Thursday, March 14, 2013
Striking down a petition from notorious Spokane serial killer Robert Lee Yates, the state Supreme Court this morning dismissed his 25 legal complaints on a "host of legal issues."
Court records show Yates had filed a personal restraint position on 25 grounds, alleging ineffective counsel, juror bias and improper court operations. The court rejected all claims.
"Yates has failed to establish any meritorious claims," the ruling states. "We therefore dismiss Yates's personal restraint petition."
Yates terrorized the Spokane area throughout the 1990s, targeting prostitutes and others. After his arrest in 2000, he admitted to 13 murders and one attempted murder. He was later convicted of killing two Tacoma prostitutes and sentenced to death row in Walla Walla.
In his recent court petition, Yates alleges trial proceedings had violated his constitutional rights in several ways. He made complaints against the jury selection process, public access and counsel representations.
"None of Yate's claims of error clearly merit either oral review by this court or a reference hearing," the Supreme Court ruling states.
Yates's petition also faults his attorney for not emphasizing his cooperation with Spokane authorities. He argues he pleaded guilty and provided details of his crimes to investigators.
The state Supreme Court rejected those claims as well.
"Yates makes no argument that trial counsel's failure to emphasize such evidence was not the product of strategic thinking," the opinion states, adding, "[C]ounsel might have sought to avoid emphasizing the additional murders Yates had committed."
The newly released court opinion can be read here.