Lead

Dec 21 13 6:46 PM

Tags : :

JSONLINE
 A federal judge in Wisconsin has vacated the conviction of a man sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife with antifreeze in Kenosha County 15 years ago.Mark D. Jensen was convicted of murdering his wife, Julie, after a highly publicized trial in 2008. He appealed the conviction first unsuccessfully in state courts and then took it to federal court.Chief U.S. District Judge William Griesbach issued a 33-page order Wednesday vacating the conviction, finding that Jensen's constitutional rights were violated during the trial.The ruling does not automatically mean Jensen will go free. Attorneys with the state Department of Justice, which has handled the case since sentencing, can appeal the order or file new charges against Jensen.In an email Thursday, Justice Department spokeswoman Dana Brueck wrote, "We're evaluating the order to determine our best responsive options, which may include an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit."Federal Defender Daniel Stiller, whose office handled the federal appeal, applauded Griesbach's decision."Mark Jensen always claimed his Sixth Amendment rights were violated," he said. "We are grateful to Judge Griesbach for his interpretation of the Sixth Amendment in this case."Griesbach said his order for Jensen's release would be stayed if prosecutors announce within 90 days their intention to appeal or to retry Jensen.If prosecutors refile charges without filing an appeal, they would have to try the case without the use of a so-called "voice from the grave" note used in the first trial.