Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Not guilty by reason of insanity.

Well, the Andrea Yates re-trial is over, with the jury returning a verdict of Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity.

So, what happens next? Ms. Yates will be transferred to a Texas State MHMR hospital, where she will be reviewed by the trial judge at regular intervals. If, during one of the reviews, the judge makes the determination that -- and I quote:

"...no longer has a severe mental illness or mental retardation, is no longer likely to cause serious harm to another, or that treatment and supervision can be safely and effectively provided as outpatient or community-based treatment and supervision."

Then within about 60 days, she'll be released.

For those of my Gentle Readers who haven't been keeping abreast of this particular item, Andrea Yates is the Texas woman who very methodically and deliberately drowned all five of her children in the bath-tub.

She had been previously found guilty of three counts of murder, and sentenced to life in prison, but because of slip-shod testimony on the part of a prosecuting witness, Andrea Yates wound up with a re-trial. The results of which are posted as the title to this piece.

On 20 June 2001, Ms. Yates filled her bath-tub to within three inches of the top with water.

She then put six-month-old Mary in a bassinet and left her in the bathroom, while she picked up Luke -- age 2 -- placed him facedown in the water and held him there until he stopped struggling. She then placed the dead body of her son on a bed, and went to get Paul -- age 3 -- and she did the same to him, as her six-month old baby girl cried in the bassinet beside the bath-tub.

Following Paul was John, age five, also placed face-down in the bathtub and held there against his struggles until he drowned, then it was the crying Mary's turn.

Once Mary had stopped struggling under the fouled water of the bath-tub, Andrea left her floating there while she called her eldest son to the bath-room.

Upon getting to the bath-room, her eldest -- Noah, age seven -- came to the bath-room, but fled after seeing Mary.

Andrea Yates then chased down her terrified son, dragged her terrified son back to the bathroom, placed her terrified son facedown in the tub next to his baby sister, and held her terrified son under the water until the water flooded his lungs and he died.

Ms. Yates told the police that Noah put up the biggest struggle, actually breaking free of Ms. Yates and getting air on more than one occasion, before his strength finally gave out, and he drowned face-down in a bath-tub full of water stained with the terror of savagely murdered children, next to the dead body of his infant sister -- held there by the thing that bore him.

Part of me demands terror for terror and pain for pain. There is not one godsdamned thing that Andrea Yates has gone through that equals what her children endured as they died.

Don't give me that crap about the pain a mother feels upon the death of her children. Nothing -- not any godsdamned thing --that Andrea Yates has gone through equals what her children went through.

Usually, the thinking part of me overrides the primal part.

Not this time.

Andrea Yates is in a State Hospital, for a term not to exceed 40 years -- what she would have received when if found Guilty. At regular intervals the judge of her case will review her progress, and if she "stabilizes", she will be released.

On 16 June 1999, Ms. Yates was transferred to the Houston Methodist Hosptial Pysch Unit. She was released 24 June -- after she stabilized.

On 20 July 1999, Ms. Yates was re-hospitalized for ten days, but stabilized on meds and was released.

At the end of March 2000, Ms. Yates was re-hospitalized, but stabilized and was released after ten days.

She has a habit of "stabilizing". Minimum of three times, if I count correctly.

She also has a habit of flushing her medications down the commode. I don't see that changing, either.

So.

She'll "stabilize". She'll quietly get out, just as soon as the psychiatrists and the judge think they can do it without having effigies of themselves burned on the courthouse lawn.

Then, she'll flush the meds down the commode. Probably not at first, but eventually she'll decide that she hates the "fuzzy" feeling that the stabilizing meds give her and they'll go down the khazi.

And, sure as the dusk follows the dawn, she'll go bugnuts again.

The only question becomes: will her out-patient minders discover that she's not on meds anymore and lock her down until she starts taking them again? Or will they miss it, and leave it up to someone like me to stop her from filling another bath-tub?

Or -- Gods -- will someone like me have to clean up the mess -- again?

Damn it.

LawDog

23 comments:

Kevin said...

I am not a big supporter of the death penalty. As in most things, I think the .gov does a poor job in determining who needs to be put down.

But there are those obvious and egregious cases where it is an unmistakeable fact that a rabid human exists, and that it would be the best thing for society if, upon a "guilty" verdict, they were taken out behind the courthouse and shot behind the ear with 00 buck from a 12-gauge at point-blank range and the body left to fall into the nearby dumpster.

Ms. Yates is a prime example. I don't care that she was nuts when she did it. Murdering your children, much less doing it as methodically and deliberately as she did, is obviously bugnuts insane. She's not going to get better. She's rabid. She should be put down. Period.

But chances are, you or someone like you will be cleaning up the next mess she makes.

Anonymous said...

Someone check that judge's ashtray; methinks he might be smoking some wacky-tabacky.

I'm not calling for her head on a platter, but as plain as the fact that sun rises in the east every morning, it's pretty damn clear Yates killed her kids. And she most likely wasn't in control of her own mind at the time; let's face it, you have to be nuts to kill your own kids. But giving her the chance at walking free, NO! I'd rather see her in a mental institution for the rest of her life than getting the chance to walk the street. And if she does walk the streets as a free woman, I hope she won't kill again, but with a record of post-partum depression, I doubt it. Hopefully whatever male of the species who get close to her don't then reproduce with her, otherwise we could see another case like this years down the road.

Anonymous said...

Insane my hide, that woman's evil. There *is* a difference.

Too bad we've become so "civilized" that someone won't drag her out to the nearest suitable tree and hang her. That would be barbaric...or something.

Phoenix Ravenflame said...

First, I agree that she will eventually go off her meds. It's just something mentally ill people do. I've done it, and everyone I've ever been in a hospital with has done it. You start feeling like you're really "okay", and you hate the side effects from the meds, so you figure you'll see how you get along without them for a while. But once you stop taking them, you reach a point where it just doesn't occur to you to take them again, and you go downhill from there. Sadly, in a lot of cases, no one knows... no matter how well trained they are to see it... until things have gotten really bad.

Second, assuming she is crazy, why the hell would she want to live if she ever made it back to sane? Personally, if I were in that situation, I'd consider it a favor if they executed me. I wouldn't want to live knowing that I'd done that to my children. I wouldn't care about mental illness or any other factors. I simply would not want to be part of a world where I was capable of doing that to my own babies.

And third, I agree with the statement, "She's rabid. She should be put down." I had a dog I loved very much, and he loved me. When he started attacking other dogs and could not be stopped, I was afraid it was a matter of time before he killed a dog... or a child. He had to be kept locked up nearly constantly, and that was not the life he deserved. I finally decided his soul would be free and everyone else would be safe if he were put down. It tore my heart out to take him in and hold him while they did it, but I did it because it had to be done. Dickens and Spock were right... the needs of the many really do outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.

If lethal injection was a kind enough solution to letting my best friend, who would have died for me, go to a place where he would no longer be troubled by whatever made him violent, it's certainly good enough for Andrea Yates.

Vic303 said...

She is/was insane. Of that I have no doubt. I also have no doubt that she KNEW what she was doing was F'ing WRONG!!!!!!!

I hope that should she come into her 'right mind' ever, that she will realize with horror what she has done and remove herself from the genepool permanently.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. She will be judged and the punishment that will be inflicted upon her will be worse than any of us could bring to bear.

At some point she will stand before the throne of God and realize that for all of eternity she will be sentenced to the deepest pits of Hell for her actions.

Yes, I personally hate the "innocent by reason of insanity", I am to much of a logical person. There is either guilty or there is innocent. There are no in betweens.

tkdkerry said...

Don't worry. She will be judged and the punishment that will be inflicted upon her will be worse than any of us could bring to bear.

