criteria for the state of Texas. Did she know right from wrong when she comitted the crime etc.?"

Yes, but the interpretation of that definition itself is one of the problems:

http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2005/111805_dix.html

Texas now, like many states, requires a defendant claiming insanity to prove to a jury he or she did not, at the time of the crime, "know" that the conduct constituting the crime was "wrong." Unlike many states, we do not tell juries what the law means by "know" or "wrong."

No one questions that Yates was seriously mentally ill when she drowned her children in the bathtub of her Houston-area home. Her illness dramatically affected how she perceived this horrific act. Almost certainly, she psychotically believed that her children would suffer eternal damnation unless she quickly ended their young lives. Her belief that she was ensuring her children's salvation prevented her from having a meaningful appreciation of just how incredibly morally wrong her actions actually were.

The jury in Yates' first trial, however, undoubtedly concluded that she understood in some limited sense that authorities would regard her actions as legally wrong. She took precautions against being interrupted as she carried out her plan. She notified authorities when she completed it.

Did she know what she did was wrong? This depends on how one defines "know" and "wrong." Yet we demanded that Yates' jury resolve her case without guiding them on what the law means by these critical terms.

This uncertainty permitted Dr. Park Dietz, a skillful and appealing witness, to adopt his own version of what the terms mean. On that basis, he persuasively but inaccurately assured the jury that despite her illness, Yates knew her actions were wrong and so was legally sane.

This abuse of the imprecise insanity standard occurs in many of the relatively few criminal trials in which insanity is raised. It distorts the trials, and as a result the insanity defense cannot serve its intended purpose.

The insanity defense should identify those people who have done terrible things but under such a misunderstanding of the surrounding circumstances that they were not morally to blame for having done so.

We can and do protect ourselves from these people by imposing treatment and either confinement or supervision until — and if — they are no longer dangerous. We do not, however, label them simply guilty of morally reprehensible criminal conduct.

If the terms "know" and "wrong" are defined as Dietz was permitted to define them, the insanity defense is simply meaningless. Any jury that takes the legal standard seriously will have to find the defendant guilty even when there is overwhelming evidence that the defendant lacked moral responsibility for the conduct.

In the last legislative session, a number of lawyers, mental health professionals and concerned citizens urged Texas lawmakers to consider a simple clarification of the legal standard for insanity. "Know" would be changed to "appreciate." "Wrong" would be defined as either legally wrong or morally wrong.

This change would not make insanity cases like Yates simple ones. But it would tell juries that they must not reject defendants' claims of insanity simply because the defendants retained some minimal ability to intellectually understand that their conduct was against the law.


Excuse me, but your glib, "wish her kids could get off that lucky" comment seemed to indicate that you thought Yates' punishment was too light, especially since you have no idea when she'll be released.

Calling her "lucky" since she's clearly sick is pretty bad.

You still refuse to answer any questions about the husband's comments about the verdict.

Clearly, you know the situation better than he does.

12:32 PM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger snowonpine said...

Mercuriour--Got any more excuses for Yates you haven't deployed yet? The fact of the matter is that, as someone posted here already, many people grow up and live in less that ideal circumstances, sometimes in horrible circumstances. Yet, the vast majority of these people, who I imagine are not tremendously happy, "well adjusted" people, are productive members of society who don't commit crimes and do not kill people. Yates is responsible for her actions. She and her lawyers played all the usual PC cards, gamed the system and she won. I would not be surprised if she was out in a few years, certified "rehabilitated" and "no longer a danger to society."

I always love these boards of "experts" who certify someone is not going to kill/rape again. I think that such board members should back up their opinions by agreeing that the people they certify as fit for release should live within a block of their residences. Now that's confidence in your opinion.!

Seems people these days don't want to believe in evil and certainly don't want to look it in the eyes. Had I my way, she'd already have had a date with Ol' Sparky.

12:41 PM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Anonymour 12:32:

One thing I know about many husbands and others is that they will defend a woman until the end, no matter what. The husband's interpretation of what took place is not of much interest to me. I have seen men shot by their wives who refuse to press charges because, it's "not a big deal, she is just a little ill." Just because Rusty Yates decides to forgive his wife does not mean that she is not guilty of murdering five children.

12:44 PM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger snowonpine said...

