Friday, January 07, 2005

A Little Compassion, Please

By now everyone knows that the convictions of Andrea Yates for the drowning of her children have been thrown out because the prosecution's psychiatric witness, Park Dietz, said falsely that just before the drownings the television program "Law and Order" featured an episode in which a woman drowned her children and was acquitted by reason of insanity. The import of the testimony, presumably, was that Yates got the idea from the program, which she used to watch. It turned out that "Law and Order," which employed Dietz as a consultant, never had such an episode.

Dietz of course is now the object of scorn. But why isn't the mental-health establishment rushing to his defense? Obviously, he was having delusions about that nonexistent television show. Someone would have to be sick to make up a story on the witness stand while under oath. Where's the compassion for those with mental disorders?


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