Bullshit. Maybe she will, maybe she won't, either way it will do absolutely nothing, NOTHING, for anyone who might someday be on the receiving end of one of her little insane mood swings. That's what we need to prevent, and not give a damn about judgment day.

Jon said...

I don't know. Years in a mental institution might turn out to be a suitable punishment. The thorazine shuffle and Ms. Flahooty that tells her over and over and over and over and over about the strange voices in her head.

She will snap and spend countless days strapped to her bed while she drools and rants.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you'll agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment, Lawdog, but from your writing I think you'll understand where it comes from: It's judgements like these that lead to vigilante justice.

Vigilantes do not arise in a system where justice is served. It will not arise in a system that favors defendants, so long as there is an objective standard of guilt and the judge can point to a critical point and say, "This hasn't been met."

But the "not-guilty by reason of insanity" defense... that has got to be the most abused defense in any judicial system. Of Course the defendant is insane... no sane person would cut up his victims in that way! Or strangulate them while gazing into their eyes. Or douse them in gasoline and set them alight. Or feed them into a wood chipper, feet first. And then brag about it.

Whatever happened to the "Criminally insane" verdict? The kind of insanity where the inner demons have such a grip on the person that it is inevitable that they will commit horrors again. If the Devil made you do it... well, maybe you need to be put somewhere safe until the Devil decides to release his grip on you. Maybe that safe place is the grave. If the Devil really was to blame, I'm sure St Peter will know how to route you appropriately, but we can't risk the Devil's plaything being among the living.

There had better be something more permanent available than a pill, one per day, taken with water. I'm thinking of something like Depo Provera, except it's loaded with anti-crazy juice instead of birth control. (Or in addition to birth control...) Lasts for three months, releasing a steady stream of anti-crazy into the bloodstream, and the authorities know to show up on day 90 with a booster shot for the other arm.

It's gotta be that... or someone is going to take on the job of delivering the justice that the legal system refuses to deliver. There are too many errors that can be made in that scenario. Too many situations where injustice will be done because, from the outside, it did not appear that anything approaching justice was served.

It needs to be remembered that judges are public servents, too. They have a job to do. That job entails putting a stake in the ground and saying with absolute conviction that this shall not pass, this warrants punishment, this is within the limits of the law. That stake must not move, or it must move slowly, at the hands of the legislature. Otherwise, how can the public tell the difference between a law that means nothing, and a judge that doesn't do his job of delivering justice? If the public doesn't think they do the job, that the whole system doesn't do the job, well... someone will step in to do the job. That way lies anarchy.

buzz_knox said...

I was listening to the foreman of the jury this morning. He said that he believed that she thought she was doing the right thing. But he also stated he believed that she knew that legally, she was wrong.

Guess what, moron? The insanity defense requires you not to understand that what you are doing is legally wrong! You just admitted that you didn't follow the law.

CDH said...

What's wrong with these people going to PRISON after being 'stabilized'? Why let them walk the streets? Sometimes our justice system stinks.

Yeah, she'll get her judgement day, but unfortunatally she'll walk free and be a threat for years until then.

One question begs to be answered though, since the original case was for only three of her children, is there any hope of a guilty verdict if she is tried for the others?

shooter said...

Yates had help in bringing those children into the world, and she had help taking them out. That brainless wonder of an ex-husband of hers helped hold those children down by failing to act when he had the chance. He should have known something was up and stepped up to the plate. Instead, he performed a rectal cranial inversion and said, "Not my problem!" Now, he's off gallavanting around with some Mary Jane Rottencrotch starting his garbage all over again while telling the MSM he's glad Andrea is finally getting the help she needs. Someone should stretch his neck.

Chris (in Southeast TX) said...

I couldn't agree MORE with Shooter!!!! That husband had a huge role in this tragedy. I don't know if there is much they could hang on him legally, but I have yet to see an interview where they would tell him he's (as LawDog likes to say) and "oxygent thief" Also, if nothing else, I think they should charge him with something, ANYTHING, in order to a) drag him through our legal system which I'm sure sucks, and b) let him know that at least SOME people hold him responsible. As it is, he will spend the rest of his life in a happy-go-lucky I Only Wish I Could Have Done SOMETHING! state.