Oh, and as for the "inhumane" nature of "Ol' Sparky" or other methods of execution, it always amazes me how there is so much concern for how some rabid dog killer might "suffer" but the agony that that killer put his victims through is always forgotten and counts for nothing. I'm all for making the killer experience at least a little of what he dished out. If potential killers, many of them without conscience, have no fear of the consequences, what is to deter them.

12:51 PM, July 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anon824 said...

Go back less than a month and read the post "Women Behaving Badly on the Internet" and the comments following it.

Same thing. There are simply a lot of people who dont think women should be held accountable for anything.

The Yates case is extreme, but its not different.

1:12 PM, July 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get the anger over this case. Andrea Yates was blatently psychotic. Blame the system if you want, where (as one juror wished) "guilty but insane" was not an option, but don't blame lawyers or jurors for ruling her insane. That was pretty obvious. It's also not true that saying that Rusty Yates bears some responsibility for what happened is some feminist attempt to excuse what his wife did. He left his children all day every day in the company of a woman who was severly mentally ill, who had been having visions and hearing voices telling her to kill her children.

2:44 PM, July 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also get the impression that many people on this comments thread don't actually believe in mental illness and insanity.

2:51 PM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

but snowonpine. i am not making excuses, what she did was WRONG, but it probably wouldnt have happened if other circumstances hadnt happened..

see, i come from a country that abolished the death penalty, because of the innocent people arested and executed.. you cant bring an innocent person back to life.. look at the christie murders, an innocent man got hanged for it, when the real murderer killed others.. until you can bring the dead back to life, after you have proved their innocence.. you cant say anything or shouldnt.

its not excuses, she was sick, she deserves to be punished, death never punished anyone but the murderer, but 5 mins later, they wouldnt care.. so you want to kill them so they can feel their brains fry, or brain burn, for 5 mins of remorse.. guilt.. if she has to live in prison or in a mental ward for the rest of her life, and she is punished by that.. isnt that better, than 5 mins dead and gone..

there are no excuses for what she did, but blame can be spread to other people.. who failed her and her kids, but thats ok, lets fry her.. let people feel that justice is done, when it isnt justice at all..

yates was responsible for her own actions yes.. but it was a false idea she made the judgement on a false premise, so she knew it was wrong, but because of a the uber religious church she belonged too, she beleived them that women were evil, and that her kids will go to hell because of the bad mothering. so she had to kill them early on so they could be guarenteed to go to heaven..

see false premise but a "logical" answer.. in no way shape or form do i give her a free pass, she is guilty, and deserved to be punished, whether in prison or in a mental hospital (which isnt an easy option as some people think). it is punishment. death only lasts a short time, prison or hospital lasts for the life of the person before death..

3:54 PM, July 28, 2006  
Anonymous fat man said...

people should be punished for crime, and held up as bad examples, death penalty does not do this, i beleive it in fact makes it more likely that mure murders are committed by individuals. if your killed for 1, you might as well kill 12 or 200.. you can only die once.. where prison for life, should be for life, and they should be used as an example, u do this u end up in prison. and you have no rights. due to the fact you killed someone..

3:59 PM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger snowonpine said...

I see the insanity defense as a legal strategy that usually lets people who are able to understand right from wrong, but who have good lawyers, escape the punishment they deserve. Spent a little time in law school myself in my misguided youth and it was well known that there are little mental lists of experts who you, as a lawyer, can retain who will testify anyway you want as long as you pay their fee: you want Yates insane, hire someone from list A, your want Yates sane, pick from list B.

There is an ingrained sense of right and wrong, which used to be much more widely reinforced than it is today. Hunting down and killing your five children, one by one, would seem wrong to most people and seems pretty organized and purposeful to me; I don't see a totally disorganized, out of touch with reality mind at work here but rather a cold and calculating one, maybe frenzied, but perfectly aware of what she was intent on and that it was wrong; that's why she did it. My best guess, she was punishing her husband.

There is also the issue of Yates' responsibility for her own care. Victimhood is in the air and no one is responsible for their actions. Its always, to quote Judge Judy, the SODDI defense, "some other dude did it." In Yates case its the husband, the father, male chauvanism, religion, the mommy track, society, etc, etc. Yates as the tool of fate was the tune played to the jury and they bought it. Problem is, one way or the other, we're all tools of fate, so why should Yates get a pass?

4:33 PM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

but she hasnt got a pass, she is locked up in a loony bin, not the nicest of places.. feminists etc etc.. all want her free, but that defeats the idea of punishment for a heinous crime

5:57 PM, July 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just because Rusty Yates decides to forgive his wife does not mean that she is not guilty of murdering five children.

