Eye on the Courts: A Look at the Samantha Green Verdict

Samantha Green
Samantha Green

The Samantha Green case has been one of the more followed trials in recent years.  On Friday, after over a day of deliberations, the Yolo County jury found Ms. Green guilty of second degree murder.

Some people have expressed surprised that the jury found her guilty of second degree murder rather than a lesser homicide charge.  The problem that we have is that, in this case, you have an innocent baby as the victim and, at best, the mother showed indifference to the sanctity of human life.  Most juries are not going to give someone the benefit of the doubt in such instances.

This view is backed up with a quote from one of the jurors in the press: “Her child was dead at the end of the day.  Once we read the law, we thought it was murder.”

The question of whether they are right or not might be more subjective than we would like.

The DA’s case, once they articulated it, makes some sense.  Under a theory of implied malice, Samantha Green had a duty to care for Baby Justice.  Frank Rees, the father and Green’s fiancé, was engaging in infidelity.  Now Ms. Green has this tiny baby, and Mr. Rees is asking her to engage in three-way sex and, under the DA’s theory, she attempts to win him back, and tells some convoluted stories.

In the end, she took the baby out to the slough with only a tiny layer of clothing.  She stayed out there in cold temperatures.  She should not have gone out there.  She should not have kept him out there and she should not have left him out there.  The baby died because of those actions.

Under the law, the defendant acted with implied malice if she intentionally committed an act.  In this case, it was the sequence of events of going out to the slough, staying out there, and leaving the baby out there.

A reasonable person would regard that the natural and probably consequences of the act were dangerous to human life.  And at the time she knew that the act was dangerous to human life and she deliberately acted with conscious disregard for human life.

The jury instructions note, “Malice aforethought does not require hatred or ill will toward the victim. It is a mental state that must be formed before the act that causes death is committed. It does not require deliberation or the passage of any particular period of time.”

In the end, this ends up being a bit more of a judgment call than I think we would like.  The thin reeds here are whether she was cognizant enough in her actions to really understand the implications and the natural and probable consequences of them, and whether her actions were deliberate in their disregard for human life.

Deputy DA Rob Gorman told the media, “We knew all along she committed 2nd degree murder… (Her) meth use showed she was aware of the risk of meth.”

I find that a curious quote, because, as some might recall, the DA’s office did not initially charge her with murder.  In fact, a number of people heavily criticized them at the time for not charging murder.

The defense had wanted to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment back in March 2015 and, when the DA’s office filed a motion to amend the complaint and change the main charge from involuntary manslaughter to murder, the public defender’s office moved for vindictive prosecution.

Judge David Rosenberg denied the defense the motion back in March 2015, but it took the DA’s office another nine months before articulating, at least publicly, a theory of second degree murder and implied malice in the tragic death of Justice Rees.

While I do believe that the DA has used second degree murder in cases where negligent homicide was probably a more apt charge, in this case, I think it is a much closer call.

I am much more troubled by the slow response of Child Welfare Services (CWS, long known as Child Protective Services, or CPS) to remove the baby under the circumstances.  Yolo County Social Worker Valerie Zeller testified about her decision to return the baby back into the home of his parents, even though he was born testing positive for methamphetamine in his system.

While Ms. Zeller placed a protective hold on the baby, she allowed it to remain with the parents.

CPS was worried about the baby not being in the home very often, about the housing situation, and about Frank Rees’ unwillingness to use CalWorks and food stamps.  Ms. Zeller testified that, when talking about drug use, Ms. Green seemed to understand the consequences of daily methamphetamine use and the dangers it presents to a child.

However, following the February 9 meeting, Ms. Zeller did not meet with the family again until the day that Ms. Green went missing.

Valerie Zeller testified that, while Samantha Green said the drug use was a one-time thing, “we knew from the  test results and history that probably wasn’t the case.”  What seems even more concerning here is that this was not simply a judgment mistake by the social worker, but rather a function of policy for the department.

She testified that heavy drug use was not a sufficient reason for removing the baby from the home.  She explained, “Drug use is not enough (of a) just reason to remove a child. I usually use the example of how many functional alcoholics we have … we have to look at a lot of different factors.”

This is troubling, and hopefully the county will look further into this matter.

In the meantime, Samantha Green will be sentenced on November 1 to at least 15 years to life, the mandatory sentence for second degree murder.  Ms. Green is 25 and would eligible for parole in roughly 13 years.  In a way, this might be the best thing for her – should she make good progress and stay clean, she might be able to be released from prison around that time.

This was not a violent, malicious act.  It was a drug-induced series of extremely bad choices – but time might be on her side here.

