Long Island: “Woman who drowned children seeks part of their estate”

by Walter Olson on December 23, 2012

“A woman who admitted to drowning her three young children in her bathtub in New Cassel nearly five years ago is telling a judge that she deserves some of the money from her children’s $250,000 estate. … [Innocent] Demesyeux [father of two of the three children] settled a lawsuit against [Nassau] county last year for $250,000, claiming that social services caseworkers could have done more to save his children.” A lawsuit on behalf of the third child is pending. [Newsday]

{ 8 comments }

1 boblipton 12.23.12 at 8:54 am

No, that’s all wrong. Chutzpah is when the children kill the parents and then ask for compensation on the grounds they are orphans.

Bob

2 Ed 12.23.12 at 2:19 pm

Wonder if it’s to payoff her defense attorney?

3 Angry Taxpayer 12.24.12 at 9:28 am

I am saddened by the leap of logic allowing the father to get compensation from his fellow citizens. Why wasn’t he protecting his children?

4 Richard Nieporent 12.24.12 at 5:40 pm

Why is there even a question about this? In the case Riggs v. Palmer, 22 N.E. 188 (1889), the court in New York prevented Palmer from profiting from the will of his grandfather who he had poisoned to prevent being disinherited. The court decided he could not inherit the estate, noting that on top of ordinary law, there were “fundamental maxims of the common law.” The court elaborated, “No one shall be permitted to profit by his own fraud, or to take advantage of his own wrong, or to found any claim upon his own iniquity, or to acquire property by his own crime. Wouldn’t her lawsuit fall under this ruling?

5 Bill Poser 12.27.12 at 6:08 am

I suppose that her argument might be that since she was not of sound mind when she killed her children, she is not benefiting from her own crime.

6 Fox 2! 12.27.12 at 11:54 pm

Would not the “Son of Sam” law also apply? Or does her suffering from a “mental disease or defect” vitiate that statute, as well?

7 Fox 2! 12.28.12 at 12:06 am

Angry Taxpayer,

Not knowing anymore of the case than presented here, I am going to say that the mother probably had custody, possibly even sole custody, and may have had a restraining order against the father. And social services had something to do with monitoring the mother’s behavior towards her children.

The father wasn’t allowed to be there to protect his children.

But I could be wrong.

8 Richard Nieporent 12.28.12 at 11:26 am

Would not the “Son of Sam” law also apply?

I don’t think so. The “Son of Sam” law deals with felons who make money indirectly from the resulting publicity of the crime where they get royalties from the writing of a book or the making of a movie, not directly from the crime itself. Also, some “Son of Sam” laws have been overturned because the publisher’s First Amendment right to publish the book was being violated.

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