I would say that Rusty Yates knows a hell of a lot more about the case and his wife than you do, and I'd also submit that a University of Texas law professor knows more about Texas law than you do.

Yep, the tone of some of the subsequent posts confirms my suspicion: some folks wanna string up people no matter the circumstances and no matter their mental condition. Sorry, that's fortunately not how the American legal system works.

What's lost in all of this is Yates was tried in Texas, not exactly known for being shy around the death penalty.

I agree, I don't get the anger either.

6:09 PM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger snowonpine said...

The pass Yates gets is that in all liklihood a mental hospital is a lot better place than is prison with its possibility than some other inmate shoves a shank in her. Yates also has the very real possibility of being declared sane and released not more than a few years down the road vs. a lifetime in prison. So how much will each kid turn out to have been worth? A year in a mental hospital for each, a year and a half for each; I doubt it will be over two and it might be a lot less than one year for each. I'd say she has gotten off very easy.

When she is released I'm sure some women's rights organization or other advocacy group will embrace her and support her, she can probably apply for SSDI and welfare and who knows what else and there might even be a book, a made for TV movie or Oprah in the offing. Hell, she could follow the well used trail and make money off her killings for a good part of the rest of her life.

P.S. Could some of the anger be because Yates has brutally stalked and murdered five of her children, has gamed the system to escape real punishment and that meanwhile her five murdered children, old news, are totally forgotten in the rush to help poor Andrea.

P.S.S. I was a corpsman in the military during the Vietnam war and I saw and delt with some very disturbed and clinically "crazy" people in dispensaries, hospitals and closed psychiatric wards--Yates, from what I see, is nowhere near as "crazy" as the people I saw.

8:52 PM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger Radish said...

wish her kids could get off that lucky

Andrea Yates gets to breathe oxygen, enjoy food, wake up every morning--and in a few years she'll be able to go anywhere she wants, feel the sun on her face, do anything she damn well pleases.

I, too, wish her kids were that lucky!

10:23 PM, July 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S.S. I was a corpsman in the military during the Vietnam war and I saw and delt with some very disturbed and clinically "crazy" people in dispensaries, hospitals and closed psychiatric wards--Yates, from what I see, is nowhere near as "crazy" as the people I saw.


I'm sure we're all impressed with your expert, clinicial diagnosis of Yates, from your computer, based on your experience in Vietnam 40 years ago. Clearly, you know more about her than the experts who testified that she was insane, and the 12 jurors who listened to hundreds of hours of testimony, and her husband.

Yeah, again--some people just don't think insanity is a defense. It isn't in some countries, like Iran and China.

10:59 PM, July 28, 2006  
Anonymous Neuromath said...

It is important to understand that psychosis is very different from what some people consider to be "insane." Psychosis involves either evidence for the presence of a certifiable delusion, or evidence of halucinations.
Evidence for psychosis can be seen on fMRI scans of the brain, especially near dopamine receptors in the prefrontal cortex, dopamine receptors near the basal ganglia, and sensory thalamus areas.

Psychosis represents a debilitating malfunction of the brain's hardware that nonetheless is highly treatable in most patients with the use of anti-psychotic drugs.

The status of Andrea Yates should properly be determined by physicians and neuropsychologists.

3:00 AM, July 29, 2006  
Anonymous Neuromath said...

Punishment should not be the goal of society vis-a-vis offenders. The goal should be the prevention of offense or reoffense.

Punishment will not serve as an effective deterrent in many cases in a society that aspires to hold fair trials. This is due to the discounting of punishment value due to contingencies and temporal discounting.

For example, take the punishment value of a ten years mandatory sentence. One must discount for the perceived probability of capture, indictment, and conviction. Even if rather high values are chosen for these probabilities, such as .9 for each, you end up with a significantly reduced punishment value. (.9)(.9)(.9)(10) = 7.29 years. Now, one must account for temporal discounting. Each unit of time, in this case years, must be discounted separately. Thus, the sentence value will be greatly further reduced. Using the formula sigma( t units of time / n^2), where n = the nth year of a sentence, you end up with (1/1^2)+(1/2^2)+(1/3^2)+(1/4^2)+(1/5^2)+(1/6^2)+(1/7.29^2) = ~1.51 years! If six months passes between the commission of the crime and beginning of the sentence the value is reduced to ~.955 years, or less than one year!

