Saturday, August 03, 2013

CNN: "The Trial of Andrea Yates" (in "Crimes of the Century" series) again looks at insanity defense

CNN’s airing of “The Trial of Andrea Yates” as part of its “Crimes of the Century” series may be notable most of all for its depiction of the dangers of post partum depression.  The basic link for the documentary episode is (website url) here
Yates drowned her five children near at her home near Houston, TX in June 2001 (Wikipedia history here.  She and her husband had felt a religious duty to have and raise as many children as possible.  After being placed on medication, she stopped medication during her fifth pregnancy, which may have contributed to her background.

Yates believed that her children would grow up to become criminal or “defective” and would be condemned according to her religious belief. 

As with John Hinckey, much of the documentary focused on the use of the insanity defense.  Yates was convicted and sentenced to (almost) life in prison.  But then a question came up about testimony that Yates had watched an episode of “Law and Order” where an insanity defense was used in a similar circumstance.  Research showed that no such episode existed (not even the script for one existed), an much of this research involved the web and search engines.  (It is a curious opposite to my own “screenplay” incident that I detailed on my main blog, July 27, 2007/)

The informal phrase from many people on cases like this is "crazy but guilty".  

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