Free Essay

The Case for Bashar Assad to Be Tried as a War Criminal

In: Social Issues

Submitted By mightymouse0318
Words 2422
Pages 10
Sara Wadlow
PS 434
Research Paper
May 3, 2015

Introduction The Syrian Civil War has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Since 2011, protests and attacks have been a daily occurrence, and the regime of Bashar Al-Assad has done what it believed was necessary to stop rebel forces and end protests. As such, Assad has committed many questionable, at best, and criminal, at worst, actions against the civilians of Syria in an effort to stop the rebels. The indiscriminate warfare Assad has used against Syrian citizens is shown in multiple international doctrines as illegal, and is thus a war crime, which should be prosecuted.
The Statue of the International Criminal Court defines war crimes as “serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict” and “serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in an armed conflict not of an international character (ICRC 2016). Section IV of Rule 156 of the International Committee of the Red Cross, titled Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed During a Non-International Armed Conflict, lists use of prohibited weapons subject to criminal sanctions, and specifically references the Chemical Weapons Convention, Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, and the Ottawa Convention as laying the groundwork for this guideline. This paper will address historical context of the Syrian Civil War, United Nations documents concerning indiscriminate weapons, the use of these indiscriminate weapons in Syria, and precedent for military tribunals.
Arab Spring and Beginnings of Civil War
Protests in Syria started on January 26, 2011, when a police officer assaulted a man in public at Al-Hareeka Street in old Damascus. The man was arrested right after the assault. As a result, protesters called for the freedom of the arrested man. Soon a "day of rage" was set for February 4-5, but it was uneventful (BBC, Mid-East Unrest: Syrian Protests in Damascus and Aleppo 2011). On March 6, the Syrian security forces arrested about 15 children in Daraa, in southern Syria, for writing slogans against the government. Thousands of protesters gathered in Damascus, Aleppo, al-Hasakah, Daraa, Deir ez-Zor, and Hama on 15 March, with recently released politician Suhair Atassi becoming an unofficial spokesperson for the "Syrian revolution (Holliday 2011).” The next day there was reports of approximately 3,000 arrests and a few martyrs, but there are no official figures on the number of deaths. On April 18, 2011, approximately 100,000 protesters sat in the central Square of Homs calling for the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad. By late December, the battles between the government's security forces and the rebel Free Syrian Army intensified in Idlib Governorate. Cities in Idlib and neighborhoods in Homs and Hama began falling into the control of the opposition, during this time, military operations in Homs and Hama stopped.
On January 29, the fourth regiment of the Syrian Army led by the president's brother Maher al-Assad and the Syrian Army dug in at Damascus, and the fighting continued where the FSA was 8 km away from the Republican palace in Damascus (Holliday 2011). Following this, the opposition forces began losing neighborhoods in Homs to the Syrian Army including al-Inshaat, Jobr, Karm el-Zaytoon and only Homs's old neighborhood's, including Al-Khalidiya, Homs|al-Khalidiya, remained in opposition hands. By March 2012, the government began military operations against the opposition in Idlib Governorate including the city of Idlib, which fell to the Army by mid-March (BBC, Syria in Civil War, Red Cross Says 2012).
Legal Doctrine
The Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, or the Geneva Protocol, is a treaty prohibiting the use of chemical and biological weapons in international armed conflicts. Signed in 1925, this was a step in helping prevent some of the agonizing problems of World War I, but many thought it did not go far enough in preventing the development, distribution, and stockpiling of chemical weapons. This led to the Chemical Weapons Convention, drafted in 1992, and signed by Syrian in 2013, and the establishment of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in 1997 (UNODA 2016).
Indiscriminate Warfare in Syria The Syrian Regime has been accused of using indiscriminate warfare against its own civilians under the guise of attacking areas harboring extremists. An indiscriminate weapon is a weapon that cannot be directed at a military objective or whose effects cannot be limited as required by international humanitarian law. Under international humanitarian law, the use of such an inherently indiscriminate weapon is prohibited (Geneva Academy 2013). The International Court of Justice has recognized the principle of distinction as one of the two cardinal principles contained in the texts constituting the fabric of humanitarian law. As a consequence of the requirement to distinguish at all times between combatants and military objectives on the one hand, and civilians and civilian objects on the other hand, it is prohibited under international humanitarian law to launch indiscriminate attacks. Indiscriminate attacks include those, which employ a method or means of combat, which cannot be directed at a specific military objective (Geneva Academy 2013). Examples of these attacks are barrel bombs and the use of sarin gas. A barrel bomb is an improvised explosive device made from a barrel and filled with explosives and shrapnel, then dropped from a helicopter. These bombs can also be filled with chemical agents, such as in the Kafr Zita attack in 2014. Between January 2014 and March 2015, 3,124 civilians were killed by barrel bomb while only 35 confirmed rebel fighters were killed. In these attacks, three schools were hit, while 17 hospitals and 23 mosques were damaged or destroyed (BBC 2015).
A chemical weapon is any weapon that uses a manufactured chemical to kill people. The first chemical weapon used effectively in battle was chlorine gas, which burns and destroys lung tissue. In World War I, the German army released tons of the gas to create a cloud that the wind carried toward the enemy (Brain 2001). Modern chemical weapons tend to focus on agents with much greater killing power, meaning that it takes a lot less of the chemical to kill the same number of people. Sarin is a nerve agent. Once inside the body, nerve agents affect the signaling mechanism that nerve cells use to communicate with one another.