This is indeed a counter-intuitive result for many, but it explains much about human behavior, from why the vast majority fail to save for retirement to why people procrastinate in general.

It should also be mentioned that many in prison are considered anti-social. Anti-socials physiologically respond less to punishment than non-anti-socials, so punishment for this population.

No wonder the US has some of the highest violent crime rates in the developed world and yet has more people in prison than China, which has more than 5 times the population and where people can be convicted of crimes at the whim of the authoritarian government.

This comes at a hefty price tag. It costs between about 25 and 30 thousand dollars to keep one person in prison in this country, and we have more than 2 million behind bars. The money can be better spent.

First, we need to stop confining people who needn't be confined. This includes all non-violent criminals for whom fines in proportion to total costs of crimes against society, including costs of prosecution and opportunity costs, are effective. That way, some can remain in society and be somewhat productive while paying society back.

Violent criminals should be held at the discretion of behavioral scientists until there is a scientific reason to believe they will not reoffend. This is a much higher standard than the current one, which sometimes results in the release of rapists after arbitrary sentences. It's time to take lawyers and judges out of the process of sentencing and let the scientific method hold sway. Judges should continue to preside over trials only.

3:49 AM, July 29, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

ok snow have you ever been to a mental hospital for the criminally insane.

some people who are classed as crazy can look and sound sane, others who look crazy are more sane. you cant judge people on how they really act, only with indepth study can you really tell,

am i crazy if i hate disorder, that i have a hatred of people moving my stuff and i get annoyed about it. if i see ghosts am i insane, if i see ufo's am i nuts.. or is the person who runs a church telling people they are possesed by aliens, and you can only be clear if you pay and study special techinques..

are they insane, or sane..

40 years ago, a lot of people now on medication, would have been locked up, single parents there was shame 50 years ago for unwed mothers, they were locked up as well.. the definitions of sanity and insanity have changed over the years, and the cures as well, depression wasnt easily cured 50 years ago, now you have prozac, xanax etc.. i worked in a psychology department, i spoke to the shrinks, a lot of them were odder than their patients.. but they were people..

andrea yates, did a horrific thing, she deserves to be punished for the crime, whether its prison, or the "soft" option of living in a mental hospital. but if she was sick and made judgements on false logic, then shouldnt we understand it a bit. THIS IS IN NO WAY GIVING HER A FREE PASS. i personally think she should be sent to hospital til she is cured then get sent back to prison.

6:28 AM, July 29, 2006  
Blogger snowonpine said...

Anonymous--I'm really very impressed with your "anonymous" comments. Nonethless, I think that having some first hand experience is better than none.

Neuromath--Mathematical calculations do seem to have a distancing effect and I think you have way over-intellectualized this case. Your approach reminds me of the papers coming out of some of the organizations devoted to Peace studies I used to see which provide, in ten pages full of mathematical calculations, solutions to conflicts around the world. Seems to me quantifying is not necessarily understanding in certain situations; the Yates case is one of them.

9:34 AM, July 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has there ever been a murder where the murderer could not present "mitigating" circumstances? Every excuse offered by a murderer or his/her defense attorney could be an excuse to murder by the rest of the population -- who somehow restrain themselves. Yes, even the poor and isolated, those in brutal relationships, people certifiably insane, those who don't have the wealth they feel they deserve, those tormented by politics or religion or just a nasty neighbor.

But to me it is unfathomably heinous that Yates tortured and killed each of her children. She knew that what she did was evil (her statements to the police). I think she should have been the one, the only one, to die that day by her hand if she was so bent on causing death.

Yes, the public and legal reactions are different for Yates than they would have been if a man committed the same crime. Stupid. But the focus should be on holding people accountable for doing harm to children. Sometimes, I swear, it seems a criminal will spend more time in jail for rape that for slaughtering a child.

9:56 PM, July 29, 2006  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

The issue is the blatant sexist double standard when it comes to holding people accountable for their actions. We are supposed to feel pity for Andrea due to the circumstances of her life. No one seems to want to pity Jeffery Dahmer for his fucked up childhood that led to him becoming a homosexual blackwidow. But look at all the energy and moral equivacation showered on Ms Yates to see the case from her point of view.

11:59 AM, July 30, 2006  
Blogger Rowena Hullfire said...

I think the most important outcome in this case is that it shows that Tom Cruise is wrong and Brooke Shields is right.

j/k

4:19 PM, July 30, 2006  
Blogger AmericanWoman said...

