According to Terry Collins, the former Director of the Ohio Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, “[judges don’t] care whether there is new evidence whether the person is guilty or not guilty”.* Jeffrey Wogenstahl’s experience appears to support this. For instance, just before Christmas 2015 the Hamilton County Court of Appeals dismissed the significance of new evidence that FBI expert hair testimony given at Jeff’s trial was flawed.
The court’s decision neglected to address the pivotal role of the prosecutor in presenting the hair testimony as inculpatory: after improperly vouching for the expert, the prosecutor conveyed not the slightest doubt to the jurors when he told them,
“He said that is Wogenstahl’s hair”.
In failing to challenge the prosecutor’s false certainty about the hair’s origin, the appeal court judges circumvented the need to evaluate the impact of his erroneous statement on the jury, in a case where other evidence was exceedingly thin.
The judges also avoided any pressure to consider the new evidence in the light of known ‘plain and plentiful’, ‘wholly improper’† prosecutorial misconduct at Jeff’s trial. “If this was yet another example of misconduct”, they could have asked, “how deep did it go?” They might then have questioned why the single pubic hair was found on the victim’s underwear a week before the trial, but had not been present a year previously, when the underwear had been thoroughly examined, scraped and closely inspected by a Hamilton County forensic specialist.
The Hamilton court’s ruling will be appealed. It is our sincere hope that the Ohio Supreme Court will expose the flaws in the lower court’s decision. Jeff deserves no less.