09 November 2005

Ripped from the Headlines

Andrea Yates, the mother who drowned her five children and received a death sentence for three of the killings, got a new trial today, courtesy of the Texas Court of Appeals. Seems that the government's psychiatrist at her trial said she was malingering in part because the crime was a copycat of a crime she may have seen on a "Law and Order" episode... but the episode did not exist.

Whoops. The Court of Appeals held that without the erroneous testimony, jurors might have found her not guilty by reason of insanity and spared her the death penalty.

Fret not; the prosecutor assures us he will pursue the capital charges again and put Yates back on death row.


Ken Lammers said...

Yeeesh! It's got to be bad if Texas overturns a death sentence.

If I remember right, there was an episode but it was made after the alleged act.

I bet every defense attorney in the State knows that guy's name and about this testimony.

Anonymous said...

Yates was convicted of capital murder in March 2002 and sentenced to life in prison.

Anonymous said...

check out

It has some more background on the expert witness. He was the technical advisor to Law and Order and used to teach at UVA.

Windypundit said...

I believe that Dr. Park Dietz is fairly well respected in the forensic psychology field and was involved in establishing the FBI's Behavioral Sciences unit. I guess he's not an expert on television...