Shadow of Execution Date Lifted

Jeffrey Wogenstahl has been granted an indefinite stay of execution by the Ohio Supreme Court (see Supreme Court of Ohio Case Announcements October 24, 2018):
1995-0042. State v. Wogenstahl.
Hamilton App. No. C-930222. On appellant’s motion to reopen direct appeal. Motion denied. Appellant’s amended motion for clarification granted. Appellant’s amended motion for extension of stay of execution granted. The stay shall remain in effect until exhaustion of all state postconviction proceedings, including any appeals.
French, J., would grant appellant’s motion to reopen.
O’Connor, C.J., and Kennedy, J., would deny appellant’s amended motion for clarification and appellant’s amended motion for extension of stay of execution.
O’Donnell, J., would deny appellant’s amended motion for extension of stay of execution.
Donna J. Carr, J., of the Ninth District Court of Appeals, sitting for Fischer, J.
Eileen T. Gallagher, J., of the Eighth District Court of Appeals, sitting for DeWine, J.

The announcement acknowledges the clear message from the Sixth Circuit Court last month, which noted that Jeff’s trial was significantly flawed:
[T]he State suppressed the material in the original police file and made inaccurate statements misrepresenting the hair analysis.”
The opinion of the Sixth Circuit Court is that Jeff will be able to demonstrate in a court that no reasonable juror would have found him guilty.

We trust that this will also be the opinion of the Ohio Southern District Court, which is now considering the evidence that Jeff has presented.

The Ohio Supreme Court has unfortunately also denied Jeff’s motion which claimed that Ohio relied on a flawed statute to allow itself jurisdiction to try him. This decision will be appealed.

Despite the delays and setbacks for Jeff, we are very happy that he is no longer living under the shadow of an execution date. Life on death row is endlessly traumatic, but this news will make it a little less so. And for that we are grateful.

This post was amended on November 5, 2018, to include the wording of the Supreme Court of Ohio Case Announcement.

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