Deputy DA Ryan Couzens was quoted saying that this case was “testament that meth is not a victimless crime.  It devastates families, destroys lives.”

While certainly meth is a horrible drug, I think it’s only accurate to point out that most people on meth do not murder their children – therefore, I think something else was going on here.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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62 Comments

  1. Tia Will

    David

    In a way, this might be the best thing for her”

    Are you joking ?  While confinement in a therapeutic setting and the inability to procreate during this time might be the best thing for her, imprisonment is definitely not the “best thing for her”. Because of  Robert’s position, you know that I am in a position to know in graphic detail the conditions of our prisons. Anyone suggesting that the best thing that can happen to a drug addict is incarceration is turning a blind eye to reality of the conditions in our prisons.

    1. Biddlin

      Confinement increases her chances of seeing her 38th birthday exponentially. The number of young women presenting DOA from meth overdose, related health issues and related violence is staggering, as I would hope you are aware. Meanwhile, the resources she needs are more available in prison than in her native environment.

      1. Tia Will

        Biddin

        Confinement increases her chances of seeing her 38th birthday exponentially”

        Not necessarily. For two reasons. First, drugs are readily available in the prison environment. But there is a second risk for Samantha. Inmates notoriously do not like, and I mean, really do not like baby murderers. While it is true that deaths from inmate on inmate violence are much more rare in our women’s prisons than those housing men, Samantha will be a prime target for violent retribution by the inmates ( and possibly the guards) if her reason for imprisonment becomes general knowledge as is very likely in a high profile case such as this one.

        You also are posing this as an either or. You are only comparing her odds in prison vs her odds in her current environment. I would suggest that there is a better way and that way would be confinement in a treatment facility.

        1. Biddlin

          ” I would suggest that there is a better way and that way would be confinement in a treatment facility.”

          But you can’t compell her to go into a treatment center, even if the space were available.

          We can all dream, doc, but deal with the realities here, for a change.

  2. dlemongello

    Yes, Tia, I agree.

    Also, as I wrote last week before the verdict, I do not believe she realized the level of risk and therefore did not knowingly/consciously engage in behavior that was life threatening.  I believe that is the key descrepancy here that the jury felt ( we are talking about emotion) that if “you have an innocent baby as the victim and, at best, the mother showed indifference to the sanctity of human life.  Most juries are not going to give someone the benefit of the doubt in such instances.”  

    The juror said “Her child was dead at the end of the day.  Once we read the law, we thought it was murder.”   Well involuntary manslaughter has the child dead at the end of the day also. The subjectivity here comes with the judgement of whether it was conscious disregard for human life.

    1. Delia .

      Yolo county juries.

      Was that where Ajay Dev got convicted? I wonder what the same jury would do if it was a wealthy 25 year old woman involved in a fatal DUI. Would she also sit in prison for 13 years? Doubt it. They are punishing her for her meth use.

      I agree with Tia.

        1. Tia Will

          quielo and David

          I am not an expert on substance abuse, but in my clinical experience of 30 years, I have never yet seen a meth addict whose thought processes could have been considered rational or well organized. The meth addict’s brain is working in a fundamentally different way that of the person not addicted to meth. They typically do not process cause and effect the way that most of us understand it. They are frequently obsessed with bizarre ideas and the goal of their next injection to the neglect of virtually every thing else. I have seen women ignore infections that they admitted were terribly painful because of the time and money needed to come in for treatment to the point of need for hospitalization. I have seen women neglect their families, work, and virtually every other aspect of their lives because of the illness that is meth addiction. Once addicted, it is no longer a matter of choice for them. It becomes the primary driver of all that they do.

          Every thing that I read about this case led me to believe that there was clearly diminished capacity. I believe that the presence of a dead baby blinded the jurors to the presence of a very ill woman.

        2. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > I have seen women neglect their families, work, and virtually every other

          > aspect of their lives because of the illness that is meth addiction. 

          Tia and I are in agreement that Meth is bad stuff.  I’m wondering if she would be arguing for a less punishment if Samantha Green killed another person’s kid (or if a drunk white guy with alcohol addiction took Samantha’s kid in to the water)…

          P.S. I personally feel the punishment for doing something stupid and killing one of your own kids should be less than for killing someone else’s kid…

      1. Tia Will

        You don’t think she needed to go to prison for this? I don’t disagree on the problems of prisons.”

        No, I do not. I do not believe that our prisons as currently constituted are the appropriate place for anyone who is not a deliberate breaker of our laws by choice. I do not believe that “punishment”is appropriate in this setting.

