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Faith healers acquitted of manslaughter in the death of their two year old

124

Posts

  • lazegamerlazegamer Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Melkster wrote: »
    Does anyone know if there's somewhere in the Oregon law where a "Reasonable Person" is specifically defined?

    I looked, and the closest thing I found was an un-adopted bill from 1997 which sought to set a standard for a reasonable person. I would be surprised if a definition exists, as it seems to run counter to what I perceive as the purpose of the term, which is to create an ambiguous standard which can change with the populace and allow judges and juries to exercise a degree of empathy in their rulings. It's anathema to a rule geek like myself, but I understand that it provides a bit of cushion to keep the sharp edges of the law from cutting the undeserving and allows prosecutors to try cases with unforeseen conditions.

    Surprise.
    - Spy
  • MelksterMelkster Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    lazegamer wrote: »
    As I read it, the separation is between the perception of the risk and the reality of the risk. By all accounts, including the parents, the child was sick, and by not seeking out medical help they did not meet the requirements of providing necessary and adequate medical care. Criminal mistreatment seems cut and dry, you are guilty if you do not provide the care, whether you gauge the risk properly or not.

    However, they convinced the jury that a reasonable person may not perceive the severity of the risk as requiring medical care. If your dependent develops a complication that a reasonable person would not foresee, you are not guilty of manslaughter if you did not treat the initial condition and the dependent dies.

    Wait wait wait. But here's the thing: Didn't they have a multi-day-and-night prayer vigil for her? I mean, the parents clearly knew that there was a severe thing going on here. They basically did the equivalent of major surgery when it comes to faith. They knew the risk was extremely severe.

  • MelksterMelkster Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Just to expound upon my comment above:

    It would be helpful to know if...

    1) The parents knew their kid was in grave danger of death.
    2) They knew that medical care would likely be able to help.
    3) That they rejected the medical care because it is against their religious beliefs.

    I don't know if the parents testified - but was it demonstrated in the trial that any or all three of the above points were there?

  • taerictaeric Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2009
    You would actually have to know 4) That medical care was the only thing that could save the child.

  • AegisAegis Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Melkster wrote: »
    lazegamer wrote: »
    As I read it, the separation is between the perception of the risk and the reality of the risk. By all accounts, including the parents, the child was sick, and by not seeking out medical help they did not meet the requirements of providing necessary and adequate medical care. Criminal mistreatment seems cut and dry, you are guilty if you do not provide the care, whether you gauge the risk properly or not.

    However, they convinced the jury that a reasonable person may not perceive the severity of the risk as requiring medical care. If your dependent develops a complication that a reasonable person would not foresee, you are not guilty of manslaughter if you did not treat the initial condition and the dependent dies.

    Wait wait wait. But here's the thing: Didn't they have a multi-day-and-night prayer vigil for her? I mean, the parents clearly knew that there was a severe thing going on here. They basically did the equivalent of major surgery when it comes to faith. They knew the risk was extremely severe.

    Yes, exactly. Reasonable to their community would be using prayer, faith-healing, whatever to attempt to cure their sick kid. Reasonable to the rest of us would consider actually taking her to a real doctor.

    re your post below: I'm running off the assumption, based on what it states about the teachings of the church, that they believe in what they're doing. If it was demonstrated that they didn't believe their own teachings and still didn't take her to a doctor, then I'm pretty sure the jury would have crucified them since you no longer have any kind of religious/cultural defense.

  • MelksterMelkster Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Aegis wrote: »
    Melkster wrote: »
    lazegamer wrote: »
    As I read it, the separation is between the perception of the risk and the reality of the risk. By all accounts, including the parents, the child was sick, and by not seeking out medical help they did not meet the requirements of providing necessary and adequate medical care. Criminal mistreatment seems cut and dry, you are guilty if you do not provide the care, whether you gauge the risk properly or not.

    However, they convinced the jury that a reasonable person may not perceive the severity of the risk as requiring medical care. If your dependent develops a complication that a reasonable person would not foresee, you are not guilty of manslaughter if you did not treat the initial condition and the dependent dies.

    Wait wait wait. But here's the thing: Didn't they have a multi-day-and-night prayer vigil for her? I mean, the parents clearly knew that there was a severe thing going on here. They basically did the equivalent of major surgery when it comes to faith. They knew the risk was extremely severe.

    Yes, exactly. Reasonable to their community would be using prayer, faith-healing, whatever to attempt to cure their sick kid. Reasonable to the rest of us would consider actually taking her to a real doctor.

    re your post below: I'm running off the assumption, based on what it states about the teachings of the church, that they believe in what they're doing. If it was demonstrated that they didn't believe their own teachings and still didn't take her to a doctor, then I'm pretty sure the jury would have crucified them since you no longer have any kind of religious/cultural defense.

