Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Richard K. Cook: Nebraska; (Case involves disgraced former crime scene investigator David Kofoed); Omaha World-Herald reporter Joe Duggan zeroes in on the question before the court: 'Was planted evidence essential in murder suspect's conviction?'

STORY: "Question before high court: Was planted evidence essential in murder suspect's conviction?," by reporter Joe Duggan, published by  the Omaha World-Herald on January 7, 2014.

GIST: "The work of a disgraced former crime scene investigator for Douglas County came under scrutiny again Wednesday when another convicted killer asked the Nebraska Supreme Court to revisit his case. During oral arguments Wednesday, the judges repeatedly circled back to a key question: Even if David Kofoed planted the victim’s blood in the suspect’s vehicle, was it the evidence that ultimately convicted Richard K. Cook? His attorney, Jerry Soucie of Lincoln, said failing to fully investigate the possibility of planted evidence in a murder conviction taints the integrity of the entire criminal justice system. “I don’t think you should establish a standard that says law enforcement can plant evidence, but if there’s other evidence, so what,” Soucie said. “I don’t think it’s no harm, no foul.” Cook is asking the Supreme Court to order an evidentiary hearing so his allegations against Kofoed can be aired. Assistant Attorney General Erin Tangeman, who represented the state Wednesday, said the jury’s decision came down not to blood evidence collected by Kofoed, but rather whose testimony was more credible.........Kofoed, the longtime director of Douglas County’s Crime Scene Investigation Unit, was convicted of felony evidence tampering in a 2006 Murdock double-homicide that contributed to the wrongful prosecution of two innocent men. The men successfully sued Kofoed, winning damages of $6.5 million Kofoed was fired from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and was last living in North Carolina. The Supreme Court has granted evidentiary hearings in two other Kofoed cases. One involves the conviction of Christopher Edwards for murdering his girlfriend with a sword in 2006. In the other, Ivan Henk, was convicted of killing his 4-year-old son in 2003.

The entire story can be found at:

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