The Ottumwa Courier


May 7, 2013

Techel attorney files objections on retrial venue, judicial prejudice


Gardner also filed a motion to restrict law enforcement's use of Facebook, Twitter and other electronic communication to influence public opinion and juror behavior, specifically citing and admitting copies of tweets by Wapello County Sheriff reserve officer and Wapello County Jail administrator Jeremy Weller. Weller was called to testify throughout the trial but was also present outside the courtroom providing security.

"During the course of the trial, members of the Wapello County Sheriff's Department and Wapello County Sheriff's Reserve communicated publicly by Facebook/Twitter and other electronic means of communication to attempt to inflame public passion and prejudice and attempt to influence proposed juror panelists and the inpaneled jury herein," Gardner wrote.

He also filed a motion to change the judge from Judge Daniel Wilson, of District 8A, to the "Chief Judge of the Eighth Judicial District," due to alleged prejudice of Wilson, citing 11 incidents during the first trial, including failing "to strike for cause jurors who had formed and expressed an opinion as to the guilt of [Techel]," allowing the state to introduce evidence previously deemed inadmissible and more. Currently, Mary Ann Brown serves as the chief judge of the Eighth Judicial District.

He also filed a motion in limine, requesting that state prosecutors be admonished for violating ABA Standards for Criminal Justice.

Prior to the trial, the state filed a motion in limine to prohibit the defense from mentioning the death of Brian Tate (a neighbor of the Techels that the defense suggested could have been responsible for Lisa's death), saying it was "without evidentiary support and prejudicial to the state."

In his motion, Gardner wrote that the state then contradicted its own motion during closing arguments, when it argued "that the death of Brian Tate was 'caused by the defense.'" He said the state's conduct was done "with the intent to cultivate bias in the jury, deny [Techel] a right to an impartial jury and inflame the jurors deepest prejudices."

Techel's retrial is currently scheduled to begin on Aug. 12 in Henry County.

To follow Chelsea Davis on Twitter, head to @ChelseaLeeDavis.


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