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Captial Punishment-Yates Trial

Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by SUNKIST, Mar 14, 2002.



    Jurors must decide if Yates is still a threat
    Paul Duggan

    HOUSTONFor 17 days, Andrea Pia Yates' attorneys tried to save her from a murder conviction, arguing passionately in court that she was psychotic and unable to distinguish right from wrong when she purposely drowned her five children. Then on Tuesday, having failed, the lawyers stood stunned and disappointed outside the courthouse, braced for a new challenge.

    "I hope we'll be able to save her life," defence attorney George Parnham said.

    That may be a difficult job here in Harris County, Texas, the epicentre of capital punishment in America. No jurisdiction in the nation imposes more death sentences.

    Today, the jurors in Yates' case will reconvene for testimony in the trial's penalty phase. The eight women and four men must decide whether the 37-year-old homemaker, the wife of a NASA computer engineer, should be executed or given a life prison term with parole eligibility in 40 years.

    "Mental illness is still not understood and still not appreciated," Parnham said after the jury decided to hold Yates criminally culpable for drowning the five children, aged 6 months to 7 years, in the family bathtub last June 20.

    While many people were critical of District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal after he announced last August that his office would seek the death penalty for Yates, lawyers and political observers here said they weren't surprised.

    Given complaints that capital punishment is meted out disproportionately to defendants who are black and poor, they said, Rosenthal might have felt that he could not rule out the death penalty for a middle-class white woman, especially in such a horrific case.

    Under Texas law, when the jurors in Yates' case begin deliberating on a punishment, they must first address the question of "future dangerousness." If Yates were spared execution, would she likely "commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society?'' Society, of course, would be the inmates and staff workers at the prison where she would spend at least the next 40 years.

    Legal experts said the future dangerousness argument may be hard to make in regard to Yates, who had no prior criminal history. So far, no evidence has been produced to suggest she was a danger to anyone but her children.

    If even one juror decided Yates would not pose "a continuing threat," she would be sentenced to a life term. But if jurors agreed unanimously that she would likely commit future violence, they would move to a second step in their deliberations, addressing the question of mercy.

    In arguing for mitigation, Yates' attorneys almost certainly will focus on her struggle with mental illness, legal experts said.

    Yates would go to death row only if jurors unanimously rejected the mitigation argument.


    what do you think? this trial intrigues me.
    if you don't remember it happening last summer, or you haven't been really following it now...basically these people lived in a 350 sq. ft. bus, with 5 children. last june the mother systematically called her children, one at a time, into the washroom and drowned them in the bath tub, and laid them in the bed under the sheets once they were dead. she then called 911, the police, and her husband and told them what she did and that they should come home. her lawyer argued that she as mentally insane, and did not know what she was doing.but would a mentally insane person who was having an episode know to call 911? would it matter? i dunno..anyways..the jury found her guilty..today they are deliberating as to wether she deserves the death penalty..what do you think? and of the death penalty in general?
  2. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

    Being that you wanted to get into criminal law, would you defend her?


    i dunno, Rob.
    i dont think so. yes its sad that she has a history of mentla illness. but the facts can't be ignored. she systematically killed her children. granted i don't know much about mental illness, and i dont know how functional you are, but that sounds like something that someone who was aware of what they were doing, would do. the point is, the facts are there, the laws in Texas are there...and they're broken. how do you not prosecute against that?
  4. Reality: I think she's going to "ride the lightning" so to speak

    Do I think she should die? No. I've never supported capital punishment, as it is too much of an eye for an eye kind of approach to justice. And as Pyrovitae has often quoted Ghandi as saying (and this has always resonnated with me): An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.

    From the Ministry of my answer.

    Prime Minister Highsteppa
  5. statira

    statira TRIBE Member

    i don't think she deserves to die, life in prison seems a harsher sentence, i'm not sure how one could live with themselves knowing they had killed their children, yes i believe she was mentally ill and deserves the murder conviction, but not the death chamber.

    i can't imagine the horror for those children felt that day!

  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I say fry the bitch.