    Interesting. So the law is just ambiguous enough here that they slipped by, and it really all came down to the definition of a reasonable person.

    Criminal negligence is all about a failure of being aware. He was aware of the grave danger his child was in. He was aware that he and his wife needed to act to save their child. He was not aware, however, that his faith was not adequate to save his child, because it's basically a placebo treatment. He might as well have given his child sugar pills or snake oil.

    I wonder if giving your child placebos for a dangerous illness would be a defense against manslaughter if you really and truly believed that the pills were magic.

  • MelksterMelkster Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    taeric wrote: »
    You would actually have to know 4) That medical care was the only thing that could save the child.

    Yes. The PARENTS wouldn't need to know that, but that would have needed to be true.

  • lazegamerlazegamer Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Aegis wrote: »
    Melkster wrote: »
    lazegamer wrote: »
    As I read it, the separation is between the perception of the risk and the reality of the risk. By all accounts, including the parents, the child was sick, and by not seeking out medical help they did not meet the requirements of providing necessary and adequate medical care. Criminal mistreatment seems cut and dry, you are guilty if you do not provide the care, whether you gauge the risk properly or not.

    However, they convinced the jury that a reasonable person may not perceive the severity of the risk as requiring medical care. If your dependent develops a complication that a reasonable person would not foresee, you are not guilty of manslaughter if you did not treat the initial condition and the dependent dies.

    Wait wait wait. But here's the thing: Didn't they have a multi-day-and-night prayer vigil for her? I mean, the parents clearly knew that there was a severe thing going on here. They basically did the equivalent of major surgery when it comes to faith. They knew the risk was extremely severe.

    Yes, exactly. Reasonable to their community would be using prayer, faith-healing, whatever to attempt to cure their sick kid. Reasonable to the rest of us would consider actually taking her to a real doctor.

    re your post below: I'm running off the assumption, based on what it states about the teachings of the church, that they believe in what they're doing. If it was demonstrated that they didn't believe their own teachings and still didn't take her to a doctor, then I'm pretty sure the jury would have crucified them since you no longer have any kind of religious/cultural defense.

    I don't see the reasonableness standard as having to be applied from the point of view of the accused. I don't think it matters so much whether or not the parents thought it was reasonable, but whether or not the jury thought their actions were reasonable. With cases like this, jury selection seems to me to be even more significant than normal.

    edit: I think if you could prove that they were aware of the risk of death, you may be able to find guilt based on reckless endangerment, since that rests more on the defendant's perception lining up with actual risk than the juries'. Then again, maybe they hold vigils during the week leading up to the superbowl :), so you might want something a little stronger.

    Surprise.
    - Spy
  • MelksterMelkster Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Melkster wrote: »
    taeric wrote: »
    You would actually have to know 4) That medical care was the only thing that could save the child.

    Yes. The PARENTS wouldn't need to know that, but that would have needed to be true.



    You know after reading this it's possible that the above point might have been enough for reasonable doubt - that even if they did get medical treatment, the kid would have died anyway. Faith wouldn't really be an issue if neither God OR doctors had the power to save the kid.

    Edit: added quote.

  • MedopineMedopine __BANNED USERS
    edited July 2009
    the reasonable person standard is pretty much objective, aegis

    it's not "what would a reasonable faith healer do in that situation" it's "what would a reasonable person do in that situation"

  • MelksterMelkster Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Medopine wrote: »
    the reasonable person standard is pretty much objective, aegis

    it's not "what would a reasonable faith healer do in that situation" it's "what would a reasonable person do in that situation"

    That's true. Inc rant (directed not at you, but at at the universe.)

    Reasonable faith healer is a fucking contradiction. There is nothing reasonable about it, and that is proven by the dead child.

    They should have picked me for a juror. I would have pretended to be just a random, normal every citizen. But when it came time to come up with a decision, I would have stonewalled for as long as it took. Hung jury or conviction.

    Unless of course there was convincing evidence presented that changed my mind about some other aspect of the case. But a reasonable person would NEVER deny his child medical care if it would saved the kid's life. These people did. Religion was their reason, but still. It was unreasonable.

  • MedopineMedopine __BANNED USERS
    edited July 2009
    in oregon, you only need 10 of 12 jurors to agree in the verdict

    so one stonewaller ain't gonna hang it, you would have to bring two with you

  • MelksterMelkster Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Damn. Plan failed.

    I'm sure my amazing reasoning skills would have won over 2 people.

    For how long? Not sure. How long until a jury is considered hung?

  • MedopineMedopine __BANNED USERS
    edited July 2009
    Melkster wrote: »
    Damn. Plan failed.

