This piece discusses the case of Andrea Yates, the woman who confessed to drowning her five children to death and was subsequently convicted of murder (though the conviction has since been overturned). In this piece, Colb contends that Andrea Yates was convicted because of the jurors’ emotional/psychological response to the possibility that post-partum psychosis could cause an otherwise decent person to commit such brutal acts. As a symptom of denial, Colb argues, the jury rejected the insanity defense and thereby reassured itself that only evil people could do what Yates did. If that were the case, then it would be fine to continue to ignore the issue of mental illness in general and its impact on post-partum women in particular.
Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure
Date of this Version
Sherry F. Colb, "The Conviction of Andrea Yates: A Narrative of Denial" (July 2003). Rutgers Law School (Newark) Faculty Papers. Working Paper 16.