It's not often we have such a medical/mental health history of a accused murderer. If someone who has been diagnosed as psychotic and been in a mental hosptital a few time can't be found guilty by reason of insanity, then who can? The issue is not that she didn't kill the kids or that she is getting off or is 'lucky'. We don't punish people for vengence but for other reasons. She will be locked up in a mental facility where she belongs. She will not have any children at least while she is there. She is getting treatment and is not a threat to others. How much more do you want done to this woman????

IMO the husband and her caregivers bear responsibility for what happened. I would have liked to have seen both of them charged with negligent homicide. They had more control over the situation than Andrea Yates did. She should not have been left alone with the children.

9:06 PM, July 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

previous comment:

>They had more control over the situation than Andrea Yates did.

See, that's the point. No.

12:09 AM, July 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yep- about 25-30 more posts since my post and STILL no one (especially not "Dr." Helen) is bothering to discuss the actual facts as presented at trial as to whether this woman was insane or not. which of course is THE issue.

we can i'm sure debate that evidence, whether it was sufficient or credible, etc etc. but no, that's not what we have here.

as someone else has already said on here-- i suspect you naysayers would naysay ANY verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. you don't actually have any arguments that the verdict itself was in error pursuant to the law, you just don't except the insanity defense under ANY circumstances.

now, you can argue that if you want--but of course, that ain't the law. in every state of the union, the insanity defense is available.

and it sure as shit seems like a weird point of view for a "dr" of psychology to take. and, i suspect, that most of you would back off that opinion in certain circumstances. for example, my sister was born mentally retarded and in her 20's developed schizophrenia. now i don't think she'd ever hurt a fly, but god forbid if she went off her meds and something crazy happened? if you had such a relative? i can't believe you'd actually think that such a person belonged in prison with the rest of the population for the rest of her life.

if i'm right, then the only question is under the facts of this case, was the jury correct in finding yates not guilty by reason of insanity? that's the sort of discussion that should be going on here. and that discussion requires some knowledge of the evidence on that issue.

2:15 AM, July 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and when i say "you just don't except the insanity defense..." what i mean is "you just don't ACCEPT the insanity defense..."

2:18 AM, July 31, 2006  
Anonymous fat man cometh said...

insanity is a very subjective idea, whats insane to society, could be fine for you. so long as it hurts no one else.

as american woman said **IMO the husband and her caregivers bear responsibility for what happened. I would have liked to have seen both of them charged with negligent homicide. They had more control over the situation than Andrea Yates did. She should not have been left alone with the children**

thats the real thing, she was insane or not, the facts are other people contributed towards that crime, in different ways, if society hadnt been so child centric, if she hadnt suffered bi polar, if she hadnt been taken off medicines, if ..and so on. thats the real thing, yes she did a crime thats awful to most of humanity, and needs to be punished/treated accordingly. as should all others who allowed it to happen, from dadvocates site.

to do nothing, when they could have stopped it, is the true evil.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
- Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, first Baron Lytton

4:50 AM, July 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Presuming insanity, which is the more harsh yet just "punishment"? Is it to leave her in a prison environment hearing voices and without adequate medical treatment, or is it for her to regain at least some measure of her sanity and live a long time with full cognition of what she has done?

I suggest that it is the latter.

10:26 AM, July 31, 2006  
Anonymous Ken said...

"IMO the husband and her caregivers bear responsibility for what happened. I would have liked to have seen both of them charged with negligent homicide. They had more control over the situation than Andrea Yates did. She should not have been left alone with the children."

What real choice did he have? If he stopped working, they'd have an even harder time getting treatment for her. If he tried to leave her, what assurance would he have that he'd be allowed to take the kids with him? If he tried to leave and then failed to get custody, she'd be alone with the kids a hell of a lot more than before.

And why should he have foreseen that she'd kill the kids? There's lots of mentally ill mothers running around, and very few of them kill the kids. He had no reason to expect her to do that until she'd already done it.

3:10 PM, July 31, 2006  
Blogger AmericanWoman said...

ken, would you leave your kids with your wife if she was diagnosed as psychotic, was on several anti-psychotic medications, had tried to committ suicide and was zombie like? I wouldn't let someone like that watch my house plants.

8:12 PM, July 31, 2006  
Blogger snowonpine said...

