One of the side issues being raised by the Andrea Yates re-trial involves the concept of 'depravity'. What makes a crime 'depraved'? Are the circumstances of crime 'A' more or less depraved than the circumstances of crime 'B'? Why?
Sounds kind of obvious, but nothing in law is ever obvious.
Establishing a 'reasonable man' threshold for depravity is going to have to happen. There are too many sentencing guidelines throughout the United States that utilize 'depravity' as a modifier to sentencing, without actually telling those folks doing the sentencing what depravity is.
Sooner or later, some critter (or his lawyer) is going to get his nose out of joint because he caught extra legal smackdown due to the jury deciding his crime was 'depraved', while the critter two cellblocks over who pulled the exact same crime got standard sentencing because his jury had a higher 'depravity' tolerance.
He'll sue, and the definition of 'depravity' will wind up being defined by nine folks in black robes who haven't exactly thrilled me with their assessment of legal issues.
Kelo v. New London, anyone?
One of the mental health care professionals who was involved in the Andrea Yates case is attempting to determine some kind of threshold for what society defines as 'depraved' by using real people, rather than judges and lawyers.
I don't know what will come of his attempt. I do know that gifting him with five minutes of your time and your answers to some questions is -- considering the scope and seriousness of what he's attempting -- cheap.
I'd take it kindly if some of my readers would consider popping over to his web-site and giving the man a hand.
Can't hurt. Might help.