The Case Of Andrea Yates

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For some, the act of harming or killing a child is unimaginable, however, there are some parents who do. When a parent engages in the killing of their own child it is called filicide. Filicide can be defined as “the murder of one's own daughter or son” (Filicide definition & meaning, 2023). There have been many cases in recent times in which a parent has killed their own child, even as recently as a month ago where a mother killed her three children and unsuccessfully tried to end her own life afterward. However, one of the most well-known cases of filicide would be the case of Andrea Yates. Many that knew Andrea Yates were stunned to learn that she drowned all five of her children in a bathtub located inside her house. Before Andrea Yates …show more content…

Despite Andrea Yates’s defense attorneys pushing for the insanity defense, Andrea Yates was ultimately found guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in forty years. “Andrea's motives may have been delusional, but if she were able to distinguish right from wrong — good from evil — while committing the crime, jurors had little choice but to reject her plea of not guilty by reason of insanity and convict her.” (Roche, 2002). However, in 2006, the Court of Appeals for the 1st District of Texas overturned the ruling and was given a new trial. This occurred due to a fault that was found. “It was discovered that one psychiatrist, Park Dietz, had given testimony that turned out to be untrue. He had claimed that Yates got her idea to drown the children from an episode of Law and Order. It turned out that he had confused the plots of multiple episodes” (Andrea Yates, 2021). It was during this trial that Andrea Yates was found not guilty by the reason of insanity and was sent to a maximum-security state mental facility. The M'Naghten Rule, which states “all defendants are presumed to be sane unless they can prove that–at the time of committing the criminal act–the defendant’s state of mind caused them to (1) not know what they were doing when they committed said act, or (2) that they knew what they were doing, but did not know that it was wrong” (Busby, 2022). This compared with the Irresistible Impulse Test, which states “the defendant will be found not guilty by reason of insanity if they can show that as a result of mental disease or defect, they could not resist the impulse to commit the crime of which they are accused, due to an inability to control their actions”

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