        This does not mean that I do not believe that there should not be consequences. There certainly should be. And I would suggest that they consist of the following.

        1. A mandatory inpatient experience in which she is treated for her addiction and for any mental illnesses that were  contributory factors to her meth addiction and/or are a consequence of her meth addiction.

        2.Mandatory use of long term reversible contraceptive device until such time as she has completed a successful long term drug rehabilitation program, completed a training program in some kinds of skills or job program so that she can be self supporting, managed to hold down a job for a specified amount of time, completed a training program specifically designed for those who are victims of domestic abuse whether that is physical or psychological.

        3. A gradual re entry into society program designed to monitor her progress, with re hospitalization or group home placement depending on whether or not the failure to progress was drug related or not.

        I anticipate that the above learning for re entry process would take years from where it appears that Ms. Green is starting

        4. Some form of ongoing, possibly permanent community service. This woman is the poster child for why one does not want to become involved with drugs, so speaking to young people is one possibility.

        So some of you clearly believe that prison is the right place for this woman. I would ask you the following questions.

        1. Would you feel the same if she had had a psychotic break not associated with drugs such as the patient that I have described previously who had a post partum psychosis during which her thinking was just as disorganized as that of Ms. Green. What would have been appropriate for her if her baby had died ?

        2. What if the psychotic break had been in association with a treatable brain tumor ? Is prison still the appropriate consequence ?

        3. What is the purpose of imprisonment ? Is it revenge ? Is it “justice” and if so, for whom ? The dead infant is unable to care, he will never see justice done. The father, as demonstrated by his actions did not care. The grandparents did not care enough to intervene. Is it punishment ? Once she is clear of the effects of meth, I am sure that the awareness that her actions were the direct cause of her son’s death will provide enough “punishment” for a lifetime. Is it prevention ? For her, there are ways that she could agree to that would prevent a recurrent event. Prison is not necessary for that. Is it to prevent this from happening to others ?  If so, do you honestly believe that someone who is addicted to meth is spending their time following court cases and their outcomes. The many, many women that I have seen that are meth addicts can barely sit still through a 15 minute appointment, probably retain about 5 % of what I say. I sincerely doubt that their future behaviors will be significantly affected by the fate of Ms. Green.

        So please explain to me exactly who you think is helped by this woman being put into our routine prisons system, which by the way is probably an excellent place to score one’s drug of choice.

         

        1. Frankly

          You make some very interesting points here.

          But as is the case in many of your arguments, you opine for “solutions” that are so far from actually materializing that they can only be looked at as fanciful.   However, I do agree with some of them as being preferred.

          I don’t agree that she should not do prison time.  It will cut her off from the drugs cold turkey and shock her into re-framing her perspective about life in general (if thinks life was unfair and difficult before, well looky here).  She no doubt be in with other women in her situation and there is opportunities for growth epiphanies to occur in interaction with them.

          But maybe the time served should be less and she should transition to some of these things you suggest.  But again, they are not services that exist and there is no money to fund them because the politicians have already spent us into deficit buying votes.

          And even though drugs to make it into prisons, it is much, much, much less available.

  3. Tia Will

    Are you joking : part 2

    You write an article in which two people only are named as specifically contributing to the circumstances surrounding the death of baby Justice. His mother, and the social service worker.

    Where, I am wondering is your analysis of the responsibility of the father?  You know, the guy that has the mother watching all of his other children as well as baby Justice while he engages in multiple affairs ? The guy that is pressuring her to have three somes less than three weeks post Cesarean delivery ? The same guy that not only provided but also administered the meth ?  The same guy who states in his own words that at the time of his departure, leaving his baby behind, he knew that she was acting erratically and thought she might be suffering from post partum depression ? Where is the analysis of the complicity and responsibility of that guy ?

    So ironic, in California we are very careful to honor and uphold the parental rights of both father and mother, but in this case seem willing to turn a blind eye to the responsibility of the father. All rights, no responsibility. Sounds about right to me !!!!!

    Ok, relax, I have to go to work now and will doubtless have notched down the adrenaline by this afternoon.

     

    1. Charlene

      I so agree with you, Tia.

      If a dealer can be held liable in overdose deaths, why isn’t the boyfriend, who supplied her with the meth not responsible for the baby’s death?

      I can not even imagine the exhaustion, both physically and emotionally, this young mother must have felt arriving home with a newborn into such an unsupportive environment.

      I don’t think the full answer (in retrospect) was to remove the child from the mother. The better option would be that we had foster homes for young mothers. In a supportive environment, where Samantha was not exposed to drugs, not under pressure to drive someone else’s kids to school, not under pressure to have sex after giving birth, I’m sure this would not have happened.

      I’m stunned this mother is going to prison for homicide, while the boyfriend walks away.

      1. David Greenwald

        We’ll have to see what happens with the father now. He faces criminal charges himself and remember murder has no statute of limitations, so they can add charges based on the trial. I’m not sure that you can legally get him for murder here. The difference between his actions and hers is she had the child and left him outside to die of exposure.

        1. Tia Will

          David

          The difference between his actions and hers is she had the child and left him outside to die of exposure.”

          And his action was to leave his baby with a person that he, in his own words, knew to be mentally incapacitated. Since he was complicit in her mental incapacitation, I honestly fail to see the difference.

          Please explain to me how this is any different from the individual who induces someone else to commit murder and then claims, but I didn’t pull the trigger.

          Unless of course you do not believe that a father is equally responsible for the well being of a child as is a mother, which would seem to be the position of some posters here.

        2. Eric Gelber

          Tia:

          Please explain to me how this is any different from the individual who induces someone else to commit murder and then claims, but I didn’t pull the trigger.

          Not sure what you mean by “induce.” One might “coerce” someone to commit murder (e.g., by credibly threatening the life of the individual or a family member), or pay someone to commit murder, in which cases there could be criminal liability. Neither of those occurred here. Nor did the father even induce in the sense of persuade Ms. Green to commit murder. He may have been complicit in her drug use–and there may be criminal liability there–but, to find him criminally liable for the baby’s death due process would require there to be more in the way of causation. The father may be irresponsible and morally reprehensible; but, I’m not sure he could be said to be the cause of the child’s death by exposure for purposes of finding him guilty of homicide.

      2. quielo

        Not sure of your point. She had the baby. If she had given the baby to another tweaker, such as the father, would that have met your idea of responsible parenting? She could have surrendered the baby at a hospital or police station or even to a random stranger…

        1. Tia Will

          quielo

          Yes, she had the baby. No she obviously did not have the capacity to just surrender it to a safe haven. She was mentally impaired. Again, would you feel the same if her impairment had been the effect of a brain tumor, or a psychotic break associated with any physical illness not associated with drug use ?

        2. quielo

          Tia,

          If she was in a car accident and stumbled out in the swamp due to head trauma I would in fact feel differently.

           

          I think part of the difficulty is that if she had some longstanding diagnosis that would render her judgement impaired then there would be an opportunity to have a guardian. With drug addiction it is much more difficult.

          If she and her boyfriend had gone drinking and she was driving home when they crashed and the baby died she would be responsible even though both her and the BF were drunk. That does not make her a worse person than the BF however I personally know several couples where the man took the rap in this situation as he was driving and people did not advocate for putting the woman in jail.

    2. hpierce

      So ironic, in California we are very careful to honor and uphold the parental rights of both father and mother, but in this case seem willing to turn a blind eye to the responsibility of the father. All rights, no responsibility. 

      Before I tear into that factually (and with opinion), will credit you with ‘adrenaline’, and wait until this afternoon, in case you want to modify/retract what you wrote there…

      1. Biddlin

        Please do not be gentle. A friend has been dealing with an ex who is well known to the DA’s office for a number of meth head offenses like petty theft, trying to counterfeit doctors prescriptions and welfare fraud, yet she retains primary custody of their son, now 6 years old. So far, the only way they honor his parental rights is to allow the mother to spend the child support on drugs and beer, while he takes care of the child’s needs, instead of going to to the park or the movies on his visitation days. Last visit he had to take the boy to a clinic and pay out of pocket for vaccinations, since the mother failed to take him for his regular pediatrician’s visit. He lives in fear that the mother will “forget” about the child at a mall or fail to notice if he doesn’t come home from school. CPS will not help. “We don’t take sides.” Not even the kids’!

        I think Ms. Green was given a gift with the sentence.

        1. Tia Will

          Biddlin

          “We don’t take sides.” Not even the kids’!”

          And this is a fundamental problem with our family judicial system. Parental rights are frequently placed above the well being of the child.

    1. hpierce

      Let’s define some terms Delia (and Tia) [was going to give Tia a pass, but you’ve convinced me that it pointless]…

      What is a “father”?

      What are “parental rights”?

      How do the terms “father” and “parental rights” apply to ‘a woman’s right to choose’?

      “no responsibilities”… does that exclude “child support” payments?