Sarin is a cholinesterase inhibitor. It gums up the cholinesterase enzyme, which nerve cells use to clear themselves of acetylcholine. When a nerve cell needs to send a message to another nerve cell- for example, to cause a muscle to contract- it sends the message with the acetylcholine. Without cholinesterase to clear the acetylcholine, muscles start to contract uncontrollably. This eventually causes death by suffocation since the diaphragm is a muscle. It acts in five to 12 hours. It is not particularly difficult to manufacture, and if you were trapped in a one-cubic-meter closet with 100 milligrams of sarin in the air, inhaling it would kill you in 1 minute (Daniel C Keyes 2015).
A UN fact-finding mission was requested by member states to investigate 16 alleged chemical weapon attacks. After nine were dropped for insufficient evidence, seven were investigated, and four cases were confirmed the use of sarin gas in Khan Al-Assal, Saraqib, and Ghouta, where over 1,300 people were killed from contact with sarin gas on August 21, 2013 (Sellstrom 2013). The Russian Khan Al-Asal investigation also found use of chemical agents on March 19, 2013. On 29 April 2014, the Director General Ahmet Üzümcü of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced the creation of an OPCW mission to establish the facts surrounding allegations of the use of chlorine gas for hostile purposes in Syria. The Syrian Government has agreed to the mission On May 27, 2014, members of the mission were ambushed and briefly held by gunmen in rebel-held territory as it headed toward Kafr Zita to investigate the alleged chlorine gas attacks. The opposition Hama Media Centre said Assad’s forces carried out the attack on the convoy (Deutsch 2014).
Precedent of Military Tribunals Nuremberg trials were a series of military tribunals held by the Allied forces after World War II. The tribunal was responsible for trying 23 of the surviving highest-ranking leaders of the Third Reich for crimes committed during the Holocaust. The concept for the Nuremberg trials came from the Leipzig War Crimes Trials held after World War I (Solis 1999). The International Military Tribunal was opened on November 19, 1945, in the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg. The first session was presided over by the Soviet judge, Nikitchenko. The prosecution entered indictments against 24 major war criminals and seven organizations – the leadership of the Nazi party, the Reich Cabinet, the Schutzstaffel, Sicherheitsdienst, the Gestapo, the Sturmabteilung and the "General Staff and High Command", comprising several categories of senior military officers. These organizations were to be declared "criminal" if found guilty. The indictments were for participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of a crime against peace, planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity (The Sunday Times 2006). Twelve of those on trial were sentenced to death, and the sentences were carried out on October 16, 1946. Three others were acquitted, and the remaining defendants received prison terms. The trial of Saddam Hussein was the trial of the deposed President of Saddam Hussein by the Iraqi interim government for crimes against humanity during his time in office. The Coalition Provisional Authority voted to create the Iraqi Special Tribunal, consisting of five Iraqi judges, on December 9, 2003, to try Saddam Hussein and his aides for charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide (Sachs 2003). On November 5, 2006, Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging for the killing of 148 Shiites from Dujail, in retaliation for the assassination attempt of 8 July 1982. When the judge announced the verdict, Saddam shouted, "Long live the people. Long live the Arab nation. Down with the spies. God is great (AssociatedPress 2006)." Chief defense lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi later quoted a statement from Saddam Hussein given just before the Court issued its verdict. He said that Saddam urged his countrymen to "unify in the face of sectarian strife". Al-Dulaimi added that Saddam's message to the people was to "pardon and do not take revenge on the invading nations, its civilians (News 2006).” An appeal, mandated by the Iraqi judicial system, followed. There was speculation that the appeals could last years, postponing his actual execution. However, on December 26, Saddam's appeal was rejected and the death sentence was given (Semple 2006). No further appeals were possible and Saddam had to be executed within 30 days of that date. The decision still had to be ratified by the Iraqi President but could not be commuted. Judge Arif Shaheen, one of the nine appeal judges, said, "It cannot exceed 30 days. As from tomorrow the sentence could be carried out at any time. The appeals court has issued its verdict. What we have decided today is compulsory." On December 30, 2006 at approximately 6:05 am Baghdad time, Saddam Hussein's sentence was carried out and he was executed by hanging (News 2006).
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s condoning of indiscriminate weaponry while trying to stop the rebels in the Syrian shows a complete disregard for the well being of the Syrian citizens. These actions are criminal, as they’ve directly resulted in the deaths of men, women, and young children. Indiscriminate weapons and the use of chemical weapons in particular are directly outlawed in several authority doctrines, including the International Humanitarian Law and the Convention on Chemical Weapons. As the Syrian regime signed off on these documents and was fully aware of their statements, Assad has entered into a contract with the international community to not injure and kill civilians. Different organizations within the international community have examined these allegations, and given the precedent of military tribunals held for pervious war crimes, it is evident that Assad’s actions mirror those of previously convicted war criminals and he should be prosecuted for these crimes.

