News 08.08.11

Key Evidence Missing in Wisconsin Murder Case, Attorney Calls for Dismissal

One year after a Wisconsin man’s attempted murder conviction was thrown out and he was released from prison, his attorney wants the charges dismissed rather than a retrial because vital evidence has gone missing.

Cody Vandenberg spent 14 years in prison before his attorneys at the University of Wisconsin Law School Innocence Project called attention to new evidence in his case, and the state Court of Appeals overturned his 1996 conviction.

Although Vandenberg is scheduled for a jury trial next week on related charges involving the 1995 attempted murder conviction, his defense lawyer plans to move for a dismissal because important physical evidence has gone missing, reported the Greenbay Press-Gazette.

The Deputy District Attorney’s office is assessing what evidence has gone missing and what evidence remains, but Vandenberg’s attorney said even something seemingly insignificant could contain DNA evidence that would prove he wasn’t even present during the time of the attack. The new trial was originally granted because attorneys argued that evidence that was never presented during the first trail should be presented to a new jury. This includes evidence that the  the victim had a high blood alcohol level, which could have affected his identification of Vandenberg, as well as evidence that his co-defendant, who received immunity in exchange for testifying for the state, later allegedly admitted to the crime.

A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday on the motion to dismiss the case.


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