Mary Barnett Case: Victim or Victimizer? In you view, is the accused guilty or not guilty? Please write your verdict and give a brief explanation.
Based on the limited evidences from our text, I wouldn't say that Mary Barnett is guilty at this point. In our text, we only have the evidences or opinions from the police, two psychiatrists, one of Mary's friend, and the opinion from one of her neighbor. No evidence from her fiance or from her instant family noted. And I also curious about what is the purpose or benefit for Mary to kill her daughter when everybody says that she is killing her baby intentionally? Whether she has any support from her family? Whether she is happy or upset during pregnancy? All these questions are important for me to determine whether Mary is guilty or not.
Who gives the evidence and does their evidence contain bias, or is the evidence objective? Please analyze the accuracy of the information and credibility of the individuals in the Barnett case, and write your notes below. Remember to be specific.
Witnesses for the Prosecution
The neighbor, Caroline Hospers: Credible or not? Why or Why not?
Her speech is not credible. Caroline is using her perception to judge Mary Barnett's personality. Her evidence is very superficially. She is too subjective revealing by what she has said like "I am not suprised this happened. I always thought that Ms. Barnett was a disgrace…..I mean, she didn't have a husband. In fact, she didn't even have a steady man after that sailor left for California." Her speech is full of bias.
The responding officer, Officer Mitchell: Credible or not? Why or why not?
It is credible because officer Mitchell is giving what exactly Mary Barnett had said. He is giving information that he has gathered, repeating what Mary had told him, and he is not adding any comment or his own idea to the case.
The Professional psychiatrist, Dr. Parker: Credible or not? Why or Why not?
It is not completely credible. Dr. Parker has been involved in many judicial hearing, sounds like he is a court hired doctor. He might say something that favor what his boss likes to hear. He is giving a report about Mary's mental status based on the brief four times interviewed with Mary. For me, it is really unprofessional. I wonder how he tests Mary's competency? I want to hear more information from him about the process of testing.
Testimony for the Defense
The friend, Alice Jones: Credible or not? Why or why not?
It is credible in certain aspect. Alice had known Mary for over eight years. She points out and proves that Mary having trouble with her fiance and started drinking to overcome her emotionaly problem. But Alice is also too subjective. It is hardly for me to trust what she states "Mary didn't realize that she was leaving Alison unattended", how she proves that? I understand that it is hardly for Alice to put her best friend in jail.
The court-appointed psychiatrist, Dr. Bloom: Credible or not? Why or why not?
Dr. Bloom is credible. He is not hired by the court and he meet Mary just because she is one of his patient. There is no reason for him to protect a "real murder". He is giving his professional point-of-view about Mary's mental status. He explains how could Mary develop her depression and what exacerbates her behavior.
The accused. Mary Barnett: Credible or not? Why or why not?
I think it could be credible. She said that she doesn't remember she left her baby alone, which can be true if she drunk before she left her house. I have seen that a lot of alcoholic don't remember what they have done until they are completely get rid of the alcohol. So, before I say that she is 100% credible, I would like to know is there anybody see she drink before she leave her home? And how she looks like when she arrives her fiance's home?
Now think about the position that is opposite of yours, try to understand the reasons behind that position.
Most people would say that Mary Barnatt is guilty because the dead of the baby is irreversible. This fact hurts everybody. People believe that Mary is an adult and she supposes to know what she is doing disregarding the evidence that she might suffer from postpartum depression. People also believe that no matter what, Mary is the one leaving her baby alone in the apartment. Anger impedes people to seek for more evidences. This voice of prejudice prevents people from being objective.