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Beladonna
QUOTE
Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- The murder conviction of Andrea Yates, who is serving a life sentence for drowning three of her five children, was overturned today by a Texas appeals court because of false testimony.

During Yates's 2002 trial, psychiatrist Park Dietz testified that the NBC television network had aired a program of ``Law & Order'' in which a woman drowned her children in a bath tub, the Texas First Court of Appeals of Houston said in its ruling.

Dietz said the program in which the female character was found insane aired before Yates killed her children in 2001. Dietz testified that he had treated Yates and that she frequently watched ``Law & Order.'' It was determined after the trial that NBC had, in fact, never aired such a program.

The Texas appeals court ruled that Dietz's inaccurate testimony was material to Yates's conviction.

Yates's attorneys argued during her trial that the stay-at- home mom was under psychiatric care when she killed her children and didn't know right from wrong.


Questions for Debate:

If retried, do you think Andrea Yates will be convicted again in the drowning murders of her children?

Would you have overturned the conviction based on the inaccuracy of Dietz's testimony - given the fact that Yates admits to the murders?
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UserName
If retried, do you think Andrea Yates will be convicted again in the drowning murders of her children?

There is really no telling as to whether she will be convicted again.
Although, I do think she should definitely be retried.
I'm just wondering if previous testimony will be allowed or not.
If not, it may be a little harder to get a conviction.

Would you have overturned the conviction based on the inaccuracy of Dietz's testimony - given the fact that Yates admits to the murders?

I would have no choice, everybody has a right to a jury trial whether they admit to the crime or not.
And, I would charge Dietz with perjury and fine him and or jail him for lying.
What a waste of everybody's time and money this has been.


Edited to make text black in accordance with forum Rules
Aquilla
If retried, do you think Andrea Yates will be convicted again in the drowning murders of her children?

My guess would be yes, she will be convicted again and I'll expand on that in the response to the second question.


Would you have overturned the conviction based on the inaccuracy of Dietz's testimony - given the fact that Yates admits to the murders?

From what I understand of this trial it would appear that the defense was some sort of insanity defense - not a defense that she didn't do it. Given that was the defense, I'd have to say it was proper to overturn the conviction which carries an implicit finding of sanity. Dietz's testimony appears to have gone right to the heart of proving Yates as sane and had his statements concerning the Law and Order TV show been true, it would have been powerful evidence that she had the presence of mind to calculate and plan her crime. That would have been pretty convincing to a jury of her sanity I'd think. Given that such compelling evidence of sanity turned out to be fabricated it left the appeals court with no other choice than to vacate the verdict. However, I assume (always dangerous I know) that other evidence was presented to buttress the prosecution's case and that evidence will be introduced again in a new trial. It might be a more difficult case for the prosecution this time around, but in the end, I think the same verdict will come down.
2ndwind
Without seeing the transcript of the trial, I don't know how important it was if she watched a TV show or not. I have a hard time believing it would have had any influence on her killing her children.

Because this was somewhat trivial component in convicting her, I don't think it will make any difference. She'll be found guilty again.

I do feel from the little I have read about the trial, she is mentally ill and not a criminal.
Amlord
If retried, do you think Andrea Yates will be convicted again in the drowning murders of her children?

I certainly hope so. To me, this is one of the most heinous crimes in the past decade. The fact that she chased down her 5 year old (who saw what she did to the other children) and subsequently drowned him boils my blood.

Frankly, I could care less what her motivation was or whether she was sane or not (this, of course, would get me excluded from most juries): her conduct is inexcusable. She deserves death, if anyone does.

I am hopeful that a future Texas jury will convict her again.

Would you have overturned the conviction based on the inaccuracy of Dietz's testimony - given the fact that Yates admits to the murders?

From a legal standpoint, I can see why the appeals court did what it did. The actions of the doctor certainly had an impact on the jury and it is not up to the appellate court to judge how much of an impact it had on the original jury. The only fair thing to do is to give her a new trial.
BoF
If retried, do you think Andrea Yates will be convicted again in the drowning murders of her children?

I do think Yates will be retried and convicted. While I agree Amlord that “this is one of the most heinous crimes in the past decade.” I don’t think she should have been convicted of capital murder in the first place. Yates had a long history of mental illness, that including two suicide attempts. This does not mean that I think she should be walking the streets. Perhaps we need to come up with some options other than prison or execution for people who function well while taking prescribed medications, but are a danger to themselves and others when they quit. I think confining her to a state mental facility for life would be more appropriate. Unfortunately, people who are stabilized by medications are deemed ready to resume their place in society. I think this is a mistake. Andrea Yates' symptoms were treated, but she and others caught in this “web” are never cured. This catch 22 has burned us in the past and will undoubtedly do so in the future. Perhaps the Texas legislature could do something constructive for a change and explore some alternatives in its session that starts January 16. Perhaps this decision will spur them into actually confronting a problem.

QUOTE
Michael Woroniecki: Michael Woroniecki was a traveling minister from whom Rusty purchased their bus and whose religious views had influenced both Rusty and Andrea. Rusty only agreed with some of Woroniecki's ideas but Andrea embraced the extremist sermons. He preached, "the role of women is derived from the sin of Eve and that bad mothers who are going to hell create bad children who will go to hell." Andrea was so totally captivated by Woroniecki that Rusty and Andrea's family grew concerned.


Yates, like others, had plenty of help getting to the point of the murders. One was evangelist Michael Woroniecki, (I think Wrong-iecki is more appropriate) who diagnosed her “spiritual” condition by correspondence, accusing her in a series of letters of being a wicked Jezebel among other things. The problem is that someone with Yates' psychological make-up cannot evaluate clowns like Woroniecki to determine what might be true and what quite obviously is false. Religion does not automatically equal good and people like Woroniecki are rarely interested in anyone's well being but their own.

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Their Living Conditions: Rusty accepted work in Florida in 1996 and the family moved into a 38-foot travel trailer in Seminole, FL While in Florida, Andrea got pregnant, but miscarried. In 1997 they returned to Houston and lived in their trailer because Rusty wanted to "live light." The next year. Rusty decided to purchase a 350-square-foot, renovated bus which became their permanent home. Luke was born bringing the number of children to four. Living conditions were cramped and Andrea's insanity began to surface.


Under Woroniecki’s tutelage, the Yates moved into squalid living conditions.

http://crime.about.com/od/current/p/andreayates.htm

Court TV had an hour long program on Yates last night. Their page links to quite a bit of information on the Yates case.

http://www.courttv.com/home_news/index.html

Would you have overturned the conviction based on the inaccuracy of Dietz's testimony - given the fact that Yates admits to the murders?

Of course, since the testimony of psychiatrist, Dr. Park Dietz, offset that of defense psychiatrists.
nebraska29
Questions for Debate:

QUOTE
Would you have overturned the conviction based on the inaccuracy of Dietz's testimony - given the fact that Yates admits to the murders?


A lot of times, this case has been presented as if the prosectution and defense agreed on every point, which is erroneous. While they did agree that she was insane, the false testimony convinced the jurors that she knew what she was doing inspite of her illness.

QUOTE
but the jury rejected her plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

The difference between a verdict of guilty and one of not guilty by reason of insanity in the Yates trial hinged on one key issue: whether Yates knew what she was doing when she drowned the children was wrong.

Both the defense and prosecution agreed Yates is mentally ill, but prosecutors convinced the jury that she knew her actions were wrong.

-CNN article

The court made the right decision on this, though talk radio hosts and others gloss over the importance of judicial integrity being maintained.
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