November 09, 2005
Appeals court upholds new trial for Andrea Yates

Even the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals occasionally gets one right.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals today upheld a lower court's ruling granting a new trial to Andrea Yates, the Clear Lake-area woman convicted of drowning her children in 2001.

The Austin-based appellate court refused to hear the state's petition for discretionary review after the 1st Texas Court of Appeals ruled in January that testimony from the state's expert witness, -- about a TV episode that never existed -- may have affected the jury's judgment.

"It's good news," said Wendell Odom, one of Yates' attorneys.

Odom said he and fellow attorney George Parnham will now have to meet with prosecutors and state District Judge Belinda Hill to set a new trial date.

"There are all kinds of logistics," Odom said.

Alan Curry, an assistant Harris County district attorney who handled the appeal, was in court this morning and unavailable for comment.

Curry, however, told the Associated Press that said the case would be retried or a plea bargain would be considered. Curry said he is confident that Yates would be convicted again if there is a new trial.

He's probably right about that. The insanity defense in Texas is a very high barrier to overcome. Of course, Andrea Yates' attorneys now have the original case to learn from, which may well make a big difference in the result. And just as a reminder, on the odd chance that our District Attorney will bargain in good faith, there are alternatives to prison for people like Andrea Yates which will keep her off the streets for a long time if not forever while still allowing her serious illness to be properly treated. We'll see what happens.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 09, 2005 to Crime and Punishment | TrackBack

Can they send her to Death Row as a result of this retrial?

Posted by: Laurence Simon on November 11, 2005 8:56 AM

Yes. If they do not reach a plea agreement, the retrial would be basically a straight-up do-over, so the DA could go for the death penalty if he wants to.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on November 11, 2005 9:19 AM

Giving Yates a new trial would only be worth it if we could give her this time what she really deserves, the death penalty.

Anyway, it is my understanding this is the same appeals court which gave that escaped creep, the escaped double murderer who was just recaptured in Louisiana, the new trial. That's what he was doing at the Harris County jail when he escaped.

I think it's time to challenge the appeals court publicly on this issue.

Posted by: ttyler5 on November 11, 2005 2:38 PM