Analyzing Your Verdict
Exploring the activity has given you the opportunity to analyze the key dimensions of a complex court case. Synthesize your thoughts regarding this case in a two-page paper in which you explain the reasons and evidence that influenced your verdict. Be sure to discuss the important testimony and your evaluation of the credibility of the various witnesses.
The case about Mary Barnett is complicated. It is hardly to determine whether Mary leaves her baby to die intentionally or unconsciously. The evidences provide in the text are not enough for me to pronounce her guilty. I have tried to look for more information about this case from the internet but couldn't find any. I still have many questions about this case.
Honestly I believed that Mary Barnett is guilty the first time I heard about the event. I made the verdict only based on what I trust that any parent should have responsibility to their children's health, education, and growth development; and this judgment is based on my human instinct. In the past, I would never accepted any excuse that leaving a baby at home alone is not guilty, not even talk about leave a baby to die. My verdict was so concrete until I saw the testimony from the two psychiatrists. They make me recorded the knowledge about psychiatry that I learned from my nursing courses. People or human being can make a devastating mistake which is contraindicated to their conscience when something like hormone disturbing their mind. This domain is too broad for me to discuss here. So, let us back to the Mary Barnett's case.
There are six testimonies including the one from the accused, Mary Barnett show in our textbook. It is obviously not enough evidence to put a person into jail. In the testimony of Caroline Hospers, the neighbor of Mary, she talks like she is gossiping somebody, very subjective! I wonder how can she be sure that Mary went to California just to party? Officer Mitchell is the only one who describes Mary using a bystander's point-of-view. What I mean bystander is he doesn't add any unnecessary comment to his testimony. He states "upon entering the apartment, we found the defendant holding the deceased child in her arms. She was sobbing and was obviously extremely upset"; he also records the respond that Mary Barnett given at the scene: "She stated that she had left the deceased with a baby sitter one week before when she went to California"; then she immediate confessed herself "I remember making airline reservations for my trip. Then I tried to find a baby sitter, but I couldn't." Instead of telling people how is Mary' mental status at that time, Officer Mitchell provides this evidence to let us think about the possibility of unintentionally killing. Officer Mitchell's testimony evokes my question that can a person made such a perfect plan to kill somebody? The perfect plan I am thinking about is to get yourself to love your own baby at the beginning, then becomes alcoholic and act like having depression, leaves the baby alone to die and then comes back to speak something confusing people and makes people believe that you are not killing your baby intentionally. And this perfect plan is making within 6 months under the tired condition of postpartum. If Mary wants to kill her baby, she could have a lot of methods to do that. She doesn't have to pretend that she loves her baby so desperately. It is not easy to pretend to love somebody you hate. In fact, there is no mark of child abuse found in the deceased baby according to Officer Mitchell's report. Even though the love of fiance is so great to cover the love of the baby, can it be so easy to give up either one of them completely in a short period of time? If Mary is conscience enough to make that decision, I believe that she wouldn't let her baby exists in the world at all. She can simply abort her daughter as a fetus.
Dr. Parker states "I am a professional psychiatrist", for me, he just wants to tell people that he is professional and we should trust him from the beginning! My understanding is professional person can make mistake too! With no exception if the professional person cannot provide enough evidence to what he declared. He interviewed Mary only four times during the three months period. He states that Mary "understands the charges against her, and the roles of her attorney, the prosecutor, the judge and jury, and she can participate in her own defense." My question is who say that a depressed person cannot understand things? He believes that Mary "was mentally competent" on the day she left her baby unattended. Dr. Parker states "I think that she feels guilty for the decisions she made, and that this remorse accounts for her current emotional problems." It is very unprofessional! He completely eliminates or ignores the previous mental status of Mary before the event happened. How does he know that Mary's current emotional problem is not the continual of her old emotional problem?
Alice Jones, a friend of Mary. She states that Mary got depressed before her fiance was transferred to California. It proves that the depression is not newly created after Mary's fiance left. According to Alice Jones, Mary became alcoholic after she gave birth. For my experience, it is easier to get drunk, confusion, or side effect from any kinds of alcohol or drugs if someone is not used to it. Alcohol can disturb our mind and tortured our ability of decision making. Alice states that Mary "had lost touch with reality", it could be true under the influence of alcohol. However, her testimony still couldn't convince people to believe her because she is Mary's friend. In order to confirm the timing when Mary started to depress, we need to hear the information from more people like Mary's fiance, the boss of fiance, etc. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any words from those people. In addition, being Mary's friend, Alice should know something about the relationship between Mary and her fiance. Does she know that Mary's fiance love or hate the baby? After Mary left her baby to California, why her fiance didn't question about who was taking care of Alison? There are so many questions I want to know the answers about this invisible fiance.
Dr. Bloom, the other psychiatrist giving testimony in this case. He started interviewing Mary two months after she was arrested. He states that Mary "is mentally ill and not capable of standing trial." Both Dr. Parker and Dr. Bloom are professional, how come one states that Mary is competent and the other states not? It makes me questioning the criteria of professional. Comparing to their testimonies, however, I would like to hear or believe Dr. Bloom more. Dr. Bloom is really analyzing Mary's behavior. As a matter of fact, he has interviewed Mary more than Dr. Parker. It is undeniable that our brain activity is complicated. I would like to say no body is able to interpreted anybody else mind in this generation, however, I believe that the more you talk to the person the more you understand the person. Dr. Bloom states that "Ms. Barnett's problems began after the birth of Alison.
She became caught in the grip of the medical condition known as postpartum depression"; "Women feel a loss of purpose, a sense of hopelessness, and a deep depression." He explains how could Mary became irrational and lost her mind to leave her baby alone and gone to California. He states "She turned to alcohol to raise her spirits, but this just exacerbated her condition. Depressed, desperate, anxious, and alcoholic, she lapsed into a serious neurotic state and became obsessed with the idea of reaching her fiance in California." Dr. Bloom's testimony is obviously more powerful than Dr. Parker's testimony. In order to consolidate his point, I think Dr. Bloom might need to present a report from neurologist to prove that Mary is lapsed into a serious neurotic state.
The last testimony I have is from Mary Barnett. She seems forgetting what happened to her. She states "I have tried to put the pieces together through the entire investigation, and I just can't do it." It is a common testimony from the defendant. Is it credible? It really depends on how she looks like and how she responds in the entire process of trial.
To conclude what I have read, I still unable to judge Mary is guilty or not because the evidences are very limited. For this case, I have another respond though. I agree that Mary Barnett is definitely needed to take the responsibility to her daughter's death. If she is not brutal in nature, I believe she is already punished by her internal accusation and it is life long lasting punishment. It is even more horrible than putting somebody into the jail. Guilty is only a word to sentence somebody into the prison to get the punishment. But punishment itself can have many many forms, who can tell me that if somebody suffering in poverty, disease, or mental illness is not guilty just because they are not in jail? I hate to use "guilty" to judge people. It is too general!
All right, I think that I have to stop myself for now because I am thinking too deep! This is a never ending toping, seems I am exploring human mind, it is too board. I feel that I am guilty because I am now suffering by translating my mind from Chinese to English, and hopefully people could understand what I am trying to say!
Here is a website that provides some credible information about postpartum depression: