ANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL: Mother Kills Baby: Pennsylvania

Paragraph 16 reads:  “The defendant’s defense lawyer,
Pietro Joseph D’Angelo, told the court that at the time of the baby’s death,
Brown should have been taking medication for depression and
anxiety.”

“Brown, who is currently back
on prescription medication,
testified she is better able to
cope.”

http://www.timesherald.com/articles/2009/11/21/news/doc4b0772fcf0acd165303912.txt

By KEITH PHUCAS
Times Herald Staff

COURTHOUSE
­ A Norristown woman who admitted causing fatal injuries to her 20-month-old
toddler last November, when she shook him and banged his head against a bed
headboard, was sentenced to prison Friday.

Jennifer Brown, 24, who
pleaded guilty in September to involuntary manslaughter and endangering the
welfare of a child, was sentenced by Montgomery County Judge William R.
Carpenter to 11 1/2 to 23 months behind bars and three years’
probation.

Brown has already been incarcerated for seven months and is
eligible for Montgomery County Correctional Facility’s Work Release
Program.

She severely injured her son, Lathario Brown-Jacobs, on Nov. 25
in his bedroom at the family’s East Jacoby Street home, and the child died in
the hospital three days later.

After paramedics attempted to treat the
child at the scene, he was taken to Montgomery Hospital. Physicians there
suspected the severe trauma was not accidentally inflicted, and the child was
transferred to Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, where he was put on life
support.

When the injured boy was initially hospitalized, the woman
claimed she was awakened by sounds coming from her son’s room at 3 a.m.,
according to court papers, and when she went to check on him, he was having
difficulty breathing.

The mother claimed she tried to wake him, but he
reportedly didn’t respond, and she got upset and began shaking him and hit his
head several times, according to authorities. Around 4 a.m., the mother called
911 to report her son was having breathing problems.

A Norristown day
care center that took care of Lathario Brown on a regular basis told
investigators that the boy frequently had a bloody nose or bloody lip when he
was dropped off in the morning, according to court papers.

When
Norristown Detective David Mazza and County Detective Rich Nilsen interviewed
Brown a second time, she admitted shaking the boy and hitting his head several
times on the headboard or the wall, and at some point the toddler “went
limp.”

According to court records, Dr. Chase Blanchard, a forensic
pathologist with the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office, performed an
autopsy. Dr. Lucy Rorke-Adams, an expert in neuropathology, examined the child’s
brain tissue, and concluded he died as a result of a severe brain
injury.

The defendant’s mother, Eleanor Brown, and the child’s father,
Terrence Jacobs, testified at the sentencing hearing.

“My daughter has
been through a lot of pain and suffering,” Eleanor Brown said. “This has made
her stronger.”

Jacobs, who is also the father of the 24-year-old woman’s
other children, described her as a “very passionate” person. He said the couple
had lived together in Augusta, Ga., but the couple split up and Brown returned
to Norristown.

“She was the thread that held our family together,” he
said.

The defendant’s defense lawyer, Pietro Joseph D’Angelo, told the
court that at the time of the baby’s death, Brown should have been taking
medication for depression and anxiety.

Brown, who is currently back on
prescription medication, testified she is better able to cope.

“It makes
me feel real calm,” she said.

Brown, who graduated from Norristown Area
High School in 2003, played on the school’s field hockey and lacrosse
teams.

Just prior to sentencing, Carpenter said the defendant had no
prior criminal record and was actively participating in counseling programs in
prison.

“I find she is genuinely remorseful, and has the support from her
family,” the judge said.

Since the child’s death nearly a year ago,
Brown’s brother and father have also died.

“She has suffered, and we all
have suffered,” Eleanor Brown said.

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Juvenile Murders & Push for Use of Antidepressants in that Age Group Coincide

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org): Note that the spiked increase in murders by juveniles came at the same time of the push for the use of antidepressants in juveniles. The push for use in juveniles came after a 1992 Oprah show where juveniles on these drugs were featured. The jump in use of SSRIs by juveniles from that time skyrocketed.