The let Yates go for psychiatric treatment, be cured, get released and then live a life of regret mantra assumes that she will indeed constantly regret what she has done. What if, for whatever reason, she doesn't? Has she paid for her crime? Long ago law school criminal law classes--its coming back--laid out several major reasons to incarcerate criminals--rehabilitation, vengence, punishment, as an example to others. If she doesn't go to jail and doesn't regret what she's done, have any of these legitimate ends been served?

8:56 PM, July 31, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

AmericanWoman,

You very much underestimate what one can do with a psychotic/mentally ill spouse--the answer--not much. The mental hospitals have all but shut down (deinstitutionalization) and when they do take a patient, it is for a very short time--they are medicated and released, usually dangerous or not.

I guess Rusty Yates should have quit his job- would that have helped the kids? No money, etc? If Andrea Yates wanted to kill her kids, there is no amount of babysitting Rusty could have done to stop her--what if he had to go to the store to get some food--then what? or turned his back? or fell asleep? Perhaps you should advocate for mental hospitals to open their doors back up instead of releasing psychotics into the streets. But one has no recourse against hospitals etc. because they are under few obligations to keep anyone. Now we just call them homeless, etc.

7:41 AM, August 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least in Texas, the hospitals CAN'T keep them more than three days without a judge's order and even the judge's power is limited.

I've sure seen some awfully sick individuals released to the streets with a couple of antidepressants -- not a couple of prescriptions, but a couple of capsules -- in Texas. Their families were either afraid for their own safety, or afraid for the safety of their loved one. But if they don't want to stay, the hospital has to release them whether sick or well.

11:45 AM, August 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helen:

Well, one REAL easy thing Rusty Yates could and SHOULD have done was quit having unprotected sex with his wife after the first child was born and she had her first psychotic episode.

Andrea

11:47 AM, August 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helen:

Well, one REAL easy thing Andrea Yates could and SHOULD have done was quit having unprotected sex with her husband after the first child was born and she had her first psychotic episode.

Rusty.

2:29 PM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger snowonpine said...

You can thank liberals in Congress for all the homeless psychotics roaming the streets these days. I believe it was in the late 1970's or early 1980's that the cry went up about all the mentally ill who were being held in "snake-pit" mental facilities against their will, over medicated, their rights violated etc, etc. No doubt there were many snake pits but I wonder if the deinstitutionalized are better off living in a cardboard boxs under overpasses and subject to bad weather, attacks, malnutrition, using drugs or alcohol; are they better of than they were when thy were institutionalized?

After this outcry legislation was drafted to solve this problem by doing two things. First, deinstitutionalize all but the most seriously mentally ill. Second, fund and then build half-way houses all thoroughout the neighborhoods of America where the recently deinstitutionalized would be given the enlightened care they deserved, with the goal of eventually releasing most of them into society.

The vast majority of mental patients were deinstitutionalized and the large majority of existing mental hospitals closed but, none of the funding was ever appropriated and because of NIMBY objections, the half-way houses never were built. Unfortunately, at about the same time as deinstitutionalization, in the same spirit, most jurisdictions decided to scrap their anti-vagrancy and anti-loitering laws.

Result, all the mentally ill I see wandering around (in Washington, D.C.--not counting the D.C. government) talking to themselves, urinating on the street and in Metro stairways, huddled in doorways or aggressively hitting up passersby for money, none of whom can be arrested to be sobered up or detoxed or made to come in from the cold in Washington's sometimes very cold winter storms.

7:15 PM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger AmericanWoman said...

She was unfit to be with the kids. Her doctors and her husband knew it. It is a sad commentary on our society when we leave kids to be cared for by mentally ill people.

Perhaps as someone suggested they should not have had 5 kids in the first place and certainly none after her first psychotic episode. Surely her husband could have handled THAT.

8:12 PM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger Rowena Hullfire said...

anonymous 2:15 (there are so many anonymii, get a handle already!):

DSM-IV mental disorders, diagnosable insanity, is not the same thing as the legal concept of insanity.

I think the question here is...do we trust the jury system? Those folks got all the information up close and personal, weighed the evidence, considered she might be lying, and made the decision. Do we trust their judgement? Do we trust the process?

If not, our society has bigger problems than one madwoman murdering her kidlets.

8:44 PM, August 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous rusty:

if you were trying to make a point, you failed. if she's psychotic, as stated in YOUR comment (and as found by the jury), then she's not really capable of making that rational judgment, is she? so what's his excuse?

it certainly takes two to tango, but in this case, the one is/was pscyhotic and will be serving at least some time (perhaps the rest of her life) in a mental institution. what about her partner?

andrea

11:40 PM, August 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess, Anrdrea, that you need a two-by-four between the eyes to see a point that you might disagree with. But my point is simple: reverse the roles and see what you get. In this case, you get sexism, plain and simple.