    I'm sure my amazing reasoning skills would have won over 2 people.

    For how long? Not sure. How long until a jury is considered hung?

    they deliberate as long as they need to

  • MelksterMelkster Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Until the Judge says that future deliberations would be pointless, right?

    PS: Oh my, what a lovely picture in your signature.

  • MedopineMedopine __BANNED USERS
    edited July 2009
    no, until the jury reports that they have either reached a verdict or will not be able to reach one

  • MelksterMelkster Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Ah, right then.

  • LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    So, wait. Do these people not realize the gospel writer Luke was a physician?
    In 1995, legislators introduced legal immunity to Oregon's homicide statutes for parents who assert a religious defense in the death of a child. In 1997, they expanded legal immunity to include manslaughter.

    Wow. I'm trying to think of a case where this would be reasonable (religious-related homicide of a child) and failing.

  • MedopineMedopine __BANNED USERS
    edited August 2009
    LadyM wrote: »
    So, wait. Do these people not realize the gospel writer Luke was a physician?
    In 1995, legislators introduced legal immunity to Oregon's homicide statutes for parents who assert a religious defense in the death of a child. In 1997, they expanded legal immunity to include manslaughter.

    Wow. I'm trying to think of a case where this would be reasonable (religious-related homicide of a child) and failing.

    Just FYI, that law does not exist anymore in oregon - the legal defense of religion in a the death of a child, that is - which is why the prosecutors could bring this case

  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Medopine wrote: »
    MagicPrime wrote: »
    So is this a case of the Prosecution dropping the ball?

    I would say this was 100% the jury dropping the ball on actually following the standards of the law that y'know, they were required to follow

    Definitely, though I'm also curious as to what the jury instructions were.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    oldsak wrote: »
    Definitely, though I'm also curious as to what the jury instructions were.

    Closing arguments could have gotten wild.

    "And remember, good people of the jury, if you find this couple guilty, you must doubt the powers of Jesus, our LORD and savior."

    easybossfight_zps4752c132.gif
  • MedopineMedopine __BANNED USERS
    edited August 2009
    emnmnme wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    Definitely, though I'm also curious as to what the jury instructions were.

    Closing arguments could have gotten wild.

    "And remember, good people of the jury, if you find this couple guilty, you must doubt the powers of Jesus, our LORD and savior."

    no, you see, there are actual rules about that

    I am 100% sure that nowhere in the jury instructions were the jury told to consider whether the defendants intended to hurt their child

  • AegisAegis Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Relating to your clarification of the objective nature of 'reasonable' (which I'm going to assume you're meaning "what an average individual would deem reasonable taken from the entire population of the country"?):

    It seems that the jury instructions also didn't explicitly note to the jury that the standard was objective, at least from the reported confusion they mentioned.

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    It seems to me that the situation is much less that the jury instruction was inadequate than it is that the jury declined to follow it.

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
    stand up! It was the smallest on the list but
    pluto was a planet and I'll never forget
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    It seems to me that the situation is much less that the jury instruction was inadequate than it is that the jury declined to follow it.

    Why do you say that?

    easybossfight_zps4752c132.gif
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    From one of the articles I linked:
    In explaining their mixed verdict, the presiding juror emphasized that the Worthingtons did not intentionally cause Ava's death, even though intent was not a requirement for a guilty verdict on either charge.

    "Regardless of what the instructions were, a lot of people on the jury believed there was supposed to be intent," said Ken Byers, one of two jurors who believed Carl Worthington was guilty of manslaughter. "Some people couldn't clear that hump."

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
    stand up! It was the smallest on the list but
    pluto was a planet and I'll never forget
  • AtomikaAtomika Hypercritical Queen Bitch of Cinema Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    From one of the articles I linked:
    In explaining their mixed verdict, the presiding juror emphasized that the Worthingtons did not intentionally cause Ava's death, even though intent was not a requirement for a guilty verdict on either charge.

    "Regardless of what the instructions were, a lot of people on the jury believed there was supposed to be intent," said Ken Byers, one of two jurors who believed Carl Worthington was guilty of manslaughter. "Some people couldn't clear that hump."

    Ahh. The old "neglecting your child is okay if you're stupid" precedent. Nice play, defense.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    From one of the articles I linked:
    In explaining their mixed verdict, the presiding juror emphasized that the Worthingtons did not intentionally cause Ava's death, even though intent was not a requirement for a guilty verdict on either charge.

    "Regardless of what the instructions were, a lot of people on the jury believed there was supposed to be intent," said Ken Byers, one of two jurors who believed Carl Worthington was guilty of manslaughter. "Some people couldn't clear that hump."

    Ahh. The old "neglecting your child is okay if you're stupid" precedent. Nice play, defense.

