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Old 01-06-2005, 09:01 AM
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Default Breaking News--Andrea Yates Conviction Overturned

BREAKING NEWS
NBC News and news services
Updated: 9:57 a.m. ET Jan. 6, 2005HOUSTON - An appeals court on Thursday overturned the capital murder convictions of Andrea Yates, ruling that a prosecution witness gave false testimony that may have influenced the jury that convicted her in the drowning deaths of three of her five children.


Released JAN 5, 2005


In appealing her conviction before a three-judge panel of the 1st Court of Appeals, Yates' attorneys argued that a prosecution witness, psychiatrist Park Deitz, presented false testimony during her March 2002 trial when he said he had consulted on an episode of the NBC television show “Law and Order” in which a woman drowned her children and later was acquitted by reason of insanity. (MSNBC is a joint venture of NBC and Microsoft)

Prosecutors used the testimony to suggest that Yates, who sometimes watched the program, had seen the show and used the plot to plan the murders of her kids by drowning them in the tub of the family's home.

Jurors learned after Yates was convicted that the episode never existed.

“We conclude that there is a reasonable likelihood that Dr. Dietz’s false testimony could have affected the judgment of the jury,” the court ruled on Thursday. “We further conclude that Dr. Dietz’s false testimony affected the substantial rights of appellant.”


Yates attorney Troy McKinney argued on Tuesday that Dietz's testimony was "dynamite," according to the Houston Chronicle.

"It's what turned this case around. It was such a bombshell. Clearly, the jury needed to know that what Dr. Dietz said was false," the newspaper quoted McKinney as saying.

The defense argued during Yates’ trail that the 40-year-old woman, who was under psychiatric care for post-partum depression at the time of the killings, was insane at the time she committed the crimes.

Jurors in 2002 sentenced Yates to life in prison in the 2001 deaths of three of her children. She was not tried in the deaths of the other two.

NBC's Pete Williams and Dan Abrams and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Old 01-06-2005, 09:11 AM
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Deb

Thanks for posting this. It was my impression that Andrea Yates did drown her children but that she was emotionally/mentally unstable. What happens now. Does anybody know?
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Old 01-06-2005, 09:20 AM
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I can't believe that the case has turned around. I think she did it also, but only because of the post partum depression. Does this mean she gets to go free?
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Old 01-06-2005, 09:23 AM
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"witness, psychiatrist Park Deitz, presented false testimony during her March 2002 trial "

I am completely shocked. He is very well respected and is a real pro in the field. I wonder if he misspoke and said the wrong tv show. Hmmmmm.
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Old 01-06-2005, 09:24 AM
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I'm sure she doesn't "go free." I think they'll resentence her or retry her and put her in a psychiaric hospital?? Or is that just wishful thinking that she'll get the help she so obviously needs so bad?

The truth of the matter is that if it's like Michigan the prosecution can appeal this verdict to the State Supreme Court and they can reinstate the conviction...

Appeals are a chess game....

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Old 01-06-2005, 09:25 AM
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I hope they will at least get her the help that she needs
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Old 01-06-2005, 09:26 AM
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Think she did it? She DID do it....She chased her screaming kids down to drown them while they saw their siblings dead in the tub....she admitted to it. PPD Is a disease....but a woman who's been crazy all of her life shouldn't have had 5 kids when the doctor told her to not have anymore. They are just using PPD as an excuse...she knew what she was doing. I've met her soon to be ex husband a few times...he's got problems too....but he is a really nice guy and it makes me sick that this psycho took away his 5 children.
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Old 01-06-2005, 09:49 AM
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What happens to prosecution witness, psychiatrist Park Deitz?
The prosecution says she did not lie intentionally...forgive me for being sceptical but knowing what I now know about our wonderful system I would at least want to question the prosecution and their expert witness.
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Old 01-06-2005, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by titantoo
What happens to prosecution witness, psychiatrist Park Deitz?
The prosecution says she did not lie intentionally...forgive me for being sceptical but knowing what I now no about our wonderful system I would at least want to question the prosecution and their expert witness.
Nothing. Expert witnesses testify to the best of their ability and expertise and knowledge. They cannot be arrested or incur any sanction for testifying to what they believed was the truth at the time.
This guy has an outstanding reputation so I am completely shocked and think there may be more to the story.

Ciao.
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Old 01-06-2005, 10:00 AM
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As a mental health worker I have worked with women who harmed their children due to mental illness. And like them, Andrea Yates had all the warning signs that she was unstable, but no one did anything about it until it was too late.

I hope that this woman gets the treatment she so desperately needs. Yes she killed her children and for that she will have to answer to her higher power. But if she killed them because of mental illness then she needs treatment rather than to be thrown into a cell and forgotten. I'm not saying she shouldn't serve time, but she should get treatment as well. I hope that in a new trial, the RIGHT thing is done!
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Old 01-06-2005, 10:07 AM
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Well said mrsdragon...and as a mental health worker it carries even more weight.
I don't think there is much doubt that she needs mental health care. It is a tragedy for everyone concerned...including Andrea Yates.
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Old 01-06-2005, 10:10 AM
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When an "expert" witness lies or "misrepresents facts" as the prosecution likes to call it when one of their witnesses lies it is up to the PROSECUTION if charges will be brought... In our case--NONE were brought... However, there are other ways to pursue this like the person's license and professional licensing body (grin)...

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Old 01-06-2005, 10:12 AM
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MiaBellaAngela

Of course, if the expert witness believed what they were saying is true there should be no problem. But I am not sure how one testifies that a person accused was strongly influenced by a non-existent tv program unless either the witness or the prosecutor or somebody deliberately misled someone! It also seems reasonable to assume that somebody at the time (the defence?) should have checked for the veracity of the statements.
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Old 01-06-2005, 10:13 AM
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I agree with you that she had all the signs, and no one did anything about it until it was too late, but, didn't CPS get involved with her issues before and they closed the case - how should they start handling these types of cases, because too many children are coming up dead at the hands of thier caretakers and in the majority of the cases CPS has opened and closed a case. Andrea did and does have a problem, but I believe she has and needs to serve time in where ever, be it prison or a mental institute, because I couldn't imagine hurting my son, and I don't know what type of illness you would have that you will chase your child down to drown him , hold him down, I just don't know.



Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsdragon
As a mental health worker I have worked with women who harmed their children due to mental illness. And like them, Andrea Yates had all the warning signs that she was unstable, but no one did anything about it until it was too late.

I hope that this woman gets the treatment she so desperately needs. Yes she killed her children and for that she will have to answer to her higher power. But if she killed them because of mental illness then she needs treatment rather than to be thrown into a cell and forgotten. I'm not saying she shouldn't serve time, but she should get treatment as well. I hope that in a new trial, the RIGHT thing is done!
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Old 01-06-2005, 10:22 AM
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Its hard to understand how a woman can harm her child but for some - and I'm not sure if this was happening to Andrea Yates - they are delusional and sometimes hearing voices. We laugh when we hear about someone who thinks they are Jesus Christ or they think they are seeing things that aren't there, but to the mentally ill these things are all real to them. And believe me... they DO think this. I've seen patients who have cut themselves because "God" told them to let the demons out.

I can't talk specifically about the patients I worked with because of confidentiality, but I've seen many just like Andrea Yates and once they were properly medicated and treated, they were just as horrified at what they had done as we are!
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Old 01-06-2005, 10:23 AM
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Ditto to what mrs.D said!
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Old 01-06-2005, 10:40 AM
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that is part of the problem with Andrea Yates -- she was properly medicated but no one was monitoring her and she quit taking her meds and no one did anything -- same with the lady in Dallas who recently cut off her 10 month old's arms. If you are going to medicate these people then someone needs to monitor them more closely -- not once every 6 to 8 months! Her (Andrea Yates) husband KNEW she had not been taking her meds and I think that makes him partially responsible. Furthermore, he knew she shouldn't have more kids -- why didn't he use something when they had relations -- why was it left up to her to keep from getting pregnant? I am so sick and tired of "it's always the woman's responsibility" -- sorry. Putting soap box away.
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Old 01-06-2005, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
I am so sick and tired of "it's always the woman's responsibility" -- sorry. Putting soap box away.
I agree with you Vim! Too many times women like Andrea Yates fall thru the cracks because no one is paying attention.
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Old 01-06-2005, 10:52 AM
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What she did was wrong, there's no doubt about that. It wasn't just wrong, it was horrific.

