Thursday, January 06, 2005

‘Touch of Evil’



Stunning news out of Texas…

The conviction of Andrea Yates, the woman who drowned all five of her children in the bath tub, has been overturned because — and you may not actually believe this — “psychiatrist Park Dietz was wrong when he said he consulted on an episode of the TV show ‘Law and Order’ involving a woman found innocent by reason of insanity for drowning her children.”

In other words… the conviction has been overturned because Yates DID NOT watch a TV episode that DID NOT exist.

I’m having a hard time understanding how this is even a factor; the woman confessed to drowning her children. She was happy about it! All the evidence also points to the fact that she did it. But, because she didn’t watch a TV program…

Okay, okay. The news is rather fresh. Perhaps we don’t know all the details about this decision yet. What we do know is terrifying…

Andrea Yates, who called herself “Fertile Myrtle,” after she bore five children over eight years, began to suffer from what was diagnosed as a “major depressive disorder” for which she was prescribed antidepressants.

Under pressure to have more children from her idiot husband Rusty, after a couple of suicide attempts and after coming under the influence of a traveling preacher named Michael Woroniecki, who told her "the role of women is derived from the sin of Eve and that bad mothers who are going to hell create bad children who will go to hell," Yates decided she would “save” her children from Hell by… killing them all.

This is according to Yates herself…

Andrea filled the tub with water and systematically drowned the three youngest boys, then placed them on her bed and covered them. Her youngest, Mary, was left floating in the tub.

The last child alive was the first born, seven-year-old Noah. He asked his mother what was wrong with Mary, then turned and ran away. Andrea caught up with him and as he screamed, she dragged him and forced him into the tub next to Mary's floating body. He fought desperately, coming up for air twice, but Andrea held him down until he was dead. Leaving Noah in the tub, she brought Mary to the bed and laid her in the arms of her brothers.

During Andrea's confession she explained her actions by saying that she wasn't a good mother and that the children were "not developing correctly" and she needed to be punished.

Now we get to the part of American jurisprudence where, when someone murders another, we determine if they did so because they are “insane” or not. You see, if someone murders because they are “insane” they can get out of most of the punishment. If they are not “insane” then they must pay the price.

The general philosophy behind this determination is whether or nor the perpetrator knew what he or she was doing and whether or not that person meant to kill someone. With Yates, there was no doubt about this; she confessed and told authorities she knew what she was doing and meant to kill her children.

But, as we see with the Yates case, a murderer can still get out of a fix even when they are determined to not be insane. The reason can even be something as lame as they did not watch a television show that never aired.

There is always the basic question of what good it ever does to determine if someone is insane or not, if they have killed and may kill again. Can a woman who killed her five children, insane or not, be “rehabilitated” and contribute to society?

During her trial and conviction Yates garnered support from every women’s group in the country. Most wanted her committed for a few years with a chance for release. Some wanted her to be let go outright.

As it stands now the Texas authorities can retry her for the original three murders (they did not go forward on two in case of something like this). Andrea Yates will likely not ever be free. But the possibility exists.

Did she kill all of her children? Yes. Is she or was she insane? Not according to her original conviction. Does it matter? Should she be released?

As a devoted fan of ‘Law & Order,’ I don’t have to wonder what Lenny Brisco would say.

19 Comments:

At 10:01 AM, Blogger pixels said...

Sometimes our legal system is just too much of a pansy.

 
At 11:47 AM, Blogger Laughingcow said...

One of those things that you don't quite know whether to laugh or cry at.

(On a side note, you have a great blog here. Keeps me coming back!)

 
At 2:00 PM, Blogger Miki said...

I think the argument is that by that Dr. saying there was a "Law & Order" show about a mother who did this to her children it might have swayed the jury. I'm scratching my head on this too. It seems to me that her lawyer is looking for any loop hole to keep this case open. Because as we all know the longer this case is open the more he cashes in. CH-CHING!! And he's going to try to get her out on bail while the appeal works it way through. Again...CH-CHING!! I don't think she's a menace to society, I think she's the one who may be in danger from society.

I'm sure she does have a mental sickness. A person would have to in order to commit murder on any level. Whether she knew right from wrong is the question. And that may have been a little distorted because of her illness and because of that bible thumping freak. I believe she does need help, medication, therapy, whatever. Bottom line, she killed all her percious babies. She committed murder. She needs to be punished.

 
At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a shocking comment from someone who has suffered from mental illness: she deserves punishment and treatment. I accept that she was (and probably still is) ill, but she chose to throw her life away and those of her children. It's possible that she can be healed with appropriate treatment, but her children never will be. Heal her, by all means, but don't run the risk that she will do it again.

 
At 3:49 PM, Blogger Guitanguran said...

Well, as a Texan I can that the way we handle felonies committed by insane people is problematic at best. We classify it "not guilty by reason of insanity" rather than "guilty, but insane". Doesn't sound a whole lot different, but it is. Andrea Yates is the poster lady for this gaping hole in our state's legal system, IMO.

