Document Type

Article

Publication Title

American Journal of Criminal Law

Publication Date

2003

Page Number

315

Disciplines

Law

Abstract

On June 20, 2001, Andrea Yates took the lives of her five children by drowning them, one by one, in a bathtub. At her trial on capital murder charges nine months later, she pleaded insanity. Despite very credible evidence that she had long suffered from serious mental disorder, a Texas jury convicted Yates of murder and sentenced her to life in prison. Her tragic and controversial case led many to question whether the so-called "M'Naghten" test for insanity, which forms the basis for the insanity defense in Texas, adequately defines the exculpatory effect of mental disorder. This article is based on a talk given at a conference entitled "The Affirmative Defense of Insanity in Texas," which took place in the wake of the Yates trial.

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