Today, November 23, 2020, Jeffrey Wogenstahl turns 60. He never celebrates his birthday: it’s too harsh a reminder that soon after his 31st birthday, someone murdered a little girl that he knew. Amber Garrett’s body was found in Bright, Indiana, clothed in her red Sunday church dress.
Turning 60 is especially bitter for Jeff: he is reminded that he has spent the years between 31 and 60 fighting to get a judge to recognise his innocence. And for most of that time he‘s been incarcerated, and living under the threat of death.
Finally, two years ago, the United States Court of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit noted the prosecutors’ extensive misconduct at Jeff’s trial (suppression of material and misrepresentation of hair analysis). The judges concluded that the original court should revisit the case, in light of the “clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable factfinder would have found [Jeff] guilty.”
The Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, where Jeff was tried, and where his case has now returned, will soon have a new judge. Judge Patrick Dinkelacker, Jeff’s trial judge, was voted out earlier this month, to be replaced by Judge Christian Jenkins. We hope that Judge Jenkins’s fresh appraisal of Jeff’s case will allow him to see more clearly the many anomalies within it.
We wish Jeffrey Wogenstahl a peaceful 60th birthday.