Yesterday we wrote about an adoptive mother named Yvette Maguire who gave her child back after a mere two weeks with the boy, because, as she said, "I felt no bond with him whatsoever. People were brutal towards Maguire for what they considered to be terrible mothering, and today comes news that Nixzaliz Santiago, the mother of brutally murdered 7-year-old Nixzmary Brown, was given a jail sentence that was 17 years longer than that of Cesar Rodriguez, Nixzaliz's husband and Nixzmary's murderer. If Rodriguez was the one who struck the fatal blows that killed Nixzmary, why is Nixzaliz's sentence so much more stringent?Because, the New York Times argues, "the wide gap between the sentences raised questions about whether Ms. Santiago shouldered an extra burden as she faced judge and jury: the duty to be a good mother." Nixzaliz was also beaten brutally by Rodriguez, and some victims' rights advocates believe that she is getting unfair treatment from the justice system. According to the Times, "Details of Ms. Santiago’s troubled past — her learning disabilities, her abusive relationships and her miscarriage shortly before Nixzmary died — have caused some who followed the trial to wonder about her capacity to help her daughter." Others, like Columbia Law School director of Gender and Sexuality Law, Katherine M. Franke, believe that Nixzaliz's harsher sentence reinforces stereotyped parental roles. Women are saddled with "all the obligations and responsibility — and ultimately the punishment — for what happens to their children.” However, the prosecution said that Nixzaliz encouraged the beatings, and jurors say they were most swayed by the following evidence: "Ms. Santiago did not immediately call an ambulance and instead bathed the girl and put her to bed. A neighbor testified that Ms. Santiago was calm that night, wailing only while the neighbor was on the phone with a 911 operator." Seeing Failure as Mother as Factor in Sentencing [NY Times] After Only Two Weeks An Adoptive Mother Gives A Child Back
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