      Once I understand your and Tia’s definitions… may have more to say…

  4. Eric Gelber

    While certainly meth is a horrible drug, I think it’s only accurate to point out that most people on meth do not murder their children – therefore, I think something else was going on here.

    No doubt there was much else going on and meth use cannot be considered the sole factor that ultimately led to this child’s death. But, the question is, would the child likely have died that day but for the mother’s being under the influence of meth?

  5. Tia Will

    hpierce

    OK, I’m in.

    1. What is a father ?

    A couple of different definitions with ( in my opinion) completely different rights and responsibilities.

    1. Physiologic sperm donor.

    2. Person who serves the familial role of support, guidance, provision of physical, emotional and psychological support but who did not physically carry or give birth to the child. May or may not have the genetic compliment that we ascribe to a male of our species.

    Number one may or may not also be the same individual as number two. An agreement may have been struck between the physiologic donor and the mother in which he is not to be held accountable for the functions of number two. Or he may be in some way incapacitated from his role and either unwilling or unable to provide those functions. If the latter pertains that some form of agreement should be made about what amount of participation ( both rights and responsibilities) he will have in the raising of the child, with the child’s best interest always superseding the parental rights.

    What are parental rights ?

    Those rights which pertain to either biological or adoptive parents under our laws.

    How do the terms “father” and “parental rights” apply to ‘a woman’s right to choose’?”

    You and I have had this discussion before, but I do not mind repeating. When a father has as much physical risk from carrying a pregnancy as does a woman, then and only then will I believe that he should have equal say in the choice to continue or abort a pregnancy within the framework provided by the law. Now that does not mean that his opinion should not be considered. But it is always the woman’s life that is at stake and medically speaking first trimester abortion is far, far safer for a woman than is carrying a pregnancy to term.

    If you are having difficulty with that concept, let’s consider whether a wife should have equal say about whether or not her spouse can have a potentially live saving operation ( let’s say a cardiac bypass for example)?  I believe that most of us would say that it is ultimately the man’s decision. But there are many who believe that a man should have equal say about an abortion even though only the woman’s life and health are at risk.

    “no responsibilities”… does that exclude “child support” payments?”

    I would view this in the following way. If the biologic father were to state within the appropriate time frame that would allow the mother to have an abortion,  that he did not want the pregnancy, and was willing to pay for an abortion, and that he did not want anything to do with the child, and was permanently relinquishing any rights at all, and vowed to never have a change of heart and show up and expect some degree of interaction, then and only then would I be willing to absolve him of financial responsibility if the mother chose to continue the pregnancy.

    1. hpierce

      Ok… will not address your specific points… but, as you read your own words, do you still assert,

      So ironic, in California we are very careful to honor and uphold the parental rights of both father and mother, …

      You don’t have to answer… you are not responsible for Delia’s affirmation of you,
      “I like it, Tia. “All rights, no responsibility.”

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        So ironic, in California we are very careful to honor and uphold the parental rights of both father and mother, …

        You don’t have to answer”

        Oh, I am most certainly going to answer. Because you conveniently left out the second part of my comment, you know, the part about assigning responsibility only to the mother.

        I have no problem with equal parental rights as long as there are equal parental responsibility. If the parents are not held to exactly the same standard of responsibility, then they should not have equal rights. Right and responsibility should always be equally distributed,

        1. hpierce

          No, not “conveniently”… I have no problem with prosecuting the father in this case… it was your ‘global’ comment (affirmed by Delia) that got me to comment… yet, in your responses, you have alternately said the father (sperm donor etc.) has all rights (hence ‘responsibilities’) but shouldn’t in some narrowly defined conditions as to child support.  And has no say in ‘the woman’s ‘right to choose’.

          I do not intend to attack you Tia, but your logic/arguments are all over the place.  And yes, I do understand nuances.

  6. Tia Will

    South of Davis

     I’m wondering if she would be arguing for a less punishment if Samantha Green killed another person’s kid (or if a drunk white guy with alcohol addiction took Samantha’s kid in to the water)…

    P.S. I personally feel the punishment for doing something stupid and killing one of your own kids should be less than for killing someone else’s kid…

    I would not be arguing for less nor more punishment. I basically do not believe in “punishment”. I believe in prevention of harm. I believe in rehabilitation. I believe in the power of redemption for those who have committed terrible acts while ill or under the influence.  I believe that most people who harm others whether their own child or that of someone else, once they are able to realize the consequence of their own actions while under the influence will inflict enough “punishment” on themselves to last a lifetime. I do not believe that revenge is a reasonable response by a humane society.

