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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The facts, as alleged by the court of appeals, are as follows: Andrea Pia Yates married in 1993 and had three children over the next four years. In 1998, Yates at some point told her husband that she was depressed and overwhelmed. A fourth child was born in 1999, and Yates tried to commit suicide four months later. She was admitted to a psychiatric unit temporarily and began seeing a psychiatrist upon her release. She again tried to commit suicide after her release, and Yates was again admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Yates claimed she heard voices and had visions. Upon releasing Yates, the psychiatrist felt Yates had a high risk of another psychotic episode if she had another child. Yates had a fifth child a year later. Yates’ father died soon after, and Yates again began suffering from depression. She was admitted in a catatonic state to another psychiatric hospital for delusional and bizarre thoughts and placed on suicide watch. Upon release, she was treated by another psychiatrist, who recommended that Yates not be left alone with her children. Yates was admitted to a hospital for a fourth time in May 2001 after Yates’ mother observed Yates’ strange behavior. Yates was prescribed Haldol upon her release, though Yates rejected a suggestion that she receive electroconvulsive therapy. She gradually stopped taking the Haldol, reporting to her new doctor that she wasn’t having psychotic symptoms or suicidal thoughts. In June 2001, Yates called the Houston Police Department to her home. She also told her husband to come home, because all of the children were hurt. When police and Yates’ husband arrived, they found all five children dead. Four were wet, lying under a sheet on the bed; a fifth was floating face down in the bathtub; Yates was nearby. Yates was tried on two indictments with the murder of three of the children. At trial, 10 psychiatrists and two psychologists testified regarding Yates’ mental illness some of whom had treated Yates before the murders and some of whom evaluated her afterwards. All but one of the psychiatrists either testified to the severity of Yates’ illness or stated that they did not believe Yates could tell right from wrong at the time of the murders. The lone holdout was the state’s psychiatrist, Dr. Park Dietz, who interviewed Yates after the murders. Dietz maintained that Yates knew right from wrong. He theorized that since Yates claimed she was following orders from Satan, then she was well aware that what she was doing was wrong. Dietz, who was a consultant on two episodes of “Law & Order,” also testified that Yates’ actions mirrored the story line of a “Law & Order” episode. In the episode, Dietz says, a woman suffering from postpartum depression drowns her children in a bathtub but is found not guilty by reason of insanity. The state again raised the “Law & Order” episode with one of Yates’ experts on cross-examination. Speculating that Yates, who admitted to watching “Law & Order” in general, watched the particular episode and patterned her behavior after it, the state asked this expert why she didn’t ask Yates about the episode. The doctor stated that she was unaware of the episode, but that if she had been, she would have asked Yates about it. Yates’ attorney referred to the state’s argument during his closing argument, and the state also referred to it in its closing argument. The jury convicted Yates. After the verdict but before sentencing, appellant’s counsel verified with a producer from “Law & Order” that there was never an episode where a woman with postpartum depression drowns her children in a bathtub. Confronted with this information, Dietz acknowledged that he had made an error in his testimony and so swore in a stipulation. Yates moved for a mistrial based on Dietz’s testimony, and the trial court denied the motion, but the trial court did grant Yates’ request to read the stipulation to the jury. The judge told the jury that it should ignore Dietz’s testimony. The jury recommended a life sentence for Yates. Yates appeals. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. Generally, if a witness has testified to material, inculpatory facts against a defendant and, after the verdict but before a motion for new trial has been ruled upon, the witness makes an affidavit that he testified falsely, a new trial should be granted. The exceptions to this rule do not apply in the present case, the court finds. The court notes that this rule does not require that the state have knowledge that the testimony was false. The court says it will review the record to determine whether the state used the false testimony and, if so, whether there is a reasonable likelihood that the false testimony could have affected the judgment of the jury. The court concludes that all of the references to the show were material. Further, even though Dietz himself did not suggest that Yates patterned her behavior after the show, the court points out that the state did make such a suggestion, both in its cross-examination of the other expert and in its closing arguments. “Five mental health experts testified that [Yates] did not know right from wrong or that she thought what she did was right. Dr. Dietz was the only mental health expert who testified that [Yates] knew right from wrong. Therefore, his testimony was critical to establish the State’s case. Although the record does not show that Dr. Dietz intentionally lied in his testimony, his false testimony undoubtedly gave greater weight to his opinion.” “We conclude that there is a reasonable likelihood that Dr. Dietz’s false testimony could have affected the judgment of the jury.” OPINION:Sam Nuchia, J.; Radack, C.J., Taft and Nuchia, JJ.

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