This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Andrea Yates Verdict

Today's Washington Post reports that Andrea Yates has been acquitted of killing three of her children by reason of insanity. Assuming the prosecution does not retry her for the deaths of the others, she will quietly move into history in a state mental hospital. Given her current mental state, she will not emerge any time soon. Given her obvious lack of emotion at the reading of her verdict, I doubt she was even competent to stand trial - either because of her medication or because of her mental state. Society is now left without any sanction, even though we know she did it. While I do not believe she deserves prison, nor many others, an acquital sends the wrong message. There has to be a better way.

Andrea Yates should have been allowed to avoid trial and plea "Guilty by Reason of Insanity." Under this plea, she could have been required to serve the minimum sentence for manslaughter in a correctional treatment facility. This would have assured that she gets the treatment that she needs and also serves the interests of justice, since society is not satisfied to just let her walk after her medication is adjusted.

For more on this topic, see my web page at http://www.christianleft.net/SocialPolitics/DrugsMentalHealthCrime.html

2 Comments:

Blogger Charley said...

I feel there is another issue here as well to consider: Many medications now being prescribed to adolescents are originally designed and tested on adults. We have only begun to study the effects of anti-depressents on younger populations and the early feed-back isn't good. Those that prescribe this medicine should think carefully about their decisions.

9:21 AM

 
Blogger Michael Bindner said...

Note that Charley's comment was to a prior version which included the Zoloft murders.

2:37 PM

 

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