    If they're fucked up enough to kill 5 of their own children they're a danger to society. Mental illness or not, she doesn't deserve to live.
  7. Karim

    Karim TRIBE Member

    Not supporting capital punishment may seem like the right thing to do, but it's not.

    Right to life can be thrown out of the window when it comes to crime and punishment. She killed 5 children, I wouldn't want my tax dollars feeding her, and attempting to rehabilitate her. That money can go to schools, health care and other MUCH more worthy causes.

    :confused: <------ Those questions marks are now smoke. FRY ho FRY
  8. JayIsBored

    JayIsBored TRIBE Member

    i say sell all deathrow inmates to fox broadcasting corp. who will start a new gladiator series where contestants fight to the death. the winner gets to eat as many hotdogs as they can in 5 minutes and a one way trip to antarctica.
  9. Spinsah

    Spinsah TRIBE Member

    Are you an American? If you're not then your tax dollars have nothing to do with it.

    Regardless, the factual basis of your argument is completely wrong and a common myth used to support capital punishment. Sorry to inform you of this champ but it costs far more tax dollars to execute someone due to the vast amount of red tape and the appeals proceess involved. Life imprisonment is the fiscally responsible option. But this is an ethical argument let's be honest here. No statistic I could throw out that proves that the death penalty has no effect in curbing violent crime would satisfy you.

    She was obviously having a psychotic episode when drowning these poor children, and everything possible should be done to ensure that she doesn't pay with her life.

    Word to Ghandi.

  10. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    woman executed her five kids.

    And there is a debate as to if she was insane. I'd say its pretty damn clear she wasn't exactly playing with a full card.

    (against capital punishment myself, but I have no issue with hard labour work camps)
  11. Karim

    Karim TRIBE Member

    I said I "wouldn't" want my tax dollars......

    doesn't mean they are, just if I were an american I "wouldn't".

    And that just proves that the system is flawed when a deathrow inmate can appeal till they die of old age. Which is a whole 'nother arguement.

    A momentary lapse of insanity doesn't justify anything and she should be punished. Life in prison is nothing compared to their guilty concience, but knowing that death is inevitable is a much worse situation then just being caged.

    :mad: <---- The opinions are just that, opinions.
  12. Spinsah

    Spinsah TRIBE Member

    Appeals are there to ensure that an innocent man does not get executed. Let's just say that we had the death penalty in Canada and the jury decided that Guy Paul Morin should be put to death for the crime he was convicted of. Without the appeals process an innocent man would be dead.

    You are correct when you state that opinions are in fact just that. It's just that your opinion happens to infuriate me, because not only is it morally bankrupt it's also just plain misinformed.

    I don't understand how a self proclaimed 'just' society can masquerade as such when they are executing their own citizens. It's just so fucking primitive.
  13. Karim

    Karim TRIBE Member

    People like Paul Bernardo, and Andrea Yates deserve to die. If there is SOLID evidence, then they should be executed.

    You're right in the fact that the innocent person shouldn't get killed, but some cases have no excuse for appeals.

    :) <---- Was happy to see Timothy McVeigh get fried
  14. Juan Love

    Juan Love TRIBE Member

    That is sooooooooooooo 1930's!:rolleyes:
    I appreciate the sentiment but I've heard this quote ad nauseam.

    Obviously if Ghandi was still around he'd change that one in lieu of contemporary advances in night and thermal imaging...pfffft.

    I say it's time for a new set of pacifist affirmations and maxims...

    Now on to the matter at hand, although I don't believe in capital punishment, afterall in a democracy the blood of the executed stains the hands of every citizen of the state, this animal executed five of her own children.

    This is just inhuman...psychotic episode or not, I at least say we take a lesson from our friends in the middle east on this one...chop off her hands and then we can work out some kind of multi-coloured drug induced rehabilitation gimmick afterwards.
  15. Spinsah

    Spinsah TRIBE Member


    I hear what you're saying but there's no way that you can possibly make that distinction in a legal context. To set a legal precedent for a two tiered capital punsihment system is impossible. "SOLID" evidence is really realitive depending on the case.

