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USA v. Peterson, et al. Trial, Motion to Dismiss

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MARCH 1 1999 FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS.

HOUSTON DIVISION

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CRIM. NO. H-97-237

V

JUDITH PETERSON, Ph.D. (1)
RICHARD E. SEWARD, M.D. (2)
GEORGE JERRY MUECK (3)
GLORIA KERAGA, M.D. (4)
SYLVIA DAVIS, M.S.W. (5)

GOVERNMENT’S MOTION TO DISMISS INDICTMENT

T0 THE HONORABLE EWING WERLEIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE:

COMES NOW the United States of America, by and through James H. Deatley, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, and by the undersigned Assistant United States Attorney, and files this Motion to Dismiss the Indictment on grounds as follows:

I

LENGTH OF TRIAL

After a careful review of the length of the previous tria1 in this case (approximately five and one half months), and after consideration of all relevant factors involved in re-trying the case, the United States is of the opinion that it would take approximately seven (7) months to complete a re-trial. The evidence is simply too complex, in the opinion of the Government counsel, to present the case in a less time-consuming or "stream-lined" manner.

II

JUDICIAL ECONOMY

A re-trial would require a District Judge, a courtroom and staff for another seven months; the total commitment of these resources for more than a year (first trial and re-trial) would not be economical, given all of the circumstances. This would be a clear burden on the public’s already crowded federal criminal justice resources in one of the busiest federal districts in the country.

The United States committed a substantial amount of time and resources in trying this case. The costs associated in retrial of the case would be equally substantial. The United States would be required in a re-trial to bear the costs associated with transporting, housing and paying witness fees for many out-of-state witnesses [and in one instance a witness from half-way around the world]. The facts of the case detailed in the indictment are simply too complicated to present in a less costly or time consuming manner.

III

VICTIM WITNESS CONSIDERATIONS

To retry the case would require the patient/victims and related family members to testify. The United States believes this would be an additional burden that would not serve the better interests of these patient/victims; this is clearly the most important consideration in the decision to not try this case again. Significantly, the U.S. Congress has clearly expressed its view that victims of crimes should be treated with "fairness and with respect to the victim’s dignity and privacy". Victim’s Rights, Title 42 United States Code Section 10606 f5 /J.

To ask witnesses again to come and undertake a public airing of their mental health histories, their family problems and other very personal details, particularly with an unrelenting cross-examination designed to lay bare old wounds, would be unfair. Because of the nature and content of their testimony, these witnesses did not originally undertake the task of testifying without some agony, and the United States should not ask these witnesses to suffer through the anguish of the tria1 process again.

CONCLUSION

WHEREFORE, Premises Considered, the United States moves this Honorable Court to dismiss the Indictment against all defendants in the interest of judicial economy, the interests of the pursuit of justice and in the interest of fairness to all of the victim/patients and related family members.

Respectfully submitted, James H. Deatley.

By

Larry Eastepp
Assistant U. S. Attorney
Houston, Texas

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