    It sounds like a good way to murder troublesome children! If they're ever deathly ill, just pour some spaghetti on their heads and, after they expire, say you were trying to appeal to the Flying Spaghetti Monster for miraculous healing.

    easybossfight_zps4752c132.gif
  • GlyphGlyph Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Faith healers should get a free pass. It works in two ways. First, it helps to stymie their numbers since they're only killing off their own; second, the more it happens, the more negative publicity it brings to the faith healing community and organized religion in general.

    Arresting them does nothing. Certainly doesn't bring back the victims.

    MyBannerII7-1.jpg
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Glyph wrote: »
    Faith healers should get a free pass. It works in two ways. First, it helps to stymie their numbers since they're only killing off their own; second, the more it happens, the more negative publicity it brings to the faith healing community and organized religion in general.

    Arresting them does nothing. Certainly doesn't bring back the victims.

    For every life faith healing fails to save, Kenneth Copeland has a dozen cases of where faith healing worked and he airs them at the end of his show. Good sense can't win the publicity wars.

    easybossfight_zps4752c132.gif
  • KalTorakKalTorak Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Glyph wrote: »
    Extremist Muslims who honor-kill their daughters should get a free pass. It works in two ways. First, it helps to stymie their numbers since they're only killing off their own; second, the more it happens, the more negative publicity it brings to the extremist community and organized religion in general.

    Arresting them does nothing. Certainly doesn't bring back the victims.

  • EgoEgo Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I've been thinking about honour-killings and how one would have been judged by the same jury through this thread.

    Then I started looking up faith healer websites, and started thinking about how there's a relationship between the crazy shit you believe and the number of exclamation marks you use (seriously.) Then I remembered that I was writing this, came back to it, and added a paragraph.

    I don't, for the record, think we should tolerate idiocy in the name of religion. And sadly it's going to be one hell of a battle, figuring out where you draw that line. Do you draw it at peyote gathering native american groups who don't even grow the stuff? Do you draw it at actively attempting to end a life, or at actively allowing a life to cease on the assumption that god will save it If It Is His Will!!!! (sorry, trying for faith healer effect.)

    Erik
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Glyph wrote: »
    Faith healers should get a free pass. It works in two ways. First, it helps to stymie their numbers since they're only killing off their own; second, the more it happens, the more negative publicity it brings to the faith healing community and organized religion in general.

    Arresting them does nothing. Certainly doesn't bring back the victims.

    :rotate:

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
    stand up! It was the smallest on the list but
    pluto was a planet and I'll never forget
  • Hockey JohnstonHockey Johnston Registered User
    edited August 2009
    If childhood medical exams and doctor's visits are mandatory (from a legal standpoint), then we have to go a lot farther than medicaid to make it such that a visit costs people nothing. Put a clinic in every school.

    I approve of that, of course. But it'll never happen. And until it does, you can't litigate against parents who do dumb things re: their children's medical care.

  • NerdgasmicNerdgasmic __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2009
    Glyph wrote: »
    Extremist Muslims who honor-kill their daughters should get a free pass. It works in two ways. First, it helps to stymie their numbers since they're only killing off their own; second, the more it happens, the more negative publicity it brings to the extremist community and organized religion in general.

    Arresting them does nothing. Certainly doesn't bring back the victims.


    Considering that the mother of the dead girl is already pregnant, I wouldn't say this is necessarily true.

    @nealcm @faynor
    nerdgasmic.gif1420 6068 6113 - XBL Atomoclassic
  • BelketreBelketre Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Amazing.
    You can't let a dog stagger round your yard sick and dying, but you can allow it to happen to a child if you believe in jeebus. Well thought out.....

  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Belketre wrote: »
    Amazing.
    You can't let a dog stagger round your yard sick and dying, but you can allow it to happen to a child if you believe in jeebus. Well thought out.....

    ...what? You can't let an animal go malnourished if its in your care and you can't do the same for a child (which is why those stupid vegan parents got bitch slapped by the courts). If a dog is sick though but you feed it and give it water and it dies? Well, I'd have to ask you to cite something here.

    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
  • BelketreBelketre Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    So, you think it would be ok to let a dog die in pain from something completely preventable, because you couldn't be bothered taking it to a vet? You think if a humane society or the SPCA found a dog in your yard with broken legs and internal bleeding, they'd be fine with you leaving it there as long as it had food and water?

    Common sense needs no citations.

  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    If you earnestly believed that prayer was all that was needed to stop an infection/virus (I think broken limbs might be above this), then I doubt you'd be found guilty in at least one state.

    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
  • BelketreBelketre Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    My point is, that is fucking stupid. You should be found guilty.

    If in general, you are expected to care for a pet more than you are for a human child, your legal system is retarded beyond belief.

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