    What I will state is that as an outside observer, I would find it more emotionally challenging to deal with the death of someone else’s child. But I am fully cognizant that my emotional challenge should in no way dictate the consequences for a perpetrator.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > I basically do not believe in “punishment”. I believe in prevention of harm.

      So if a guy working as a school cook gave 50 kids rat poison “by mistake” killing them all would you be OK just banning him from cooking for anyone else “prevention of harm” and say “that was a bummer” as you told him he was not getting any punishment and wished him luck finding a job where is not cooking?

  7. Tia Will

    Eric

    He may have been complicit in her drug use–and there may be criminal liability there–but, to find him criminally liable for the baby’s death due process would require there to be more in the way of causation. The father may be irresponsible and morally reprehensible; but, I’m not sure he could be said to be the cause of the child’s death by exposure for purposes of finding him guilty of homicide.”

    I look at it this way. Under our judicial system, if you are party to a crime, and that crime results in a death, then you can be charged for murder even though you were not the one who pulled the trigger. Let’s say that you are a first time escape driver during a band robbery, and you are not even armed, and you have never before hurt anyone. If one of your partners in crime kills someone during the robbery, you can be charged with murder just as he is.

    Now in this case, we have a man who is the father of the baby, who by his own statements injected the mother of his baby with a drug, knew that she was mentally unstable, and still chose to leave his own children including the new born alone with her in a mentally incapacitated state of which he was aware. He was clearly complicit in a crime. That crime resulted in a death. No one was arguing that the use of meth did not lead to the disorganized thinking that caused Ms. Green to enter the levee. How is he any less liable for that outcome than the driver in my scenario ?

    1. hpierce

      Well in the bank robbery scenario, the driver knew (or should have known) a crime is being committed… did the father know the defendant (or should have known) was going to jeopardize the child?  If the latter, hell yes he should be prosecuted… but that is not a defense for the one who committed the act…

    2. Eric Gelber

      Tia – There is a difference. You are correct–if someone dies during the commission of a felony, all participants can be found guilty of murder. It’s considered reasonably foreseeable that a bystander or co-perpetrator would be killed in the course of a bank robbery–therefore, there’s causality. On the other hand, even in the case of a drug dealer, it’s constitutionally questionable, for example, that the dealer can be criminally liable when a buyer overdoses because the overdose wasn’t caused by the sale.  Here, we have the death of a third person (the child), which is one step further removed in terms of causality. I could be wrong, but I don’t see the father being found guilty of a homicide on these facts.

  8. Tia Will

    Eric

    He may have been complicit in her drug use–and there may be criminal liability there–but, to find him criminally liable for the baby’s death due process would require there to be more in the way of causation. The father may be irresponsible and morally reprehensible; but, I’m not sure he could be said to be the cause of the child’s death by exposure for purposes of finding him guilty of homicide.”

    If the facts were as you stated, I  might be in agreement. However, you omitted the fact that he was not just the provider ( or seller), but rather the injector of the drug. Also you omitted the fact that as the father of the baby, he should be held as responsible for the well being of that child as should the mother. He himself stated that he felt that she was not mentally stable. A drug dealer as in your scenario could not be expected to know the mental state that a user might get into. Mr. Rees claims that after he administered the drug, he, knowing that she was in a mentally impaired state chose to leave his children in her care.

  9. Tia Will

    hpierce

    You opined that ‘men have all the rights’ regarding children.. that is patently untrue, and let’s leave it at that.””

    I have no intention of leaving it at that when you choose to post part of what I have said while leaving out the context. I am sure that you have the ability to read and understand my subsequent posts in which I clarified my statement just in case I had not been clear enough the first time. I honestly do not care what you think about my opinion on this, but I have no intention of letting your misconstruction of what I said go unanswered. If you want to “leave it at that” now, that is fine with me.

  10. Tia Will

    hpierce

    did the father know the defendant (or should have known) was going to jeopardize the child?  If the latter, hell yes he should be prosecuted”

    The act of injection of meth into another person is a criminal act in and of itself  He stated in his own words, as quoted by the Vanguard, that he knew that Ms. Green was not mentally stable at the time he left her with the infant. How is that not a “should have known” that she might jeopardize the child ? The act of using meth while caring for a child in and of itself jeopardizes the well being of the child. Have you ever seen an individual under the influence of meth ? If a mother had ever brought her child to my clinic under the known influence of meth, I would have, as a mandatory reporter have reported her of suspected child endangerment on the spot, just as I did when I suspected physical child abuse.

    1. hpierce

      Sounds like [from the record, disclosed to date] the injection of meth was a “consensual act”… not coerced… maybe he is also guilty of another “injection”, perhaps also consensual?

