by Victor Lopez
ANDREWS COUNTY--Almost a year after Anne Mitchell was arrested and charged with misuse of official information, supposedly to harass a local doctor, an Andrews County jury said, that wasn't the case.
It's been a stressful and painful ordeal. Now, Mitchell and her attorneys say she's been vindicated. Even with everything she's been through, Anne stands her ground, saying what she's said all along, she was doing her duty as a nurse, "My duty never changed. I still have a duty to the patients."
Defense attorney John Cook chose not to put Mitchell on the stand. He decided to let the six man, six woman jury make their decision, based on the evidence they had been presented over the last three days.
"I'm thankful that we have the ability to take problems like this to a jury. I deeply believe in the jury system. I believe that there are certain things that we have that are too precious to trust to government," Cook said.
Mitchell totally agrees, "Our jury system obviously worked, right? In my case, it worked. I believe in that. I think when you tell the truth, you don't have to worry about it. You do the right thing."
Mitchell's former co-defendant Vicki Galle was in the courtroom every day, in support of her colleague and friend. Galle's case was dismissed just one week before the trial was set to begin.
According to Galle, "I feel vindicated now. Now that Anne has been found not guilty, everything is good."
Even though both his clients are in the clear, attorney Bryan Carney says this case is far from over. Mitchell and Galle have filed a civil suit of their own.
"There's a lot of things that are going to be discussed in that case. First and foremost we are going to take a deposition of the district attorney, who didn't have the guts to show up here and try this case. He had it come to trial and sent the county attorney over here to do that, without authority to act for the State of Texas," Carney said.
Facing up to 10 years behind bars, Mitchell says her confidence never waivered in the people she calls, her rock, "I was very confident in what was going on. I was very confident in my lawyers. I was confident in the fact that I told the truth. That's how it is. I have very deep faith, so I'm good."
The American Nurses Association issued a press release on Thursday. They say, "ANA is relieved and satisfied that Anne Mitchell was vindicated and found not guilty on these outrageous criminal charges. (Thursday's) verdict is a resounding win on behalf of patient safety in the U.S."