Consider the case of David Crespi, at this link: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/nation/4080082.html

David is a bank executive who said he had battled depression for years, and was sentenced Friday to life in prison for killing his 5-year-old twin daughters.

I don't see anyone blaming his wife for her contribution to the murder of their daughters.

Between you and americanwoman and mercurior, it's clear that the "women are always victims and never responsible for anything bad" meme dominates.

The simple fact of the matter is that Rusty DID seek to help his wife with the best care that him and her doctors could obtain, and Andrea STILL drowned her children. She alone bears the responsibility for the murders.

Oh, and in your post of 11:47, did I actualy understand you to be saying that a man should be exercising reproductive choice? Wow! What a concept! It's a shame that men should only be empowered to exercise reproductive choice when it serves the needs of a woman.

8:09 AM, August 02, 2006  
Blogger snowonpine said...

Rowena--you asked "do we trust the jury system?"

My answer is, I don't. In law school, many moons ago, they told us that if you got the jurors you wanted on the jury your case was just about won. Some of the postings from jurors I've seen on various websites indicate that lots of jurors don't take their responsibilites very seriously. Add the prosecution's inability to introduce the defendant's prior record and all the ways that relevant evidence can be ruled inadmissable, pile on all the histrionics and misdirection that a good defense lawyer brings to a case, throw in a lot of "I'm depraved because I'm deprived" and a lot of blame the victim and the chances of "justice" being done are, I believe, pretty slim. Yes, these procedural rules are meant to protect the innocent but they too often end up giving the guilty a pass. I wonder how many jurors who voted to acquit someone who they were convinced was innocent have walked out of the court house only to find out that he had done the same thing many times over in the past: it really must make you feel sick and a fool to boot.

10:07 AM, August 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous rusty:

i guess you need a two-by-four up your ass to learn how to have a disagreement without being a raving asshole.

Do normal, healthy men and women bear equal responsibility in reproductive decisions? Well, hell yeah. But Ms. Yates was not a normal, healthy individual.

As for the other case you cited, hell I don't know if anybody was blaming the wife-because we weren't f---ing talking about that case. After reading your link, my opinion is, as a lawyer, that he had bad representation. It's important to note, however, that the gentleman pleaded guilty AND that the story indicates he was depressed. If she is intellectually honest, Dr. Helen will tell you that there is HUGE difference between depression and psychosis, both in a medical sense and in a legal sense. But I will grant you that, based on what he said, it sounds like he may have suffered from more than simple depression. As such, it seems that an insanity defense was certainly available to him. And IF his wife was aware of his condition and its extent, she certainly bears some responsibility for what happened.

Feel better now? Now stop being such an asshole. Men have and have always had reproductive choice, for their own benefit, not just for women. But most often they fail to exercise that choice--because it's much easier to just blame it on the woman. "I never wanted these kids or to even get married..." Do you know how many men say or at least think such thoughts?

12:44 PM, August 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 12:44 (Andrea?)

>>"i guess you need a two-by-four up your ass to learn how to have a disagreement without being a raving asshole."

Well, so much for civil discourse.

>>"Men have and have always had reproductive choice..."

Okay, 12:44, I'm trying not to be an asshole here, but in the interest of short posts, I would point out that the "reproductive choice" that men have amounts to a choice between abstaining or parenthood. Until the latter half of the 20th century, the choice for women was the same. But the advent of a whole catalog of contraception choices for women have emerged since then, and between that, the questionable effectiveness of the condom, and the way Roe v Wade is being enforced, men have virtually zero reproductive choice. (A male aquaintacne of mine was asked to leave the room when the doctor discussed the results of an amnioscentesis with the mother, much to the chagrin of both father AND mother, and it seems this is hospital "policy")

If you're referring to the choice that men have to abstain, then women should, as a matter of equality, be constrained to the same choice. (Imagine the howl if that idea took flight!)

>>"I never wanted these kids or to even get married..." "

I can also imagine, and have actually heard, women say the same thing.

2:16 PM, August 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give me a break. Condoms, when used correctly by a person of reasonable intelligence, are highly effective.

And you forgot another option: vasectomy. It's close to 100% effective.