 
At 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an absolutely heinous use of our judicial system and the decision should be over-ridden and retried. Using a TELEVISION show defense? What'd they do, look up the Dan White Twinkie defense and say, well shee-it - that'll work here! Everyone watches the TeeVee!

 
At 4:32 PM, Blogger : JustaDog said...

Who says our legal system needs an overhaul? Who is saying there are idiots sitting on the bench? Who is saying those three "judges" are like another group of three I remember (woo woo woo). How long do the good people have to put up with stooges like this?

http://wheresyourbrain.blogspot.com/

 
At 5:40 PM, Blogger Der Tommissar said...

During her trial and conviction Yates garnered support from every women’s group in the country.


I'm quite sure neither the Concerned Women For America nor the Second Amendment Sisters provided her with any support.

 
At 6:37 PM, Blogger Kerry R. Fox said...

"I'm quite sure neither the Concerned Women For America nor the Second Amendment Sisters provided her with any support."

Yes. LOL. And you are quite correct. I should remember to watch my use of the words "every," "never" "all" and "always."

I guess I could have remedied that one beforehand by putting the word "radical" in front of "women's groups."

Thanks for the catch...:-)

 
At 8:51 PM, Blogger Jack Mercer said...

Unfortunately the judge screwed up. No, we don't like the outcome, but due process was not followed.

 
At 9:16 PM, Blogger Bill said...

LOL ... OK the logic is basic -- the jury was told she belived she could commit murder becaus eshe saw it on TV -- and could plead insanity.

That makes it testimony by an expert witness that she committed premeditated murder -- not murder by reason of insanity.

But the expert LIED. No such episode existed -- therefore the jury was lied to ... and didn't consider insanity a defence.

But to murder your own children -- one must be crazy! Unless they did it premeditated. CIRCLE OF LAW and LOGIC.

The court's ruling was both silly and necessary. Yes, she did kill her kids. But was she sane or insane when she did it?

The jury was denied -- via a lie -- from being allowed to make that determination.

When the prosecution lies, when they put on witnesses that lie, justice is denied.

If you would like, as a defendant, to allow the prosecution to lie, or have witnesses lie, to get you convidcted ... well, then you have problems ith what the court did ...

But if you, as a defendant, would like an honest trial, with factual testimony, determine your fate -- then you will cheer the court and understand that the retrial will -- hopefully -- get it right.

 
At 10:41 PM, Blogger Saint Nate said...

I figured this had to happen - television has been blamed for causing violence in our culture so often, it was only a matter of time before someone jumped the gun and blamed something that never happened.

 
At 11:25 PM, Blogger ms ralph said...

I think those of us that would never dream of killing anyone, let alone our children for any reason whatsoever and consider ourselves sane, find it hard to find anyone else sane who does something like this.

 
At 11:30 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

What? That's so shocking, and somehow doesn't make sense.

 
At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking as a lawyer, the judge made the right call. We all know that she is guilty of killing her kids... no one disputes that. BUT the issue in this situation is that the prosecutions witness lied on the stand (perjury). It would have been a tragedy of justice for the judge not to overturn the conviction and retry the case. I am sure that everyone can agree that if you are convicted on the evidence of a witness who lies, you should get a new trial. Yeats should get one also. I am 100% sure that the next trial will come to the same conviction, but at least we are ensuring that justice is served properly. The only way to ensure that justice is served fairly to you, is to ensure justice is served fairly to all.

-Aaron

 
At 7:47 PM, Blogger Disorderly said...

From a newspaper report I just read, the shrink realized he had his story wrong after he testified. (I'm guessing he consulted on a story like the Yates one but that it was never produced. The article didn't make that part clear.) He contacted the prosecutors and offered to come back and straighten out his testimony, as this was before the trial had ended. But the prosecutors refused to consider it. So the testimony was allowed to stand unchallenged. And if there's a possibility that the jury used it to decide that her actions were carefully considered, I can see why the judgment had to be overturned. Being convicted based on false testimony is serious, even if it only (only?) represents the difference between a murder conviction, one of manslaughter or something based on diminished capacity.

That she did it isn't and was never the question. But how to characterize the crime still matters in choosing her punishment.

 
At 10:11 PM, Blogger carla said...

Yates should never have been convicted of murder. She suffers from PSYCHOSIS. She heard voices. She was convinced she was a bad mother and her children would be better off in Heaven. She didn't know the difference between right and wrong..and this guy that lied did so multiple times...once on the stand and in several interviews..about this same thing.

Yates should have been locked up in a private mental health facility. She has no business being in the prison system. It's a travesy of justice...and the commentors on this blog should be ashamed.

 
At 5:22 PM, Blogger fantababy said...

A mother killing her kids is too much. May be America is showing the bad way. This is not fair. Who is she to kill the children. She may kill herself if she felt that way. What has the poor children done? It is heartening to know that this type of incident happened in usa. Well is she punished or not by the American Government?

 
At 8:55 PM, Blogger Freebird said...

I'm a little with this, but wanted to give you another perspective. She doesn't belong in prison. She belongs in a mental institution.

http://freebird68.blogspot.com/2005/01/ive-seen-crazy-and-its-not-pretty.html

 

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