Friday, May 15, 2009

Postpartum Depression Hope for Moms

Recently, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn commuted the life sentence of Debra Gindorf who had been convicted in Lake County of killing her two young children in 1995. Mental health professionals had claimed that Gindorf was suffering from postpartum depression when she committed the murders. The legal community has a much better understanding of the causes and effect of postpartum depression in recent years. While the actual cause of postpartum depression is unknown, many experts believe that hormonal changes can occur in women after they give birth which can influence their mood and behavior. In serious cases of postpartum depression, the condition can cause postpartum psychosis which can cause women to hallucinate, lose their grip on reality and have homicidal thoughts. The 2001 case of Texas mother Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children in a tub, brought this condition to the forefront. Four years after the murder, Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity. The condition has become an accepted legal defense. Michael Waller, the current Lake County State's Attorney, supported the clemency petition of Debra Gindorf.

The commutation of Debra Gindorf's life sentence has given hope to advocates of women imprisoned for murders convicted while claiming to be suffering from postpartum depression. Prosecutors and victim's family members are not unanimous in their support of this commutation. Many prosecutors believe that this is an exaggerated defense. Supporters of imprisoned women see this commutation as reason for hope.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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