Postpartum Depression and Crime: The Case of Andrea Yates Essay

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On July 27, 2006, the New York Times published an article on the findings of the retrial of Andrea Yates and her not guilty due to insanity over the drowning deaths of her five children. (Woman Not Guilty, 2006). The court decided to commit her to a state mental hospital until medical experts decide she is not a threat to herself or anyone else. In 2002, an earlier jury rejected her claims she was psychotic and found her guilty. Yates alleged by murdering her children she actually saved them. (Woman Not Guilty, 2006). The appeals court overturned the decision because of “erroneous testimony from a prosecution witness.” (Woman Not Guilty, 2006). Yate’s lead lawyer, George Parnham, remarked that the verdict was a “watershed for mental illness and the criminal justice system.”(Woman Not Guilty, 2006). Yate’s first conviction promoted debate over whether Texas’ legal standard for mental illness was overly severe and whether the courts viewed postpartum depression with a serious viewpoint. Yate’s lawyer stated she suffered from severe postpartum psychosis and in a delusional mindset when she committed the murders. Yates drowned her children believing Satan lived inside her and believed murdering children saved them from hell. (Woman Not Guilty, 2006).
Link between Postpartum Depression and Crime
Thorough research of current literature shows experts are unable to find conclusive evidence on whether there is a connection between postpartum psychosis and crime. Susan Hatters…

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