Judge Wynn, of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond Virginia has said that it would be “more humane” to allow condemned Ivan Teleguz to present new evidence against his questionable conviction.
In 2006, Teleguz, a Ukrainian living in the US, was convicted and sentenced to death for hiring two other men, Hetrick and Gilkes to kill a former girlfriend. Since then, new information has come to light suggesting that he is innocent. Jurors who convicted Mr Teleguz were never told significant information exonerating Mr Teleguz and implicating others, and the witnesses who provided the existing statement, which provide the basis for the prosecution’s evidence, have since admitted that they lied, following pressure from the authorities and a bargain to reduce the sentences for their own crimes.
Despite the apparent miscarriage in justice which led to Teleguz receiving the ultimate punishment for a crime it appears he may not have committed, Judge Wynn has met opposition from the state prosecutors who argue that a strict interpretation of criminal procedural rules prevents the presentation of new evidence. The Senior Assistant Attorney General for Virginia, argued that even evidence of actual innocence could not be enough to save Mr Teleguz. She maintained that the evidence could not be considered unless it came directly from a particular constitutional violation, and because the witness recantations were not the product of a constitutional violation, they were irrelevant, she argued.
Sophie Walker, from human rights charity Reprieve, said:
The case of Ivan Teleguz, and the flimsy evidence that may lead to his execution is similar to that of British grandmother Linda Carty, also on death row despite reasonable doubt in the evidence against her. Support for the death penalty in America is at its lowest since the 1970s, cases like that of Teleguz are sure to question the country's most controversial legislation, still maintained in 33 states.