  11. Tia Will

    quielo

    If she was in a car accident and stumbled out in the swamp due to head trauma I would in fact feel differently”
    I do not doubt that it true. I simply 
    disagree. I believe that methamphetamine use is as mentally capacitating as is head trauma. I do not believe that at the time that she entered the slough, she was exhibiting behaviors that would be any different from someone having a dissociative state from head trauma, or brain tumor, or certain forms of ovarian tumors, or post partum psychosis or  any other organic induces psychosis, I truly believe that this was a decision to punish her due to her use of methamphetamine. And yet, the father of the baby also was using methamphetamine and enabling her use of it, and yet many do not seem to be holding him equally responsible for the well being of his child. 

    It is like those who are holding this position are flipping a switch of responsibility when it is convenient for their position. Her thinking was disorganized, probably due to meth, but we are going to hold her responsible for murder even though we have admitted that we do not understand what factors made her go into the slough. For example, what if she truly believed that going into the slough was her safest course of action. I have previously cited the case of a psychotic woman who stabbed her son to death believing he was a demon. Should she have been tried for murder because a “reasonable person” would have known that this was her son she was stabbing. Surely none of you would think it murderous intent to strap one’s child into a car seat and then go for a ride ?  But are any of you so familiar with the dynamics of combined doses of amphetamine to be able to state that you know that she was in control of her actions at the time that she took the baby out of the car seat and inexplicably ( as even admitted by the prosecutor ) entered the slough ?  Because if you do  believe that, then you know a heck of a lot more than I do about meth absorption and distribution in the body in general and the CNS in particular. Somehow, I doubt that is true. And yet, those who defend this verdict  seem to have suspended the concept of  “reasonable doubt” even though two plausible scenarios were presented one by the prosecution and one by the defense.

    1. quielo

      Tia,

       

      What I find most interesting is to compare the comments on this thread to the ones on the Greg Zielesch “Wrongful Convictions” piece. 

      http://www.davisvanguard.org/2016/09/yolo-county-wrongful-convictions-free-event-saturday-september-24/

      I see a number of parallels though neither of the defendants seem to be as sympathetic as Samantha. I do respect that you maintain a consistent set of principals in contrast to some of the people that post here.

       

      1. Tia Will

        Hi quielo

        Of those three cases, I have followed only the Dev case and found his conviction, as the case was presented on the Vanguard to be completely inexplicable. Even more so than that of Ms. Green as I believe based the limited information that she did cause her son’s death although not deliberately or callously as portrayed. I think that there was a high probability that Mr. Dev was completed innocent on any wrong doing. However, I am not sure that I am seeing the parallels that you are unless you are referring to over charging.

         

        1. quielo

          Hi Tia,

           

          My wife says I am a bad communicator so would be gratified to read your comments.

           

          In the GZ case he was found to have given $400 to buy meth and a gun to BV in order for BV to kill someone. After using the meth paid for by GZ BV goes to kill the person designated and instead shoots a CHP officer on the way. GZ’s defense is that it was unforeseeable that BV would kill a cop on the way to kill the person he was supposed to kill and therefore he is not guilty. Some people on here feel that CZ should be released giving someone meth and a gun does not make you responsible for the death of another. In this case they feel that giving meth to someone does make you responsible for the death of another. In my opinion it is much more likely that giving someone meth and a firearm will produce immediate bad results than getting your baby momma high.

    2. dlemongello

      And given that, I do not see how the jury does not have reasonable doubt about Samantha’s conscious disregard for the risk imposed. It had to be conscious disregard for the risk to be found as murder.  I believe she knew her baby would be cold, and the fact that she disregarded that is very sad, she knew if he got wet it would be more of a risk, so she avoided that by holding him above the water, but I do not believe she realized the risk of death and then she passed out.  He died when she could not hold him close because she was passed out.  And reasonable doubt of course means you can not find guilty.

      I also agree with Tia that if she could be rehabilitated everyone would benefit.  I know that people don’t rehab easily, but prison serves no constructive purpose here.

  12. Tia Will

    Are you joking…..part 3

    And this time the joke is on me more than anyone else for failing to appreciate this for so long. Despite 30 years of my belief that prevention is always more important and a better course than treatment, I missed this point.

    We have had Ms. Green locked up ever since her son was found dead presumably because she is too dangerous to be out in society. And yet, we have not locked up Mr. Rees, who is walking free as I type, completely free to use and sell meth and have sex with and impregnate as many gullible women as he can get into a car or bed with. Mr. Rees who is a known meth dealer and has had children by multiple different women, none of whom he was so much as willing to support by getting SNAP or other benefits for since in his own words as quoted here, “It was too inconvenient for me” is free to walk around and live his life, while Ms. Green is in our prison system.