Works Cited
AssociatedPress. Sadam Urges Iraqis Not to Take Revenge on US. Nov 5, 2006.
BBC. Mid-East Unrest: Syrian Protests in Damascus and Aleppo. March 15, 2011.
—. Syria in Civil War, Red Cross Says. July 15, 2012.
—. Syrian Conflict: Aleppo Civilians Suffer "Unthinkable Atrocities". May 5, 2015.
Brain, Marshall. How Biological and Chemical Warfare Works. Sept. 27, 2001.
Daniel C Keyes, MD, MPH. Medscape. Feb 2016, 2015.
Deutsch, Anthony. Chemical Weapons Team in Syria Attacked But Safe: OPCW. May 27, 2014.
Geneva Academy. Indiscriminate Weapon. Dec 7, 2013.
Holliday, Joseph. The Struggle for Syria in 2011. Dec 2011.
ICRC. Rule 156. Definition of War Crimes. 2016.
News, NBC. Saddam Hussein Executed, Ending Era in Iraq. Dec 30, 2006.
Sachs, Susan. Iraqi Governing Council Sets Up Its Own Court for War Crimes. Dec 10, 2003.
Sellstrom, Ake. United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. Dec 2013.
Semple, Kirk. Saddam Hussein Is Sentenced to Death. Nov 5, 2006.
Solis, Gary. "Obedience of Orders and the Law of War: Judicial Application in American Forums." American University International Law Review, 1999: 481-526.
The Sunday Times. Churchill: Execute Hitler Without trial. Jan 1, 2006.
UNODA. United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. 2016.…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Criminal Defense Case Analysis

...Criminal Defense Case Analysis Paper Brandy Alston University of Phoenix Criminal Law CJA/343 Professor Joseph Wade March 1, 2012 Criminal Defense Case Analysis Paper Many individuals are aware of the process that lawyer go through to convict an individual. The prosecution has to prove a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of a crime, the accused does not have to present evidence for the innocent. The Fifth Amendment is the United States constitution states a defendant is not compelled to under oath criminate themselves, however in most cases the defendant want the chance to prove their innocent in court by having a defense. Criminal law is define as a code, rules, or statute that prohibits the conducts this is prohibit in region or state, federal government. However, when laws results in violations where the individual charged with the crime and haul off to jail. Although once the individual charged, they have the right to defend themselves in court with legal representation. This paper aims to examine and identify the different kind of criminal defense used in a criminal trial. This paper will discuss the two common defenses used in our justice system legal I did it but and factual I did not do it, the defense I did not do it means presumption of innocent and the defense I did it but means guilty with reason. Factual defense is the legal defense offers two group defense excuse and justification that has six categories for them. In......

