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Courtroom Proceedings

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Sexual harassment is defined as bullying, coercion, or intimidations that are naturally sexual (Saguy, 2003). This can also be seen as an unwelcome promise of advantages that are exchanged for sexual favors. In most circumstances or contexts, sexual harassment is considered illegal. For most business, it has become a common practice to prevent sexual harassment as well as to defend workers from sexual harassment accusations (Sample & Bray, 2003). The postpartum depression syndrome is a common and natural part of baby delivery. Postpartum depression syndrome can last for few days or weeks and is usually known as the baby blues (Solomon & Lawrence, 2008).

This condition brings on negative symptoms such as lack of appetite, feeling of lethargic, and hopelessness. If the symptoms persist for longer than one or two weeks, the affected woman may experience a severe postpartum depression syndrome, and they can even resort to killing their own kids. The killings are typically violent and horrifying in nature, evidently sparking some fear regarding the mother’s cognitive state at the time of the incident (Solomon & Lawrence, 2008). Incidents due sexual harassment and postpartum depression syndrome bring on in a society as well civil and criminal proceedings. The cases of Andrea Yates and John Smith will be considered to explain the impacts of postpartum depression syndrome and sexual harassment on court proceedings respectively.   

Andrea Yates was born in 1964 in Houston, Texas. She drowned her five kids in a bathtub to death when her husband Russell had left for work on 20th June, 2001 (Jude, 2008). Andrea Yates had been suffering from severe postpartum psychosis and depression for many years. She tried to commit suicide many times including trying to drown herself in a bathtub but for every instance, she was hospitalized to take care of the abnormal behavior (Jude, 2008). It was evident that every subsequent birth increased the tendency of expressing postpartum syndrome since Andrea Yates’s first psychiatrist advised the couple to discontinue bearing children so as to avoid future psychotic depression.

Even if the expert testimony of defense agreed that Andrea Yates was psychotic, according to Texas law, the insanity defense is asserted if the defendant proves that he or she could not distinguish right from wrong during the time when the crime was committed.  Yates was found guilty by a jury in 2002 and therefore the insanity defense was rejected. The prosecution had taken the option of death penalty on Yates, but the jury declined the option. Yates was sentenced to life imprisonment which was eligible for parole after forty years but she was later found not guilty because of insanity such that she was released on bail to be hospitalized in a facility for mental health treatment (Jude, 2008).  

Mr. John Smith was born in 1958 in San Francisco, California. The first time when Smith was convicted of sexual assault, he was aged 58. The offender sexually molested a 13 year old girl several times. According to assessment results, the sexual contacts were not done by force and the victim was not helpless or incapacitated. The offender was found not have any mental abnormality because he could not engage into sexual relationship with relatives and strangers. However, he was found to have a compulsive and persistent attraction to children because he often recruited vulnerable children and engaged in grooming for continued sexual abuse. Mr. Smith did not accept any kind of counseling or medication because he claimed not to have a mental disability. Therefore, he could not be sentenced under parole or probation but confined in jail so that to avoid his access to the young and attractive girls (Data Source: SOMB Sexual History Disclosure Packet). 

Andrea Yates was found by court not to be guilt of the murders she committed because of the mental disorder, and therefore could not be sentenced but hospitalized with an attempted to treat the disorder, whereas Mr. John Smith was found not to have any mental disorder but committed the offense due to compulsive and persistent attraction to female children. Unlike Andrea Yates, Mr. Smith could be jailed because he could not be put to any kind of treatment. The husband to Andrea Yates was responsible for the murders because he was not supposed to leave his wife alone to take care of children and yet he was advised by a psychiatrist against this. The 13 year old girl was responsible for the sexual harassment because Mr. Smith didn’t force her every time assault the happened. 

Most legal cases involving women as victims, for instance cases on sexual harassment, are dropped with offenders fined large sums of money. This does not give an absolute solution to most crimes because some offenders are rich and can afford paying the fines easily without pain. It will be better if both men and women are treated equally as far as legal cases are concerned. 

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