    I am ashamed of myself for my own acceptance of the obvious sexual double standard.

      1. hpierce

        Yeah, we should find the guy guilty of something, imprison him, then castrate him.  Then we could release Ms Green, for time served… sounds like ‘justice’ to me…

        1. Tia Will

          hpierce

          sounds like ‘justice’ to me”

          Well, I expect it might given that you are the only one advocating for it and you seem to not have any problem with his admitted distribution of meth…..as in his own words nor with his choice to randomly procreate and then abandon his children to the care of others regardless of their safety.

      2. Tia Will

        dlemonogello

        Unfortunately, we do not have such well developed options for men. What I actually had in mind for him was equitable treatment for his crimes which we do not have to make up since he was completely open about his use of and provision of meth to another. My understanding is that these activities are illegal and that he could be put into jail for them while awaiting trial. This is how Ms. Green was handled although I doubt anyone seriously believed that she was going to find another infant to take out to the levee. Yet she was locked up the entire time while he can continue to engage in his usual activities at will. Not my idea of justice.

  13. Tia Will

    quielo

     In my opinion it is much more likely that giving someone meth and a firearm will produce immediate bad results than getting your baby momma high.”

    If that were all that Mr. Rees had done ( getting her high), then I would be in agreement with you. It is what he did after that that makes him equally culpable in my mind with the person who provides meth and a gun. He did not just “get her high”. He got her high, recognized that her mental functioning was not normal, and then abandoned the baby to her care. It was the combination of these acts that establishes his culpability in my mind. This is a man who has presumably has seen the effects of meth repeatedly. He knew from experience that she was, in his words, “tripping”. In my mind, an experienced user and purveyor of meth did know, or should have known that this kind of altered mental state would render the mother incapable of taking care of the baby. After all, he had just attended a discussion in which the deleterious results of meth were reviewed according to the social service worker, so in my mind, he has no way of claiming that he did not know that she was mentally incapable of safely caring for an infant. If one parent is unable to provide care for what ever reason, it is in my opinion incumbent upon the other parent to provide that care or arrange for safe care to be provided.  Would you have thought it reasonable for Mr. Rees to have left the baby with Ms. Green if she were incapacitated by epileptic seizures, in traction and unable to move from bed, so debilitated from a Cesarean section infection that she could not get up to carry the baby ? Probably not. But it seems that some here are willing to accept that despite his own statements to the contrary, he is not culpable for leaving the baby with her when he knew she was mentally incapable of caring for the infant.

     

  14. Tia Will

    Biddlin

    But you can’t compell her to go into a treatment center”

    You can if you determine that she is a danger to herself or others. I would say that a very good case could be made that she met both criteria at the time she entered the slough and that it is likely to be the case if she has meth available to her at this time. This I know from the direct experience of patients who have met this criteria.

  15. Tia Will

    Frankly

     It will cut her off from the drugs cold turkey”

    You are the one who is being “fanciful “if you believe that this is the case. There is a “joke” ( not of the funny variety) about what a prison worker does if they must make a call at work and have forgotten their cell phone. “Ask an inmate to borrow theirs”.  The same can essentially be said for drugs.

    And if you believe that being in prison is somehow going to “shock her into reframing her life” then I suggest you have a long conversation with rdcanning about this prospect, recidivism rates, and what actually happens to people when they are exposed to our prison system.

    Fortunately, in this case, we do have an alternative. It is mandatory hospitalization and it can be used in cases in which the person is determined to be a potential threat to themselves or others. As I stated previously, I believe that a very good case could be made for that in this case as actual harm has already occurred and would most likely be possible to recur if she were to be returned to her previous environment. But again, our “justice” system is much more interested in punishment than it is in rehabilitation.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > There is a “joke” ( not of the funny variety) about what a prison worker does

      > if they must make a call at work and have forgotten their cell phone. “Ask an

      > inmate to borrow theirs”.

      A few years back Charles Manson got caught with a cell phone behind bars and the article below said that they confiscated 9,000 of them from California prisoners in 2013.

      http://www.inquisitr.com/1337666/cell-phone-contraband-in-prison-totals-9000-in-california/

      I know it is tough to make it on $75K these days (what an average prison guard makes before any OT) but we really need to do something about all the guys (and gals) making and “extra” $100K + every year smuggling stuff (like food, drugs and phones) in for the prisoners.

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