I was reading today about Mary Winkler, and have had a hard time getting this off my mind.
If you remember Winkler, she was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of her minister husband. Her defense claimed battered women's syndrome, and she served a sentence of 5 months in prison and 2 months in a mental health treatment facility.
She is seeking custody, or at least frequent visitation with her children, ages 2, 8 and 10, who have been in the custody of her in-laws since she was arrested. They in turn, are seeking to terminate her parental rights so they can adopt her daughters (and by inference keep them from any contact with her).
I'm trying to figure out the reasoning behind all of this.
Given the girls' ages, I could understand it if she was in prison for many years and the grandparents were the primary guardians. They probably wouldn't remember her as a mother, and it could be traumatic to suddenly be yanked from the only caregivers they've ever known.
But it's not like that.
Apart from any thoughts of vengeance from a readers' standpoint (somebody must have believed her defense because she was only incarcerated a total of 7 months and let go from the facility because they thought she was of sound mind), the woman has served her sentence and her debt to society.
Did it seem awfully short? Maybe so. But she served what was imposed and is now a free citizen.
Was there an extra sentence tacked on that said she must lose her parental rights?
Was there a sentence given to her children that said they must lose their mother permanently as well?
I just don't get the reasoning, if it's in the best interest of the children.
What do you think?