Words: 1029 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Glaxosmithkline Found Guilty in Criminal Case

...Summary GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is one of the main pharmaceutical and healthcare drug developer and manufacturer in the world. The product liability case with the British company, GSK includes the drugs Avandia, Paxil, Wellbutrin, and others (Thomas & Schmidt, 2012). The drug maker pleaded guilty and agreed to pay fines from the criminal charges in the case. GSK promoted its antidepressants for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data to the FDA on their diabetes drug. In addition, there are civil penalties within this case for improper marketing on six other drugs. The fines are the largest settlement within the pharmaceutical industry, totaling 3 billion (Thomas et al., 2012). There have not been any charges placed against personnel of GSK, at this time. However, GSK has agreed to withdraw bonuses from executives in their part of this illegal behavior. The claims in this case are improper practices during the 1990 to the mid 2000’s, came from former employees of GSK, which include the regional vice president and senior marketing manager (Thomas et al., 2012). The criminal and civil claims include the following: • Even though it was known the drug was linked to suicidal thoughts in teens, GSK promoted the use of Paxil to children. GSK misrepresented information on a clinical trial in a medical journal on the drug. • Wellbutrin was approved for depressive disorder; however, was promoted to use for off-label promotions of various products, “weight loss......

Words: 1317 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Syria's Civil War

...Syria’s Civil War The civil war going on in Syria has been a topic of much discussion. What began as peaceful protests has turned into brutal civil war with over 100,000 deaths and counting. The images of men, women, and children being gassed or shot to death are just horrible to watch and hard to bear. With all these casualties and the U.S government expects to make a series of targeted military strikes against the Syrian government? Syria is a country in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Syria is very diverse, ethnically and religiously. The country’s population is divided among Sunni Arabs (a little less than 60 percent of the population); Christians (about 10 – 12 percent); Alawites, a Shiite offshoot also about 10 – 12 percent); Druze (about 6 percent); and various, mostly Sunni, ethnic minorities, primarily Kurds and Armenians (Carpenter 1-2). The President of Syria is called Bashar al-Assad, who succeeded his father Hafez al-Assad after the latter's death in 2000. Hafez al-Assad had ruled Syria ruthlessly for 30 years. Throughout his rule, Hafez was forced to devote his time and energy to matters of defense and foreign affairs. As a result, the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is, as the Middle East commentator David Lesch has pointed out, “a child of the Cold War and the Arab- Israeli conflict” (qtd. in McHugo). Neither was caused by Syria, but the country suffered terribly as a result of both. The massacre started in April 2011,......

Words: 1853 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Cola Wars Case Study

...Cola Wars Continue: Coke and Pepsi in 2010 Analysis of Case: HBS Case 9 – 711 – 462, May 26, 2011 Coke and Pepsi are part of an oligopoly market. They are and have been the two largest producers of CSDs since the 50’s and have been competing since the early 1900’s. Coke created a barrier to entry into the market in the early days by trademarking its secret formula and going to “battle” with several imitators which they won; including Pepsi in 1938, which they lost. Coke, as the larger of the two producers (47% market share in 1950) seemed to have the dominant market strategy and Pepsi, as the smaller entity (10% market share), followed suit with the moves of Coke. For example, when Coke switched from sugar to high-fructose corn syrup in order to lower costs, Pepsi did too; when Coke began purchasing bottling plants, Pepsi did too. The scales of Coke and Pepsi have allowed them continued growth and market dominance over the years, taking advantage of economies of scale. Coke used its size and wealthy franchisees, to compete in price against Pepsi’s independent bottling plants in the 1950’s. This behavior carried forward until the 80’s when Coke began purchasing bottlers as part of Coca-Cola Enterprises, allowing them to be the “anchor bottler” for their own company. In the late 1980’s, Pepsi followed Coke’s lead again, adopting their “anchor bottler” strategy. This was a strategic barrier which became problematic for smaller concentrate producers who......

