MADISON, Wis. (AP) — State prosecutors filed an appeal Friday of a federal judge’s decision overturning a Wisconsin man’s conviction for killing his wife with poison.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice has filed a notice of appeal in the Mark Jensen case with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
The state had 90 days to appeal a Dec. 18 ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge William Griesbach, who said Jensen, 54, was improperly tried 15 years ago in the death of his wife, Julie Jensen, because he couldn’t confront her about a letter she wrote implicating him as a primary suspect in the event she died. Julie Jensen suspected her husband was trying to kill her and gave the letter to her neighbor in Pleasant Prairie.
Julie Jensen died in 1998, and her husband was charged four years later. The case was slowed by a legal debate over whether the letter and her statements to others could be used in court, or whether that evidence would violate Jensen’s constitutional right to confront his accuser.
A county judge ultimately decided the letter was admissible. A jury convicted Jensen in 2008 and he was sentenced to life in prison.
Griesbach concluded the case didn’t meet the narrow specifications under which that constitutional right could be overlooked.
Julie Jensen had told neighbors and a doctor that she believed her husband had never forgiven her for an affair she had years earlier and that she suspected he wanted to kill her. She told police he was researching poisons on his computer.