Judge: Yates Trial Will Start on Time

Andrea Yates will still likely face a second trial later this month after a Houston judge today ruled against a defense motion that could have delayed it. But as Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports, an expected appeal of that ruling could still stop the trial before its March 20th start date.

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State District Judge Hill agreed with prosecutors who felt an earlier motion by the defense regarding double jeopardy and prosecutorial misconduct was frivolous and without merit. Defense attorneys had hoped a positive ruling would delay the trial and now say they'll appeal the decision as soon as next week. Assistant District Attorney Alan Curry says he's not concerned about an appeal.

"We don't think this is a close legal issue. There may be some factual disputes, some disagreements between parties, but with regard to the claim, the double jeopardy claim the defense has made, it's not close. We think the judge correctly denied it and we believe the court of appeals will agree with the judge."

If the appeals court agrees to consider the matter, the second trial could be delayed until sometime this summer. Wendell Odom is one of Yates' attorneys and says the defense has some legitimate concerns.

"This is certainly something that we thought would happen. The trial moves forward on the 20th only if the court of appeals does not hear our writ. Our thought process is we wouldn't have made this motion if we didn't think it was a legitimate motion that has some real issues that need to be heard."

Yates' first murder conviction was thrown out last year by an appeals court because of false testimony given by a prosecution witness. She's currently being treated at the State Mental Hospital in Rusk.

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