Words: 792 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Criminal Cases

...For my court observation, I chose to watch the Casey Anthony trial that started on May 24, 2011 and concluded on July 5, 2011. This was a long trial because of the amount of evidence admitted (over 400 pieces) and the large number of witnesses called to testify for both the prosecution and the defense. I am pretty sure everyone knew something about this case, but what I witnessed watching the actual trial was appalling, to say the least. This case tugged at my heart because a mother, Casey Anthony, was being accused of killing her own daughter, 2-year old Caylee Anthony. The case drew national attention because of the gruesome facts and because of the many lies Casey told investigators and police authorities. The in-depth search by numerous agencies and private citizens to find clues kept the case in the media spotlight. In fact, I wondered how “fair” the trial would be due to the amount of national coverage the case actually received. I found myself going into the trial with already formed opinions about Casey’s culpability. As such, I was very anxious to actually watch the proceedings and see the facts as presented in the courtroom versus the national media. The opening arguments by the prosecutor set the stage for what was to come. The prosecutor stated: “It’s time to tell the story of a little girl named Caylee Anthony.” From there she went on to describe in detail this 2-year old’s life with her grandparents, who adored her, and her mother who seemed more concerned...

Words: 909 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Civil and Criminal Cases

...Running head: CIVIL AND CRIMINAL CASES Civil and Criminal Cases Lawanda Hall Kaplan University PA 101: The Paralegal Professional David Bondanza There are many distinctions between civil and criminal cases. There are also many differences in the way these cases are handled. In order for us to understand them, we must first know and understand what they are. Civil law deals with the disputes between individuals, organizations, or between the two, in which compensation is awarded to the victim. In a civil case the plaintiff can be an individual, corporation or government agency. Criminal law is the body of law that deals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses. A criminal case is intended to accomplish this by providing an incentive for persons to act reasonably in society and imposing penalties on persons who violate those (Goldman & Cheeseman). At the beginning of a federal criminal case, the main characters are the U.S. attorney (the prosecutor) and the grand jury. The U.S. attorney represents the United States in most court proceedings, including all criminal prosecutions. The grand jury reviews evidence presented by the U.S. attorney and decides whether there is sufficient evidence to require a defendant to stand trial. According to William Geldart, "The difference between civil law and criminal law turns on the difference between two different objects which law seeks to......

Words: 917 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Criminal Justice Case Study

...Robbery case study I have chosen to write about the robbery case. The synopsis of the case is: Two people, after conducting some surveillance on a small shoe store robbed a man while he was transporting money from his business to the bank. The two people later identified as Bertha Bloutt and William Bloutt, used the ruse of a broken down vehicle to get the victim to stop to render assistance at which time the robbed him at gun point. The usual process that these two offenders would go through is known as the criminal justice process. The criminal justice system is comprised of three major institutions which process a case from inception, through trial, to punishment. A case begins with law enforcement officials, who investigate a crime and gather evidence to identify and use against the presumed perpetrator. The case continues with the court system, which weighs the evidence to determine if the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If so, the corrections system will use the means at their disposal, namely incarceration and probation, to punish and correct the behavior of the offender. Throughout each stage of the process, constitutional protections exist to ensure that the rights of the accused and convicted are respected. These protections balance the need of the criminal justice system to investigate and prosecute criminals with the fundamental rights of the accused (who are presumed innocent). Though a number of rights derived from the Constitution protect......

Words: 1900 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Syria Civil War

...Revolution to Civil War By Maya Bhardwaj Abstract: social movements and regime change across the Middle East and North Africa. While interconnected, uprisings in each nation took different forms and reached out distinctions and interactions between uprisings, revolution, and civil war. standing scholarly debate. The presence or absence of civil war is examined in examinations of civil war: the nature of the governmental regime, territoriality complete understanding of what constitutes civil war and provides a framework 76 Introduction the Middle East, authoritarian regimes thought invulnerable to protest and impossible to oust began to cede to massive protest. Attacks on governmental institutions and elite leaders ensconced from public opinion developed divergently in each nation, employing tailored strategies to mobilize the public and reap key support. This paper focuses on the nature and development of these Arab Spring further use these distinctions to illuminate the conceptual, instrumental, and semantic nature of civil war in general. - exacerbated the grievances felt by rebel forces and smoothed over ethnic, religious, and tribal ten- trastingly, in Syria, instances of mild reform under Bashar al-Assad, popular concerns for security, kept civil war at bay. Conceptual Isolation of Civil War presence or absence of civil war. However, the scholarly distinction between civil war and other insurgency and counter-insurgency, uprisings, genocide or......

