National Alliance on Mental Illness
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For Immediate Release, November 2, 1999
There is no satisfaction for anyone in today's result: a hung jury of 10-2 in favor of a guilty verdict. This case has stood all along for the failures of America's mental health system-and now stands as well for the inadequacy of the legal system in addressing issues involving severe mental illness.
Guilty or not, this clearly is a case where the defendant has a long, well-documented history of severe mental illness. It also is clearly a case where the parties should now seek a plea agreement that gives Andrew Goldstein the long-term treatment he needs in a secure treatment facility. We doubt very much that justice can be served through another trial.
America's mental health system is in crisis and must be fixed. Broken promises by politicians, treatment denials by healthcare providers, and loss of life must be stopped.
Statement by Douglas Cooper, Acting Executive Director, NAMI New York State
There are no winners today. Kendra Webdale is dead and Andrew Goldstein's fate remains uncertain. The events in the case did not begin on a subway platform, but inside the failures of New York's mental health system.
We hope Kendra's Webdale's memory will continue to fuel efforts for reform in New York State, not through punitive action-which was the essence of this trial-but through an affirmation of life. Everyone deserves better than what has happened in this case.