Dear friends and family,
Many of you were in the courtroom on Thursday, August 23 to witness the dismissal of Ed & Peter’s case and the end of a very long struggle. This is a message from them along with the official press release from the Northern California Innocence Project. Please share their story to give others in their same situation strength and hope. Thank you for all your support and prayers!
“We are thankful and grateful to God, our families, friends, our legal team and supporters! Six years and four months ago, our son, Benjamin died. He was still two but had had nearly a hundred doctors appointments, tests and hospital admissions in Taiwan and the U.S., and was being fed largely by g-tube in his last months. Despite his condition, Butte County children’s services took our other 2 children away from us, claiming that we were responsible for his death. As we fought to get them back, we were charged for the death of our son and went to jail. Many months later, Mikaela and Jonathan were returned and the custody case was dismissed.
And today, after 6 years and 4 months, our family can begin to heal from Benjamin’s death and the traumatic years that have followed.
There are so to thank for all your support, prayers and love!
Our lawyers – who always believed in our innocence. Victor Haltom, Aaron Meyer, and Paige Kaneb of the Northern California Innocence Project. In the custody proceedings, also Christine Zebley, Myra Bailey, John Duree and Erin Radekin. We are deeply indebted to the behind the scenes and the hundreds of hours of work by the Northern California Innocence Project, led by their director, Linda Starr, and the indefatigable Heather Kirkwood. We know that we are not the only innocent parents and caretakers who have faced these charges and we hope to help others in the near future.
We are also deeply grateful to all those who have stood beside us, in front and behind us, surrounding us with their love and strength. You have been at our hearings, cooked us meals, helped us take care of our home and our kids, donated towards our expenses, and given us shoulders to cry on and ears with empathy and love. While many of our friends, old and new, are here today to share in this wonderful moment, we do not forget those who have passed away during this long journey – including Peter’s partner, Gary More, who put up their home for Peter’s bond; Peter’s mother, Lucille, who died waiting for this day; and many patients, who stood by us just as we have stood by them through many of the most difficult moments of their lives.
We are eternally grateful to all of you!
Ed & Peter
If you want to help others who are going through what Ed & Peter have gone through please check out:
NCIP press release update:
Edelyn and Peter along with their attorneys were back in court on October 27, 2017 to provide the Judge with an update on each side’s preparation for trial. Edelyn and Peter’s attorneys continue to work towards a clear verdict of “not guilty” and the realization of justice in a case that should never have gone to trial. Thanks to all of their supporters who were able to show up in person and visibly demonstrate the community’s on-going belief in Peter and Edelyn’s innocence.
The next status conference will be on January 4, 2018 at 1:30 pm at the Butte County Court. No firm date has been set for trial yet but the judge has indicated that she is interested in possibly a mid-May 2018 timeframe.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the friends, community, and family for your steadfast support, love, and blessings on the family. Because of you, Mikaela and Jon continue to have their loving parents with them as every child should and were able to spend the Christmas season together with their families. You make all the difference in letting Peter and Edelyn know that they haven’t been forgotten as they continue to fight these false charges. If you’re able to help further by contributing to the legal costs, please go to http://yhipinnocence.com/
For those who can be at the court in person, please make sure you allow enough time to park and get through security and be seated by 1:25 pm. You don’t have to say anything – just being there will demonstrate your support. The address is: 1 Court St., Oroville, CA 95965
Thank you in advance to everyone who can be there.
Thanks to all of our wonderful friends and loved ones who were able to attend the hearing on July 12, 2017 in person and to demonstrate your support for Edelyn and Peter and their family. We know that many more of you would have been there if at all possible and your thoughts and prayers are also so very important to the Yhips.
On July 12th, 2017, the newly assigned judge on Edelyn and Peter’s case held a discovery hearing. This was the first opportunity for them and their counsel to meet the judge. The current lead for the Butte County District Attorney’s office was not in court but two of her colleagues represented the County. The judge indicated her interest in having the trial go forward as scheduled in October and is strongly encouraging both the Yhips and the District Attorney’s office to ensure that the expert witnesses are prepared for that timeframe.
The next hearing will be on August 29, 2017 at 1:30 pm at the same Butte County courthouse.