After murders committed by juveniles spiked in the early 1990s, states toughened laws, making the United States the harshest nation in world in the legal punishment of children, according to a recent study.

http://www.kansascity.com/105/v-print/story/1443770.html

Posted on Sun, Sep. 13, 2009

When children kill, punishment varies
By JOE LAMBE
The Kansas City Star
A Kansas City, Kan., girl charged with murder at age 13 faces adult court and many years in prison.

A boy who was 13 when he killed a man last year will stay in the juvenile system and could be released when he is 22½, a Wyandotte County judge ruled early this month.

Both cases illustrate how children who commit heinous crimes are testing the boundaries of the justice system.

After murders committed by juveniles spiked in the early 1990s, states toughened laws, making the United States the harshest nation in world in the legal punishment of children, according to a recent study. However, the number of children who killed declined in the late ’90s and has largely held steady this decade, leading some to question the practice of tougher sentencing.

“Some states are starting to recognize that kids can be treated as kids,” said Michele Deitch, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and lead author of a study, “From Time Out to Hard Time.”

In 22 states, children as young as 7 still can be tried as adults. There is no age limit in Missouri, but it is 10 in Kansas. As of June, juveniles could not be sentenced to life without parole in seven states, including Kansas. That makes the United States the only nation in the world where juveniles can be sentenced to life without parole, the study reported.

All children who offend at age 12 or younger should be put into juvenile care, the Texas study contends. And it found that when they are put in adult prisons, juvenile offenders are five times more likely to be sexually assaulted and 36 times more likely to commit suicide.

Laurence Steinberg, author of “Rethinking Juvenile Justice” and a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, believes that a 13-year-old is too young to be charged as an adult.

“You’re exposing kids to adult sanctions for something they did as a kid,” he said, “but no prosecutor is going to be able to run on the platform of ‘I gave somebody a break.’ ”

Weighing the facts

In the Wyandotte County cases, the similar situations are seemingly headed toward different outcomes.

Early this month, defense attorney Kiann McBratney successfully argued that Antwuan Taylor, the Kansas City, Kan., boy who killed last year at age 13, should not be tried as an adult and instead should stay in the juvenile system.

But McBratney, other prosecutors and some defense attorneys do support adult sentences for some children, saying society needs protection from them.

“There are kids out there who function like adults and can kill people in cold blood,” she said.

Robbin Wasson, the prosecutor in the Taylor case, said, “We don’t want to be prosecuting 13-year-olds willy-nilly as adults,” noting that decisions on juvenile offenders are made on a case-by-case basis.

The other juvenile charged in Wyandotte County last year with killing at age 13 was Keaira Brown, who this year became the youngest person ever sent to adult court there.

She allegedly shot 16-year-old Scott Sappington to death after an apparent botched carjacking attempt.

The victim’s grandmother, Joyce Sappington, said she had mixed emotions about the ruling, but children killing children “has got to stop. If nobody sends a message, it will never stop.”

Nationwide from 1985 to 2004, the study reports, judges transferred 961 children age 13 or younger to adult courts. That does not count children from states that have automatic transfer laws for crimes such as murder or states that allow prosecutors to directly file cases in adult court.

“You can have a teen who kills and goes automatically into the adult system and life without parole,” Deitch said. “That’s incomprehensible to me.”

Science and sentencing

Researchers have discovered that the section of the brain related to impulse control does not fully develop until the mid-20s, but that finding doesn’t necessarily help in the legal debate.

Some say it means children grow and change — what they are is not what they will become. Others say it means they are out of control and deadly.

The Supreme Court mentioned those brain studies in a 2005 Missouri case when it ruled that those younger than 18 when they killed could not be executed. That ruling took 72 people off death rows.

The ruling said children change, are less mature than adults, are more influenced by peers and are less to blame.

“Even a heinous crime committed by a juvenile,” the court said, “is not evidence of irretrievably depraved character.”

In the Taylor case in Wyandotte County, the boy was influenced by a 21-year-old woman who gave him a gun and suggested he kill someone. She drove him and picked out a victim, and Taylor shot Charles McElroy six times.

Barry Feld, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, said of the Taylor case and the woman’s influence: “It is the absolute paradigm of what the Supreme Court was talking about.”

