The District Attorney's Office under Devon Anderson had appealed Judge Bond's ruling, but the 14th Court of Appeals affirmed. Last week, District Attorney Kim Ogg announced that the Office would not be appealing the case any further, and formally dismissed charges against Dr. Yetman. The move was not surprising under the circumstances, and it was the right thing to do.
I did find the press release from Ogg to be noteworthy:
"We do not tolerate professional misconduct, lapses in discipline or excessive zeal to win a case," Ogg said in a press release. "A prosecutor's special responsibility is to see that justice is done, not simply to win, and never do so illegally."While the sentiment expressed by Ogg is admirable, it oversimplifies things a bit. Not tolerating professional misconduct is a noble goal, and in this incident, both prosecutors involved in Yetman's trial were let go from the Office when Ogg took over. Their termination was certainly an example of Ogg sending a clear message that there are ramifications for prosecutors who push the envelope too far.
However, Ogg could have just as easily stated something along the lines of respecting the ruling of the trial court and 14th Court of Appeals, and dismissed the case. Her statement was far more broad than that.
My guess is that she made her statement because she is getting close to finally dismissing the case against David Temple, who is on the docket in the 178th District Court on Friday, May 5th. Despite finding multiple excuses to recuse the District Attorney's Office on multiple other cases for much less significant reasons, Ogg has still steadfastly refused to recuse herself from Temple, despite having at least two people in her upper echelon who directly worked on the case.
I predict that Ogg is going to harken back to her press release on the Yetman case and place her reasoning for the dismissal on Kelly Siegler's doorstep.
The problem with doing this is that it punishes the victim and the victim's family for acts attributed to a prosecutor. The scenario in Temple is completely different from the one in Yetman. In Yetman, Judge Bond found that the prosecutors believed themselves to be losing the case, so they deliberately caused a mistrial by making an inappropriate argument. In Temple, the Court of Appeals decided (in a split decision) that Temple deserved a new trial because Brady evidence was turned over in an untimely manner.
Temple was found guilty in trial and sentenced to Life in prison. No argument can be made that the prosecution deliberately violated the law to cause a mistrial because they believed they were losing. That would be the equivalent of arguing that James Harden should have been called for traveling in Monday's 122-76 blowout, and therefore, the Spurs were the actual winners of the game.
If Ogg is going to dismiss a case every time a prosecutor is found to have done something wrong in a reversal, she's going to be firing a lot of prosecutors and dismissing a lot of cases over the next four years. I don't foresee that really happening, because Ogg is smart enough to know that cases sometimes get reversed as part of the evolution of case law.
But I do predict that Ogg is going to be regurgitating her statement on Yetman in the near future. She wasn't talking about his case so much as she was providing foreshadowing of what she is about to do on Temple.