Andrea Yates/ Psychology
Abstract In this assignment I am to review the case study of Andrea Yates. I am to write a 1 to 2 page summary of the case and answer/discuss the questions below. (1)What is the legal issue in the case study? What is the ethical issue? (2)Describe the differences between civil commitment and criminal commitment. What are some examples of each from the case study? (3)Discuss the terms insanity defense and competency to stand trial in relation to the case you choose. (4)When is information confidential? When is the therapist involved in duty to warn?
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How does or could duty to warn relate to the case you chose to review? (5)If you encountered the type of individual in the case study on the job (previous to the person committing a crime), what would you do to help the individual, but not cross legal and ethical boundaries? Explain your answer. ? Legal and Ethical Case Study On June 20, 2001 36 year Andrea Yates from Clear Lake, Texas and a mother of five young children Noah 7, John 5, Paul 4, Luke 2 and Mary months old. Andrea drowned her children in the family bathtub then called 911 and her husband.
Andrea’s comment to her husband was really unbelievable she said “you need to come home, it’s time, I did it” (Yates, 2001). Rusty her husband didn’t know what she was talking about and asked her what she did her reply was “it’s the children” and asked “which one” (Yates, 2011), Andrea replies “all of them” (Yates, 2011). Andrea had laid four of the children on a double bed in the Master Bedroom and covered them with a blanket, when detectives looked their eyes were wide open, the fifth child was left in the bathtub with that had amid feces and vomit floating to the surface in plain sight.
When the police finally arrived at the Yates’s residence Andrea lead the officer’s into her home and she told them in detail what she had done to her children without any emotion or remorse. Andrea told the officers that she was a bad mother and that she needed to be punished for her actions and that her children are now in a better place free of the devil. Legal and Ethical Case Study When Andrea was brought to the police station for questioning, she was asked who killed your children Andrea replied “I did”, she was asked why did she kill her children and she replied because I am a bad mother.
Her husband informed the police officers that she had been on depression medicine and that there were times that she was unstable, he expressed that he never thought that his wife would actually hurt one of the children let alone kill them. The Court Hearing/Trial The trail began on February 18, 2002. Andrea Yates was found guilty on two counts of capital murder on March 12, 2002, and Andrea was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after serving forty years.
In March 2002 four of jurors that convicted Andrea Yates of capital murder told nationally on the news that they believe the crime was premeditated, but they also believed that Andrea Yates was mentally ill. The jurors went back and forth on their decision first they were going after capital murder, then they thought about the death penalty and the life sentence was what they agreed on. The juror thought that the way Andrea drowned her five children in the family bathtub that it seemed to be premeditated and methodical.
The juror looked at the facts that she was able to describe step by step what she did and how she did it, they felt that she knew what she was doing and that she knew it was wrong because just minutes after she called the police. The conclusion of the jurors was that Andrea was not insane at the time of the murders. There were medical records documenting that Andrea was at her breaking point, tottering between insanity and sanity over several years. Andrea tried to commit suicide twice and booth times she was hospitalized for psychotic breakdowns.
Records indicate that Andrea has been suffering from post-partum depression since the birth of Luke; she has been medicated and was investigated by Child Protective Services after her suicide attempt. Andreas’s physician and Child protective services did see why Andrea couldn’t care for her children. The term “legally insane” is defined as “a person is insane and is not responsible for criminal conduct, if at the time of such conduct, as a result of a severe mental disease or defect, he/she was unable to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of his/her acts (The Lectric Law Library, 1995-2011).
Many believe that Andrea didn’t know at the time that her actions were wrong when she drowned all five of her children in the family bathtub. Andrea told the homicide detective Sgt. Eric Mehl what she done and how she done these acts. Defense attorney George Parnham requested to the judge to recommend that Andrea Yates be held at Harris County Jail for further/continued treatment by the facilities psychiatric team.
Parnham also stated that after a period of time in the jail and undergoing treatment that Andrea be sent to prison if need be. He requested that Andrea be sent to a prison in Lubbock where Andrea can continue to seek medical treatment. I feel that if Andrea was found not guilty by reason of insanity that she would either be out to hurt someone else or locked in a mental hospital for the rest of her life. I feel that the guilty verdict generated a huge discussion about the insanity law and mental illness laws.