Monday, February 19, 2018

KYSC - Yates - prosecutorial vindictiveness

Yatesv. Commonwealth, 2015-SC-504, to be published
Incest, Unlawful Transaction with a minor, use of a minor in a sexual performance, unlawful imprisonment, first-degree sexual abuse. 70 year sentence.

This case involves a re-trial following the Kentucky Supreme Court’s reversal and remand of the case to the trial court. The Commonwealth added four additional counts to the indictment without receiving any new evidence to justify the counts. The Court found a reasonable probability of prosecutorial vindictiveness and reversed the convictions for incest, use of a minor in a sexual performance, and unlawful imprisonment and remanded to the circuit court with instructions to dismiss those charges. However, Yates’s conviction for unlawful transaction with a minor and first-degree sexual abuse remain.

The Court found sufficient evidence to overcome a directed verdict motion on the unlawful transaction with a minor charge. Further, re-trying Mr. Yates on this charge, despite a finding of acquittal as a lesser included offense of rape, did not violate double jeopardy. The victim’s mother’s testimony vouching for the victim’s credibility was harmless error.

Contributed by Euva Blandford