The State’s Blind Spot*

The State of Ohio has so far failed to acknowledge extensive, significant evidence that was unconstitutionally withheld from Jeffrey Wogenstahl and only recently obtained by him; the State instead chooses to quote the so-called legal “facts” of Jeff’s case that were decided in 1994.

Ohio’s apparent blind spot permeates its attempts to thwart Jeff’s quest for justice. Incredibly, it argues that Jeff should have raised his current claims earlier. The response is obvious:
‘Wogenstahl would have loved to have raised these claims in his prior state court and federal proceedings–the standard of relief to meet would have been lower, relief from an unconstitutional sentence could have been sooner, and Wogenstahl would surely not still be languishing on death row with an execution date looming over his head. The sole reason he did not raise these claims earlier is because the State hid this material.’

Separately, the State attempts to show that Jeff has already raised some of the claims before, and is thus barred from doing so again. But his current claims cannot be the same as any made previously, which lacked the specific evidence that is now available.

Ohio also argues that Jeff should have explained why he delayed in presenting his current claims; again, the answer seems obvious:
‘Once again, the State seems to fail to understand that it was the State that is to blame for this delay… Wogenstahl was indeed “unavoidably prevented” from discovering this material any sooner. Wogenstahl could not anticipate the State of Ohio’s gross violation of his constitutional rights in this death penalty case.’

Finally, the State argues that earlier court decisions cited “overwhelming evidence of guilt”. Jeff’s response is that previously courts were unable to access the critical evidence that has now been forced from the State.

As well as the suppressed evidence, Jeff points to a coroner expert’s affidavit and a report by a crime scene investigation expert, both of which support his claim that he did not murder Amber Garrett.

Jeff’s case is now revealed as “the epitome of a miscarriage of justice”. We trust the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas agrees.

*Information for this post is taken from: State of Ohio, Plaintiff Respondent v. Jeffrey Wogenstahl, Defendant-Petitioner. B 9206287. Reply to State_s Motion to Dismiss Successive Post-Conviction Petition, filed in The Court of Common Pleas, Hamilton County, Ohio. Filed May 2018. (Office of the Ohio Assistant Public Defender). Print.
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