At long last a court has taken seriously Jeffrey Wogenstahl’s claim that his trial was unfair!* The United States Court of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit has sent Jeff’s case back to the district court. The focus of the district court’s deliberation will be the State’s suppression of material in the original police file and its inaccurate statements misrepresenting hair analysis.
The Sixth Circuit Court ruling notes that the evidence suppressed or distorted by the State was impeaching. And the majority judges’ statement outlines the extent to which the State’s deception harmed Jeff at his trial:
“[C]onsidering the voluminous evidence casting considerable doubt on the credibility of Amber Garrett’s mother and brother and suggesting that they were implicated in her death, as well as the newly discovered scientific inaccuracies in the testimony regarding the hair analysis, Wogenstahl has made a prima facie showing that he can establish by clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable factfinder would have found him guilty.”
One of the three Sixth Circuit judges dissented without fuller discussion.
Nonetheless, nearly 24 years after his trial, Jeff has finally heard a court declare “no reasonable factfinder would have found him guilty.” And for the time being that is enough. Now is a moment to savor.