Judges Don’t Care

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.

*See 14.35 of video clip on Ohioans to Stop Executions website:
“The one thing that I always asked, all 33 times I went there, ‘Did the system get it right?’ And everybody says, ‘Well, Mr Collins, this guy’s had 27 judges look at this case’.

And you know what? Those 27 judges didn’t care about anything other than was the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed. Was the procedures granted? They didn’t care whether there was new evidence whether the person was guilty or not guilty – they didn’t care about any of that. They cared about whether the process was carried out.
I don’t know for a fact that anybody that I ever witnessed be executed was not guilty. But statistical data would say that there’s a good probability of that.”
†Descriptions of the prosecution’s misconduct by federal judge, Judge Karen Moore. See State v. Wogenstahl. 07-4285. United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. February 2012. Pages 48-49 (Moore, J., concurring). uscourts. Web. August 24 2014
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