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Dr. Bloom:Although I have not been involved in judicial hearings of this type, Mary Barnett has been my patient, twice a week forthe last four months, beginning two months after she returnedfrom California and was arrested. In my professional opinion, she is mentally ill and not capable of standing trial. Further, she was clearly not aware of what she was doing when she left Alison unattended and should not be held responsible for her action. Ms. Barnett’s problems began after the birth of Alison. She became caught in the grip of the medical condition known as postpartum depression, a syndrome that affects many women after the birth of their children, some more severely than others. Women feel a loss of purpose, a sense of hopelessness, and a deep depression.
The extreme pressures of caring for an infant create additional anxiety. When Ms. Barnett’s fiance left for California, she felt completely overwhelmed by her circumstances. 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 stateand became obsessed with the idea of reaching her fiance in California. This single hope was the only thing she could focus on, and when she acted on it she was completely unaware that she was putting her daughter in danger. Since the trial has begun, she has suffered two anxiety attacks, the more serious resulting in a near catatonic state necessitating her hospitalization for several days. This woman is emotionally disturbed. She needs professional help, not punishment.Mary Barnett:I don’t remember leaving Alison alone. I would never do that if I realized what I was doing. I don’t remember saying any of those things that they said I said, about knowing I wasleaving her. I have tried to put the pieces together through the entire investigation, and I just can’t do it. I was anxious and I was real frightened. I didn’t feel like I was in control and it felt like was getting worse. The world was closing in on me, and I had nowhere to turn. I knew I had to get to Tim,in California, and that he would be able to fix everything. Hewas always the one I went to, because I trusted him. I must
have assumed that someone was taking care of Alison, my sweet baby. When I was in California, I knew something wasn’t right. I just didn’t know what it was.Evaluate the credibility of the defense witnesses by identifying those factors that led you to believe their testimony and those factors that raised questions in your mind about the accuracy of the information being presented.What Are the Arguments?After the various witnesses present their testimony through examination and cross-examination questioning, the prosecution and defense then present their final arguments and summation. The purpose of this phase of the trial is to tie together–or raise doubts about–the evidence that has been presented in order to persuade the jury that the defendant is