However, if she is given the mental health treatment she needs and is returned to "sanity" (if she were insane), then what? She is to be set free? She murders 5 children and then returns to society?

I'm torn on this case. However, I seriously doubt that she'd ever get anything but prison time. I just can't see a jury not sending her to prison.
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Old 01-06-2005, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaraSmile
Think she did it? She DID do it....She chased her screaming kids down to drown them while they saw their siblings dead in the tub....she admitted to it. PPD Is a disease....but a woman who's been crazy all of her life shouldn't have had 5 kids when the doctor told her to not have anymore. They are just using PPD as an excuse...she knew what she was doing. I've met her soon to be ex husband a few times...he's got problems too....but he is a really nice guy and it makes me sick that this psycho took away his 5 children.
Of course she did it, thats never been in question. She was also mentally ill at the time. Her husband knew after the second child that she had problems, yet he took her off the meds. and proceeded to have 3 more children. He separated her from her Dr. and her family. I have always felt that he bore some responsablity for the deaths of his children.

as for her getting out. because of the expert. They did not charge her with two of the kids death for a reason. Should this case be thrown out and double jeapardy occur, they will then try her on the remaining two cases.

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Old 01-06-2005, 11:30 AM
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okay I realize that there are circumstances to every situation and that is why all of our men are in prison. but this woman had the devil all in her and made her kill her own children, the very blessings that God had given her.

And to think that my husband (and all of yours)is still sitting in prison while her conviction got overturned.

Murder is Murder, and the fact that she chased her own babies around the house until she caught them so she could drown them means that she knew what she was doing. Give me a break, all the excuses. Only God can forgive her and thats between her and Him.
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Old 01-06-2005, 11:31 AM
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I think that the husband is responsible as well. The husband of the woman who cut her baby's arms off is unable to regain custody right now because he should have prevented it.

But, this case could be like the woman who stoned her kids to death here in Texas also. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity and is in a psych hospital or ward somewhere. No prison time.
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Old 01-06-2005, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
But, this case could be like the woman who stoned her kids to death here in Texas also. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity and is in a psych hospital or ward somewhere. No prison time.

um, I thought that texas was the death penalty capital of the world?! why do these women get around it while men get handed the death penalty left and right?? just a question, doesnt make sense to me.
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Old 01-06-2005, 11:38 AM
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Sorry, but I disagree...its not a question of making excuses for Ms Yates. If she was mentally ill and killed her children because she was not being treated properly that is an issue. Note that mrsdragon, a professional, said "I've seen many just like Andrea Yates and once they were properly medicated and treated, they were just as horrified at what they had done as we are!". Just putting people like Ms Yates in prison for life and ignoring them is not appropriate. In fact I would say it is brutal, uncivilised and inhuman treatment even if her crime is horrific!
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Old 01-06-2005, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HubbysLilAngelBaby
And to think that my husband (and all of yours)is still sitting in prison while her conviction got overturned.

Murder is Murder, and the fact that she chased her own babies around the house until she caught them so she could drown them means that she knew what she was doing. Give me a break, all the excuses. Only God can forgive her and thats between her and Him.
Girl I agree with you 100%! It angers me for the fact that my husband, who does NOT deserve to be where he is, and other innocent people are sitting in prison, with harsh sentences (or death row like my husband) and this nut gets off! How on earth is that fair? I don't care if she had PPD, yeah it's a disease and it should have been treated but it doesn't excuse the fact that she still murdered her five children!! This is just a travesty of justice and I hope the RIGHT thing IS done.

And yes, Aimee, TX is the leading state in executions. So why women get off (not just Yates, but also like some ladies mentioned, the women who stoned her children to death, etc) just because they are women makes no sense to me. I don't believe in the death penalty at all, for anyone, but they should still receive sentences they deserve and not just get off because they are "crazy" or "unstable."

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