CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bartels & Easteal on Mothers Who Kill

Lorana Bartels and Patricia L. Easteal (University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice and University of Canberra - Faculty of law) have posted Mothers Who Kill: The Forensic Use and Judicial Reception of Evidence of Postnatal Depression and Other Psychiatric Disorders in Australian Filicide Cases ((2013) Melbourne University Law Review 37: 297-341) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article examines Australian legal responses to filicide in circumstances where mothers have killed their young children. We consider the potential legal defences that may be raised where postnatal depression (‘PND’) and other psychiatric disorders are present in cases of filicide: insanity/mental impairment, diminished responsibility/substantial impairment by abnormality of mind, and infanticide. We then examine 28 cases of filicide, including both cases where PND evidence was adduced, and cases where no PND evidence was adduced but other mental health issues were considered. We look at the forensic use of and judicial responses to PND and other evidence of mental illness: how do medical practitioners and judicial officers present impairment of the defendant’s mental capacity? We also speculate on differences in sentencing outcomes and consider the policy and research implications of our findings.

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