Thirteen is too young for adult prosecution, he said, but for older children, he has raised questions about whether juvenile court is appropriate.

A “youth discount” is a sentencing method that Feld advocates. “A 14-year-old gets 25 percent of the going rate for the same crime by an adult, a 16-year-old gets about 50 percent,” he said.

Deitch praised another approach sometimes used by Kansas, Missouri and 25 other states. The laws generally allow a judge to combine a juvenile sentence with a further adult sentence if the offender fails in the juvenile system.

Wyandotte County District Judge Wes Griffin imposed the Kansas version of that approach in the Taylor case. Kansas officials say it has been rarely used — only in seven cases of 348 juveniles sent to the state juvenile system last year.

Missouri also rarely uses its version but has had good success, officials said. From 1999 to 2006, they said, 36 people were released after serving their juvenile time. Only six committed other crimes.

Atharene McElroy, mother of the victim in the Taylor case, is satisfied that her son’s killer is staying in juvenile court.

“He’s just a young, troubled boy,” she said, but he is dangerous and needs to be off the streets while he matures.

To reach Joe Lambe, call 816-234-7714 or send e-mail to jlambe@kcstar.com.

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PAXIL: Road Rage Death: Woman Drives on Wrong Side of Freeway: No Alcoh…

Note from Ann Blake-Tracy: Why are police still looking for the reason why she
was driving the wrong way on the freeway when they already know she was on
Paxil? A large number of these cases of driving the wrong way on the freeway
involve these antidepressants.
__________________________________________________________

Paragraph one reads: "A Monroeville woman who died in a crash while
driving the wrong way on the Pennsylvania Turnpike was awaiting trial on two
cases involving drugged driving, according to court records."

Paragraphs eight and nine read: "Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey Manning
had issued an arrest warrant for Baker because she failed to appear July 15
for a hearing on drugged driving charges filed in April by Monroeville
police. Baker was found at 1:39 a.m. April 26 in a sport utility vehicle that
was hanging over the edge of a hillside, according to a police affidavit."

"Baker was incoherent and unable to pass three field sobriety tests but
there was no noticeable odor of alcohol on her breath, the affidavit says.
She told the officer she was on Paxil, an antidepressant."

_http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_634872.htm
l_
(http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_634872.html)

By _Brian Bowling
_ (mailto:bbowling@tribweb.com)
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Monroeville woman who died in a crash while driving the wrong way on the
Pennsylvania Turnpike was awaiting trial on two cases involving drugged
driving, according to court records.

Andrea Baker, 36, died Tuesday night after striking two east-bound
tractor-trailers near Monroeville as she drove her sport utility vehicle
west-bound, state police said.

Her son, Aiden Baker, 2, who was strapped into a child seat in the SUV,
escaped with a bruised left cheek, police said.

The Allegheny Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Baker’s death accidental and
concluded she died from blunt force trauma to the abdomen and legs.
Toxicology results will be available in three to four months, a medical examiner
said.

The truck drivers were not injured.

State police are still investigating why Baker was traveling in the wrong
direction. A toll ticket found in her vehicle shows that she may have
entered the turnpike at the Allegheny Valley interchange.

Court records show Baker was cited twice in the last year for driving in
the wrong lane. Other citations from police in Pittsburgh, Springdale, East
Deer, West Deer, Tarentum, North Versailles and Edgewood include careless
driving, reckless driving, running a stop sign and ignoring a traffic
control device.

Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey Manning had issued an arrest warrant for
Baker because she failed to appear July 15 for a hearing on drugged driving
charges filed in April by Monroeville police. Baker was found at 1:39 a.m.
April 26 in a sport utility vehicle that was hanging over the edge of a
hillside, according to a police affidavit.

Baker was incoherent and unable to pass three field sobriety tests but
there was no noticeable odor of alcohol on her breath, the affidavit says. She
told the officer she was on Paxil, an antidepressant.

Monroeville police charged Baker with drugged driving again on May 6 after
another motorist called because her sport utility vehicle was weaving.
Baker slurred her words and her eyes had a dazed look, but there was no odor
of alcohol, the police affidavit says. She failed three field sobriety tests.

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