Words: 4840 - Pages: 20

Free Essay

Criminal Procedures Case Digest

...had alrdy prescribed (offense charged was a light felony w/c prescribes 2 mos from discovery thereof.) 8 Lower court dismissed the case 9 Acting City Fiscal filed another info for theft of electric power 10 Opulencia filed Motion to Quash upon the ground of double jeopardy 11 Judge Relova granted motion and dismissed the case. 12 Motion for Recon denied, hence this appeal Issue: WON there was double jeopardy Ratio Decidendi: A person who was charged for violating a city ordinance for having installed a metering device to lower his electric bills which was dismissed for prescription of the offense may not be charged again for theft of electric power under the RPC Reasons: 13 The second sentence of Art. IV Sec. 22 embodies an exception to the gen. Proposition: the consti protection, against double jeopardy is available although the prior offense charged under an ordinance be different from the offense charged subsequently under a national statute such as the RPC, provided that both offenses spring from the same act or set of acts 14 Where an offense is punished by different sections of a statute or different statutes, the inquiry, for purposes of double jeopardy is on the identity of offenses charged BUT where an offense is penalized by an ordinance and a statute, the inquiry is on the identity of acts. Since the dismissal of the case against Opulencia for violation of an ordinance alrdy amounted to an acquittal, he can no longer charged with an offense......

Words: 23071 - Pages: 93

Premium Essay

The End of the Iraq War: Unrest in the Middle East

...The End of the Iraq War: Unrest in the Middle East Media- The news media, are often unpopular with the brass, for they function independently, without rules, regulations, or even a Code of Conduct except for some that are self-imposed. The media’s Newspapers, Radio, TV and Cable have a variety of interests of their own and set goals to be achieved. They have their fulsome share of rogues, incompetents and avaricious vultures. Yet at their best, the media provide the nation with a vital service it can get nowhere else. It is one of the pillars of the state. US military action against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria began on a small scale three months ago but has steadily expanded in size and scope, raising the stakes for Washington, experts say. The mission has morphed from protecting religious minorities in Iraq to a vow to "destroy" the IS group in both Syria and Iraq, a dramatic shift for an American president who as a candidate was an outspoken opponent of the previous US war in Iraq. Transnational actors-Globalization provides international actors with additional tools for enhancing their interests and power. More actors which assume the shape of threats are actively and directly involved in everyday international  affairs. That is why extremist and terrorist ideological groups for example achieved the ability to manipulate an audience by cultivating fear on the global scale. Rebel or resistance movements, warlords, criminal organizations, local militias,......

Words: 1906 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Criminal Defense Case Analysis

...Criminal Defense Case Analysis Andrea Yates was born in Houston, Texas; she was a mother to five children, four boys and one girl. She was an excellent student during her childhood; after graduating from high school, she completed a nursing degree ("Andrea Yates Biography", 2013). She married Rusty Yates, a deeply religious man known to follow a preacher named Michael Woroniecki. Mr. Woroniecki often preached that bad mothers were going to hell, along with their children. Andrea Yates embraced the extremist’s sermon, convincing herself that her children were condemned because of her sins. Andrea Yates battled post-partum psychosis and post-partum depression for several years; she attempted suicide twice during the summer of 1999. On June 20, 2001, she drowned her five children, ages ranging between six months to seven years, one by one, in their family’s home bathtub. During the police interview, Andrea Yates confessed to killing her children because she considered herself an awful mother, therefore her children were doomed to go to hell. She believed that by murdering them, she would save them (Sweetingham, 2007). On July of 2001, Mrs. Yates is charged with two counts of capital murder; she pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. During trial, Andrea Yates was legally represented by criminal defense attorney George Parnham. Among the evidence presented at trial to demonstrate the defendant’s unstable mental state was the expert testimony of a psychiatrist;......