OTOH, I do tend to believe that she's insane. I do tend to believe that she thought she was doing the right thing at the time. I'm OK with her spending YEARS in a psych ward (which is probably what will happen). However, as someone pointed out, there is a good chance if she ever gets pregnant she may regress. Therefore, I think there should be a condition on her release. Have her tubes tied (or better yet removed)

Haw, Carse said...

I propose that should some solid citizen conclude that a crook is "reformed" or that a violent nutcase is "cured" that he be allowed and required to sponsor said crook or nutcase and assume civil and criminal responsibility for his actions if released.
When the crook or nutcase strikes again, he goes back in the slammer permanently and said solid citizen bears the expense of his incarceration and such money damages as the victims claim.

Hammer said...

When I saw the news report of the original murder I had just adopted my own kids from foster care.

I was pretty much sick, numb and infuriated when I saw the bodies coming out of that house.

I don't give a flaming rats tookus
if she was psychotic or under alien mind contol. Yates murdered her own innocent children.

Most people don't realize that Yates "up until recently" still felt her children needed to die
and she had done the right thing.

She needs to be executed.

I have a distinct feeling that if Yates ever goes free she will receive the same fate as Jeffery Dalhmer.

Anonymous said...

I agree with my old sociology teacher, Mr. O'Donald of Bay Village, OH. 1966.

It should be "guilty by reason of insanity." and in my opinion followed by immediate execution.

Geoff
Who doesn't want that person on the same planet.

Timmeeee said...

Yes, let's execute the mentally ill. After that, we can execute those with chicken pox, mumps, measles and those sick lookin bastards with a lazy eye.

Kevin said...

No, timmeeee. We should only execute the mentally ill who commit heinous murders.

The ones who wander around muttering to themselves we can leave pretty much alone.

Surely you can grasp the significant difference?

Kristopher said...

People will have justice.

If the State wont provide it, then they will make their own.

Timmeeee said...

"We should only execute the mentally ill who commit heinous murders."

If you can't see what is wrong with that statement, then you are beyond hope and truly barbaric.

A Soldier's Girl said...

Yates had help in bringing those children into the world, and she had help taking them out. That brainless wonder of an ex-husband of hers helped hold those children down by failing to act when he had the chance. He should have known something was up and stepped up to the plate. Instead, he performed a rectal cranial inversion and said, "Not my problem!" Now, he's off gallavanting around with some Mary Jane Rottencrotch starting his garbage all over again while telling the MSM he's glad Andrea is finally getting the help she needs. Someone should stretch his neck.

Thank you! Finally. Randy Yates *KNEW* his wife was mentally unstable and he left her in the house alone with those children. Why isn't every male up in arms about his failure to protect his children? They sure as hell didn't just pop out of thin air and he had a responsiblity to those children to make sure that they were safe.

Kevin said...

timeeee wrote: "If you can't see what is wrong with that statement, then you are beyond hope and truly barbaric."

If you don't understand what I wrote and why I wrote it, then you are beyond hope and truly disconnected from reality.

I can live with your assessment of my barbarity. We barbarians tend to not give a sh!t what other people think of us.

mitchshrader said...

+1 for the barbarians. I'm a barbarian with kids. I don't have any reason to think that woman was sane, and I don't want her taking another breath, and i'd accept if required, the civic duty to do so.

That she isn't dead is a failure of our society. I don't give a DARN that she's crazy. I have no obligation to keep crazy people who are violent alive, i owe them not one thing.

you want to be so civilized you won't kill child murderers? fine. be so.

i ain't, don't intend to become that, and don't intend to support anyone who accepts it.

and i'm a LIBERAL.

with a nice letter from a psychiatrist stating i'm SANE AND COMPETENT.

just in case you didn't think there were any Liberals that'd pass that test.. ;)