    Even from a devils advocate perspective, if you can't be 100% sure that the person is guilty then it's the more just option to imprison them for life.

    Oh and Tim McVeigh was not 'fried' he was lethally injected.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2002

  16. Exactly, it's called learning from history. Just because it happened in the past doesn't mean it should be ignored. Should all lessons have a "best before" or expiration date attached to them?

    "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" -JFK. Guess that died around 1985 or so.

    I see, and you know this through how? Last time I checked, he was dead and hasn't backtracked on what he has said.

    From the Ministry of meh.

    Prime Minister Highsteppa
  17. Karim

    Karim TRIBE Member

    He's frying in hell ain't he?

    But for say the Bernardo case, they had videotaped evidence. That's solid enough for most anybody.

    Alot of these criminals end up breaking down and confessing.

    If there is ANY doubt among a jury, then they shouldn't be executed, but in many cases, it's a sure thing that the defendant is guilty.

    It's definately a thing to look at from a case by case basis. I don't think everyone deserves to die, but in this case about Andrea Yates, I honestly do believe she does.

    :mad: <--- It angers me at how some rehabilitators believe anyone can be set right.
  18. Juan Love

    Juan Love TRIBE Member

    :D :D :D
    Agreed Highsteppa.
    Cheers, and here's another arcane quote for you to ponder:

    "Hegel says somewhere that all great events and personalities in world history reappear in one fashion or another. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce." - Karl Marx
  19. *insert smirk emoticon*

    George Bush Jr. is singlehandedly proving that one.

    From the Ministry of nice. (somewhat of a closet marxist)

    Prime Minister Highsteppa
  20. mingster

    mingster TRIBE Member

    I don't think she should be put to death.
    I don't think she's a cold-blooded killer, with no remorse.
    I think she was and is a very sick individual.

    I support capital punishment in the right circumstances,
    and I don't think these are them.

  21. CO2

    CO2 TRIBE Member

    The husband is a NASA computer engineer, and they live in a 350sq ft bus? Hrrrmm...NASA's not paying as well as they used to i guess. :)

    Personally...i think she should die...plain and simple. She took the life of 5 children and now must pay for those lives with her own. 40 years in prison eating up the taxpayers money is not a proper punishment for something like this. Ive never been one to accept the "mental illness" defense, and I've never understood why a lawyer would try to save the life of someone who took away so many others...but i suppose everyone deserves some sort of defense.

    As far as capital punishment is concerned, im completely for it...but should only be reserved for convicted mass murderers (ie. Bernardo, Dahmer, etc, etc.)...and not for the guy who royally fucked up and killed someone.

    Ohh..and repeat child molesters and rapists should be castrated. After their first offence, they should obviously be jailed, but then allowed a chance to prove they have been rehabilitated...if not..chop! chop! Its barbaric, but the crime i think would definitely fit the punishment there.

  22. JayIsBored

    JayIsBored TRIBE Member

    karim you believe in hell but not creationism...


  23. mingster

    mingster TRIBE Member

    What I don't get, is if she was having mental issues after her first kid, and her second, why keep having more? I mean, they knew something was wrong. And then her engineer husband leaves a phychotic woman at home all day with five kids, one of them being a 6 month old baby, and she has a history of post-partum....

    I mean come on!

  24. Yeah, but that assumes that she knows the difference btwn right and wrong, and god knows what the fuck is going through her head. We've all had times where we've asked ourselves at one point of our lives or another "Am I going nuts?". At least we tried to recognize it.

    From the Ministry of it's hard to figure out what's going on in someone's head. They might seem fine on the outside, but inside they could be thinking about masturbating to the peanut butter when they get home

    Prime Minsiter Highsteppa
  25. Karim

    Karim TRIBE Member

    Hahaha, it was a figure of speech.

    Actually, believing in evolution and no afterlife makes the death penalty that much more severe. Imagine if you strongly believed that there was NOTHING after death, no heaven, no hell. Then knowing the date of your death and how you are approaching nothingness would be the worst thing anyone can ever face. Then dying won't be the "easy way out" of your life.

    :p <---- I may support capital punishment, but not enough to go campaign for it.

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