KENOSHA, Wis. – Mark Jensen was convicted of killing his wife for a second time, but the case isn’t necessarily over.
Even before the first trial in 2008, the case and the evidence were heavily litigated.
The Supreme Court of Wisconsin ruled a letter from Julie Jensen pointing the finger at her husband shouldn’t have been allowed and granted Mark Jensen a new trial.
With a second conviction, a legal expert says we can expect an appeal, but not likely a reversal.
One of the longest-running cases in the state’s history is nearer to an end, but its mark on criminal justice hits across the country.
“I would be extremely surprised if this is anything but affirmed, but there will probably be an appeal, and it won’t be a non-frivolous appeal,” said Ion Meyn, University of Wisconsin Law School professor.
Meyn said because other courts already decided so many issues in the Jensen case, there are fewer issues for the defense to raise on appeal.
“Our trials are littered with error,” said Meyn.
While cases are often affirmed, decisions made by objective judges during an appeal while looking at the law provide important guidance for future trials, such as what evidence is allowed or not, like letters from beyond the grave, or how far you can go on cross -examination with jailhouse snitches.
“The trial court has to make tough decisions, and some of those decisions may be wrong,” said Meyn.
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While issues found on appeal may not reverse the jury’s decision in Mark Jensen’s case, Meyn said what’s found will have an impact on other cases in the justice system.
Even though Julie Jensen’s letter wasn’t allowed during the second trial, Meyn says if the case is appealed, prosecutors can raise the letter issue again.
“And that’s a nice leverage, from a pure point of view, to have because he won the case without it,” said Meyn.
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