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Mad Women and Desperate Girls: Infanticide and Child Murder in Law and Myth

43 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2011  

Elizabeth Rapaport

University of New Mexico - School of Law

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

I begin this article with a comparison between the stereotype dominated understanding of infanticide and child homicide in the United States and the statistical landscape it obscures. I then turn to the history of the crime of infanticide, a history which confirms that a fascination with deviant women has long dominated the story of infanticide. The article concludes with the exploration of what I call the "Good Mother Defense." That exploration reveals the extent to which the fate of a woman tried for child homicide hinges on whether the jury sees her as a good mother, rather than on the prosecutors' ability to prove the elements of the crime charged.

Suggested Citation

Rapaport, Elizabeth, Mad Women and Desperate Girls: Infanticide and Child Murder in Law and Myth (2006). Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 33, No. 2, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1927551

Elizabeth Rapaport (Contact Author)

University of New Mexico - School of Law ( email )

1117 Stanford Drive, N.E.
MSC11 6070
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
United States

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