Words: 1090 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Criminal Case

...Case Study #1 John decides to do some target practice with his new .22-caliber pistol in front of his house on Christmas morning in a residential neighborhood. John has never owned or handled a pistol before. There are children playing in the street, but John is determined to test his new weapon. He fires once at the tire of a passing car and misses. The bullet strikes and kills a child playing across the street. The Prosecutor files murder charges against John. Murder charges against John are not the proper offense to charge in this case. The proper offense to be charged would be involuntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter refers to an unintentional killing that results from recklessness or criminal negligence, or from an unlawful act that is a misdemeanor or low-level felony (FindLaw). The crime John committed is one in which the victims’ death was unintended. All the elements to be convicted for involuntary manslaughter were met. There are three elements that must be satisfied in order for someone to be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter: (1) Someone was killed as a result of an act by the defendant (2) The Act either was inherently dangerous to others or done with reckless disregard for human life (3) The defendant knew or should have known his or her conduct was a threat to the lives of others (FindLaw). Involuntary manslaughter covers situations in which the defendant has caused death but does not satisfy the mens rea requirements of murder; it...

Words: 473 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Criminal Defense Case Analysis

...Criminal Defense Case Analysis Melissa Bowman CJA/305 January 30, 2016 Jerri Green Introduction This paper will go over two cases that explain the nature and types of defense used and the evidence used to demonstrate the defense. The first case explained will discuss Andrea Yates, a mom who killed her five children on grounds of insanity. The next case Jean Harris also claimed to be insane and by accident killed someone by accident as she tried to commit suicide. It will also address how justification and excuse play a role in the cases. Lastly, the outcomes of each case will be given. Explain the nature and types of defenses used in the cases and what evidence was used to demonstrate the defense. There are multiple types of defense, justification and excuse are affirmative defenses. This is when it must be raised or asserted by the defendant independently of any claims made by the prosecutor. The first case to be explained is about Andrea Yates, the type of defense she chooses was innocence by reason of insanity Andrea Yates Biography. (2016). She had cited postpartum psychosis. Yates was treated for postpartum depression and psychosis; they showed that the illness ran in her family. The birth of her fifth child and death of her father was shown as a reason she fell into a severe depression. She had been admitted to Devereux-Texas Treatment Network and was put on psychotropic drug treatments Andrea Yates Biography. (2016). She was accused of drowning all......

Words: 783 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Criminal Defense Case Analysis

...When an individual is charged with a criminal act they need to appear in court and this individual is considered the defendant. The defendant and their attorney will attempt to prove that the prosecution is wrong and that the defendant is in fact not guilty. With this there are various types of defenses available. These types of defenses are described below. Insanity Defense – One of the most argumentative types of defenses available is the insanity defense. In this type of defense, the defendant’s attorney attempts to show that the defendant is insane and is unable to be held responsible for the crime that they have committed. In this type of defense, there are two different plea options that are available to the defendant, not guilty due to mental illness and psychologically ill. One needs to be sure they understand the difference between the medical and legal position of psychological insanity and illness. In medical terminology, psychological illness can be any type of disaster that shocks an individual’s mind. Any individual can be affected by an illness during any given period of time and there is not any real categorization as to what could decide whether an individual is insane or not (“Addington v. Texas”, n.d.). For example, an individual might be suffering due to a psychological illness and could still be capable of holding down a job as well as carry out everyday activities needed to live. As far as the medical field goes there is no such thing as insanity, and......

Words: 712 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Criminal Case Study in Children

...Criminal Responsibility within Children Misty M. Lane PYSCH 210-B16 Liberty University Abstract According to Berger (2011), early childhood is defined as the ages two through six. During this time the child does what he/she knows best and learns through the act of playing. However, what happens when a child accidentally commits a crime can cause controversy. The purpose of this case study is to determine at what age is a child held criminally responsible. The law states that children under the age of seven are not considered criminally responsible for committing a criminal act. Within this case study, we will explore and support why developmental factors within this age group support the legal system. Criminal Responsibility within Children In Michigan, a child at the age of six stole a weapon from his home and accidentally murdered a fellow student that he had argued in the past. When the child was questioned about the crime, he stated it was an accident and he was only trying to scare her. What role does development play in the decision making process at this age? According to Berger (2011), a child at the age of six lacks the brain maturation and development that would allow to purposefully commit a criminal act. The pre-frontal cortex is responsible for the brain’s decisions. This includes proper planning, selecting, and coordinating. Maturation of the prefrontal cortex plays a major part in the development of children. Older......

Words: 773 - Pages: 4