The Andrew Goldstein Verdict
Statement of Laurie Flynn, Executive Director The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)
Mar 24 2000
Andrew Goldstein has a long, well-documented history of severe mental illness. The case has stood all along for the failures of America's mental health system. Unfortunately, it now also stands for the inadequacy of our legal system in addressing issues that involve mental illness.
Although Andrew Goldstein was so sick that New York State passed a treatment law as a direct result of the case, a jury has found that he was not sick enough, and rejected his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Statements by jurors after the verdict reflect a persistent lack of understanding of schizophrenia-a biological brain disorder that afflicts people through no fault of their own.
The only just result in this case would be for the judge to sentence Andrew Goldstein to a secure psychiatric treatment facility. Prison is only likely to worsen his illness. Without justice and compassion, only the cruelty of schizophrenia will prevail, and the tragedy of Kendra Webdale's death will be compounded.