1) John Ryan’s mother was charged with manslaughter and not infanticide because she lacked the perquisite to be charged with it. In order for this case to have been possibly considered infanticide, John Ryan’s mother would have to have committed the murder during the first 12 months of his life. Since his mother does not fit any of the requirements, the judge could not have decided on this ruling.
2) The judge ruled in favour of manslaughter because the events leading to the death of John Ryan were the result of criminal negligence. The damage done to the boy was severe and over a progression of several months therefore a reasonable person under those circumstances would have known what they were doing was incorrect. The actus reus was the killing of their child through malnutrition, even if it was unintentional.
3) I do not believe the mother should be charged with murder, but the husband should. It was proven that the mother suffered from severe and prolonged depression after the birth of her son and was currently under treatment for them, but her husband was not. In a misguided attempt to bring his child and wife closer together he stood idly by while she slowly and painfully killed their son. He is as responsible as his wife for not taking action in preventing the death of his son when he lacked no mental determent.
Communicating Your Ideas
a) Yes, I do believe this is too severe of a punishment for the mother. She should go to a federal penitentiary because she did in fact murder her child, however should only be held until she has fully recovered from her post-partum depression. Once she has recovered, she will return to her previous state of mind and can become a functional member of society again. The real moral punishment for her will be having to live the rest of her life knowing that she murdered her baby.
b) Like I stated previously I would modify the ruling so that Diana can receive mental rehabilitation to return to her previous psychological well being. Once a certified psychiatrist deems that she can be released, she may appeal for parole, where she will have to visit the psychiatrist for up to one year for mental evaluations. The five year sentence isn’t serving any purpose but to potentially introduce her to the influence of criminals and altercate her perspective and behaviour.