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Temujin's Habeas Reversed!

It is with heavy hearts that PI inform you that the writ of habeas corpus, which granted Temujin Kensu relief from his 25 year old guilty verdict, was overturned by US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. (For those desiring to read the Opinion, you may download it at the end of this article.)

The Appeals Court disagreed with the lower court ruling based on four key factors:

First, one reason for granting a new trial was that Temujin was denied a constitutionally guaranteed defense. Evidence was found that Temujin's defense lawyer was using crack cocaine during the trial which impeded his judgment. But this did not move the justices. In looking over the trial, the justices felt that the decisions made by counsel were strategic and saw nothing that any other lawyer might not have also chosen to do.

Second, there was the "new evidence" of Michelle Wentworth's testimony that she was with Temujin in Escanaba over 300 miles away at the time of the murder, but was never called to testify. Temujin's lawyer had known about her willingness to testify and made a strategic choice not to call her as a witness, making it inadmissible as "new evidence".

Third, Temujin's own affidavit, that he was prevented by counsel to testify on his own behalf, is considered self-serving with no corroborating evidence in court record.

The fourth opinion of the court is the most distrurbing. A jailhouse snitch, by the name of Joplin, was the best "evidence" the prosecution could come up with. Years afterwards, Joplin recanted and said that he had been granted preferential treatment by the prosecutor's office if he would lie on the stand that Temujin had "confessed" to him about the murder. The Appeals Court's decision to not accept this recantation as admissible was based on the lack of a sworn affidavit by Joplin, despite the existence of a video interview by Bill Proctor in which he recounts the entire lurid story.

This is another painful example of the courts favoring process over substance. They have a video confession of Joplin's admission of perjury on the stand; perjury which was promoted by the prosecutor's office. Yet, because they do not have a written statement signed by Joplin, they are willing to let this man spend the rest of his life in prison for a crime he did not commit. Our hearts go out to Temujin, his wife A'miko, and to all those who have labored so hard for so many years to see justice in this case. May they have the strength to live with this injustice that no American citizen should have to face.

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In 2012 Ken Wyniemko was a special guest of Richard Bernstein, who served as co-host with the late Angelo Henderson on 1200 AM Detroit Radio. This segment of the show was dedicated to understanding wrongful convictions and what can be done to free the wrongfully convicted and prevent others from this fate.

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For Those Desiring PI to look at Your Case


At this point in our development, PI is only taking on cases in cooperation with other innocence projects. If you have been wrongfully convicted and your case involves DNA evidence, we recommend you contact the Cooley Innocence Project at Western Michigan Cooley Law School. If your case does not involve DNA, please contact the Michigan Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School. A third member of the Innocence Network is SADO, the State Appelate Defense Organization. For cases outside of Michigan, here is a list of innocence projects by state.