Attorney George Parnham is a man of deep conviction, loyalty and wisdom. When you become a friend of George's, it's for life. Entering the world of this humble yet renowned public servant, you find a golden soul whose life is truly about helping others and a staunch defender of justice for all that includes mothers whose mental illnesses brought them into the criminal justice system.
Parnham has now agreed to represent Narjes Modarresi, a Texas mother reportedly suffering from severe mental illness who is accused of burying her two-month-old infant son alive.
Parnham is the Texas-based attorney who defended Andrea Yates. He endured threats and admonitions, being marginalized by some of his colleagues and the wrath of a public who had no knowledge of postpartum psychosis--a public demanding that mothers who commit infanticide be served the same fate or be permanently removed from society. It's a fine and controversial line to walk legally. Infants and children die from abuse and neglect every day in numbers that far exceed deaths attributed to postpartum psychosis. The insanity defense is not meant to excuse the murder of innocent children by their mothers.
The first trial of Andrea Yates - distorted by mischaracterizations of diagnosis - resulted in conviction; the second trial brought a just conclusion when the insanity defense was upheld. This mother - with a history of severe mental illness - believed she was saving her children from hell by ending their lives.
That the symptoms of psychosis can include command hallucinations so severe that it seems logical to take a life, is incomprehensible and repulsive to those unfamiliar with this extremely rare symptom - a true psychiatric emergency. No human being can help but recoil when confronted with the death of a helpless infant.