Andrea

8:08 PM, August 02, 2006  
Blogger AmericanWoman said...

I never said that Andrea Yates was not responsible, but that she was in no shape to be alone with kids. For that reason, her husband bears responsibilty. The very least he could do is appear to have some guilt over the incident. I haven't seen that he has.

In the other case you have mentioned, was the father committed? What he suicidal? Did he attempt suicide? Was he on anti-psychotics? Was he even diagnosed with anything more sever than depression before he killed the kids? If so, then I would agree that his wife should have not left him alone with the kids.

9:04 PM, August 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh and p.s. (Rusty?):

It doesn't matter how many contraceptive choices there are for women. As long as a man does not want to have children, he should use the methods available to him. There is no excuse.

And by the way, I am the anonymous above who said I really wasn't interested in laying blame on anyone else. I only made the comment about Mr.Yates failure to use contraception because of Dr. Helen's insinuation that there was nothing he could have done about the situation, which is just balderdash.

"Well, so much for civil discourse."

Well, I think you effectively ended that with your original suggestion that I needed a two-by-four between the eyes.

10:49 PM, August 02, 2006  
Anonymous Neuromath said...

Helen,

First, let me say that you're fine. You're image is the hottest of a psychologist ever to grace my eyes. Please keep wearing T-shirts.

Therefore, it pains me to point out that anyone who doesn't understand the mathematics and physiology of brain and behavior doesn't understand psychology. Your comments give no indication of such understanding. Please correct me if I'm wrong and then perhaps we can discuss what a mathematical model of learning should look like. I love this stuff!

By the way, did I mention you were hot?

9:46 PM, August 04, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Neuromath:

Anyone who believes this about the "scientific method" has never been around a group of behavioral "scientists."

"Violent criminals should be held at the discretion of behavioral scientists until there is a scientific reason to believe they will not reoffend. This is a much higher standard than the current one, which sometimes results in the release of rapists after arbitrary sentences. It's time to take lawyers and judges out of the process of sentencing and let the scientific method hold sway. Judges should continue to preside over trials only."

Allowing "behavioral scientists" to make final decisions about whether criminals are released is like saying that prisoners should vote at their own parole hearing. Sorry, but the politics and beliefs of many experts is questionable--that is why we have judges and juries etc.

6:54 AM, August 05, 2006  
Anonymous Neuromath said...

Helen,

"Allowing "behavioral scientists" to make final decisions about whether criminals are released is like saying that prisoners should vote at their own parole hearing."

This seems extreme even for someone skeptical about the ability of behavioral scientists to properly apply the scientific method. Unless you demonstrate otherwise, I'll take the statement as insupportable.

With respect to "politics and beliefs" of many experts being questionable, pray tell me why anyone should have confidence in judges or juries to sentence offenders. Does a law degree make one more qualified to make such decisions?

The people who should be making the decisions should be experts in neurophysiology and the mathematical functioning of neural networks, or similar mathematical approaches to the interactions of neurons. Those experts must of course also be capable of considering behavior within the ultimate evolutionary context.

Do you argue with the point that behavior is deterministic and that not everyone who commits a crimes is likely to reoffend? If so, the development of predictive models is possible.

12:26 AM, August 15, 2006  
Blogger Lee J. Cockrell said...

http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/08/15/winkler.bond/index.html

Prediction: Mary Winkler will next throw herself on the mercy of the court on account that she is a widow.

If a man had shot his sleeping wife in the back, taken his children and fled, admitted it to multiple law enforcement officers, and lost $17,000 to Nigerian scammers, would he still be able to make bail?

2:50 PM, August 15, 2006  
Blogger K-Man said...

Now that Mary Winkler has been released from a psychiatric lockup only 60 days after being sentenced for killing her husband by shooting him in the back, just how long do you suppose it will be before Andrea Yates is released? Anyone care to wager? The appalling leniency shown to Winkler will undoubtedly be used as a "justification" to cut Yates loose. Watch and see.

Even better, Winkler is fighting to get custody of her children. How long before she shoots them in the back too—taking a page from the Yates playbook?

10:34 PM, December 28, 2007  
Blogger brilliant1 said...

What a drain on society. We pay for a murderer to have free health care; round the clock nurses, doctors, therapists, free room and board, food, clothing, and lack of responsibility. Some of us are finding it hard to keep our heads above water (no pun intended).
Why should we as a society be responsible for the care of a MONSTER?

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