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Yates not guilty, Oregon statutes and comments

July 26 2006 at 6:30 PM
Don  (no login)

Yates not guilty by reason of insanity
By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer 2 minutes ago.

HOUSTON - A jury found Andrea Yates not guilty by reason of insanity in the drowning deaths of her young children in the bathtub of their suburban home.

Yates will be committed to a state mental hospital, with periodic hearings before a judge to determine whether she should be released. If convicted, she would have faced life in prison.

Yates' attorneys never disputed that she drowned 6-month-old Mary, 2-year-old Luke, 3-year-old Paul, 5-year-old John and 7-year-old Noah in their Houston-area home in June 2001. But they said she suffered from severe postpartum psychosis and, in a delusional state, thought Satan was inside her and was trying to save them from hell.

This is the second trial for the 42-year-old suburban mother.

The jury had spent 11 hours Monday and Tuesday trying to determine if Yates was legally insane. Wednesday morning, they reviewed the state's definition of insanity and then asked to see a family photo and candid pictures of the five smiling youngsters. After about an hour of deliberations, they said they had reached a verdict.

In Yates' first murder trial, in 2002, the jury deliberated about four hours before finding her guilty. That conviction was overturned on appeal.



You have to be kidding me, Yates is not guilty for the death of her 5 children by her own hand by drowning them in a bath tub, and the reason being, “she suffered from severe postpartum psychosis and, in a delusional state, thought Satan was inside her and was trying to save them from hell.”

Look on the bright side, the jury determined that to think Satan is inside someone and trying to save a person from hell is delusional—Thanks for the verification.

Are there any Oregon State statute to support this ruling? YES.

Criminal defense and god belief

ORS 163.150 Sentencing for aggravated murder; proceedings; issues for jury. (1)(a) Upon a finding that the defendant is guilty of aggravated murder, the court, except as otherwise provided in subsection (3) of this section, shall conduct a separate sentencing proceeding to determine whether the defendant shall be sentenced to life imprisonment, as described in ORS 163.105 (1)(c), life imprisonment without the possibility of release or parole, as described in ORS 163.105 (1)(b), or death.

This says that a separate hearing is to be held to determine punishments or confinement AFTER the defendant was found guilty by a court of law.

Jury instructions:

(c)(A) The court shall instruct the jury to consider, in determining the issues in paragraph (b) of this subsection, any mitigating circumstances offered in evidence, including but not limited to the defendant’s age, the extent and severity of the defendant’s prior criminal conduct and the extent of the mental and emotional pressure under which the defendant was acting at the time the offense was committed.

This says that in this sentencing hearing the following instructions are to be given to the jury
to consider:

1) mitigating circumstances offered in evidence

2) the extent of the mental and emotional pressure under which the defendant was acting at the time the offense was committed.

These are defenses to the punishments:

163.115 Murder; affirmative defense to certain felony murders; sentence of life imprisonment required; minimum term.

(c) By abuse when a person, recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, causes the death of a child under 14 years of age or a dependent person, as defined in ORS 163.205, and:

(A) The person has previously engaged in a pattern or practice of assault or torture of the victim or another child under 14 years of age or a dependent person; or
(B) The person causes the death by neglect or maltreatment.

Here is Yates’ defense under Oregon Criminal code (ORS 163.115):

(4) It is an affirmative defense to a charge of violating subsection (1)(c)(B) of this section that the child or dependent person was under care or treatment solely by spiritual means pursuant to the religious beliefs or practices of the child or person or the parent or guardian of the child or person.

In other words, IF Yates can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she was a dependant person being treated “solely by spiritual means pursuant to the religious beliefs or practices” and these practices and beliefs say that a person “must kill their child(ren) to save them from hell”, then that is a defense that is recognized by Oregon statutes.

Yes, Oregon does have “spiritual beliefs” as a defense.

It does mean that Yates can be confined for her safety and for the safety of society for an indefinite period, and does mean Yates will not get the death penalty, or life in prison.

I’m NOT saying that Yates’ defense would prevail in an Oregon Court with an Oregon Jury. I am saying that the possibility is there by state statutes and criminal code.

However, we have this Oregon statute found in the Hearsay rules and regulations that the prosecution could use to overturn the defense:

ORS 40.365 Rule 610. Religious beliefs or opinions. Evidence of the beliefs or opinions of a witness on matters of religion is not admissible for the purpose of showing that by reason of their nature the credibility of the witness is impaired or enhanced. [1981 c.892 §54a]

In other words, saying I am right in my actions because “god spoke to me” and therefore I am creditable is NOT allowed as evidence from a witness.

So this is why we have trials, judges, juries, and laws are used to plot a course of decisions. In this case the final authority is given to the Jury, and the burden rest on their heads and not a judge.

In conclusion:

Yes, god beliefs maybe used as a defense to a crime or reduction in punishments, and using the god (spiritual) defense possibly can make a person not guilty by reason of insanity at the time i.e. “in a delusional state of mind”. The State (DA) still has the burden of proof of who committed the crime, and in disallowing or negating any defenses.

To me the bright side is; there are legal limit placed on a god belief and what a person thinks a god tells them to do. God (if there be any god) is limited to the laws of man, so much for a god being all powerful. As it stands in Oregon if a person says that god told them to do a criminal act such a god belief makes a person “in a delusional state”.

It can be argued that a person’s claim of a god talking to them saying anything puts them in a delusional state of mind using the Oregon criminal code as a standard.

So, before a person makes a claim of god this or god that, a person needs to consult the criminal laws of their state to make sure they are not telling a person to do a crime. A person should be on guard about influencing a person in a step-by-step sequence to comit a crime by putting them in a criminal state of mind, or solicitation to do a crime.

When a person says they are “ruled by god’s laws and NOT the laws of man”—be careful as god has no authority on earth, or in our courts, but rather only to show that a person making the claim is delusional.


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