Peter and Edelyn continue to prepare for the trial even though this case should never have been pursued against these loving parents. Your thoughts and steadfast support mean the world to them and your belief in their innocence keeps them going.
On June 19, the California Supreme Court issued an order to the Appellate Court, Third District, instructing the Appellate Court to direct the Butte County Superior Court to show why the Yhips’ petition to dismiss the criminal charges should not be granted. (Please see the January 2014 update for information on the Butte County Superior Court’s ruling).
The California Supreme Court has directed the State to show cause why the criminal charges against Edelyn and Peter should not be dismissed. The State will most likely be represented by the California Attorney General’s Office in an effort to make the showing required by the California Supreme Court. Although it is unlikely, the Attorney General technically could decide to throw in the towel. Most likely, however, the Attorney General will file a brief in the California Court of Appeal, advancing an argument that the Butte County District Attorney’s Office should be allowed to proceed ahead with its criminal charges and have those charges decided by a jury, despite the fact that the factual basis for the State’s charges has already been presented to and rejected by a Butte County Superior Court judge.
It appears that the California Supreme Court is looking for the Butte County Supreme Court to provide a written, reasoned decision describing the reason for not granting Peter and Edelyn’s petition for the criminal charges to be dropped.
It is very rare for the Supreme Court to take action on appeals submitted to them. While the Supreme Court’s action is reason to hope, the Order unfortunately does not mean that a decision will be reached quickly. It is more likely than not that there will be delays before a final decision on whether the DA will continue their efforts to prosecute Peter and Edelyn, alleging that Benjamin died as a result of child abuse – contrary to Judge Howell’s finding that during the dependency trial that “there was abundant evidence that each parent was nothing other than a concerned, loving and appropriate parent to all children” and returning Mikaela and Jonathan to Edelyn and Peter’s loving care. Given the Order, it is also more likely than not that the currently scheduled trial date in October will be delayed. We will provide updates as they become available.
In the meantime Edelyn, Peter, Mikaela, and Jonathan continue to need your support. The community’s – your – support has been incredible and heart-warming and they greatly appreciate your continued belief in their innocence. Please continue to let them know that they aren’t alone. Please go to the Support Our Cause page to find out how you can support this family.
Edelyn and Peter Yhip live with their children in Chico, California. For this loving couple, being a family meant having children. In 2005, they became the proud parents of their daughter, Mikaela, who was adopted from an orphanage in China. After a few years with their beautiful young girl, they had an opportunity to adopt twin boys, Benjamin and Jonathan, from Taiwan in the November, 2010.
In the painful days following Benjamin’s death, the Butte County DA accused Peter and Edelyn of causing their son’s death. The DA’s unsubstantiated theory is that Benjamin died as a result of abusive head trauma, the new name for shaken baby syndrome (SBS). The medical and research community questions the existence of SBS. Butte County Children’s Services litigators tried this case in Juvenile Dependency court and lost even though they were only required to prevail by the preponderance of the evidence. Superior Court Judge Stephen J. Howell, the judge who ruled in Juvenile Dependency case, had this to say about Peter and Edelyn:
“… I have also considered that there is no person who has come forward to state that either parent inflicted the force alleged to have caused Benjamin’s death.
To the contrary, I have heard the abundant evidence that each parent … was nothing other than a concerned, loving, and appropriate parent to all three children.
I’ve also considered there’s a large body of evidence which suggests that Benjamin died due to extreme illness as opposed to criminal agency. I have also considered that the parents at all times sought appropriate medical treatment for Benjamin and, hence, Benjamin did not die due to neglect of the parents in seeking medical treatment.
One benefit to this Court in having the trial take as long as it did — and that’s without any blame attacking to any party or attorney — is that the Court has had an opportunity to observe the parents and to rule on numerous motions to expand visitation of Jonathan and Mikaela to the point where the Court returned the children over a month ago.”
Edelyn and Peter’s son Benjamin died as a result of medical conditions they sought treatment for many times. His physicians and several expert witnesses agree. The presiding judge in the Juvenile Dependency case agrees. Instead of being allowed to grieve as parents who lost a beloved son, the Butte County District Attorney has continued its harassment. The Butte County DA’s second attempt to prosecute this innocent family is wrong.
We, the friends and supporters of Peter and Edelyn, are taking a stand against this injustice. Learn more about this case and join our cause.