Court of Appeals reverses Blankenburg decision - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Court of Appeals reverses Blankenburg decision

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Mark Blankenburg Mark Blankenburg

The Twelfth District Court of Appeals has reversed a decision of the Butler County Common Pleas Court denying Dr. Mark Blankenburg's petition for postconviction relief.

Blankenburg, a former pediatrician who was convicted in 2009 of multiple sex offenses, filed a petition for  postconviction relief with the trial court, arguing that his conviction should be vacated due to the alleged bias of one of the jurors which was unknown at the time of trial.  

The trial court denied Blankenburg's petition without a hearing, finding that Blankenburg could have made this argument during his initial appeal.

On appeal to the Twelfth District, Blankenburg argued that the trial court improperly denied the petition, as Blankenburg was unaware of the bias of the juror until after his trial and after he had initially appealed his case to the Twelfth District.  

Blankenburg pointed to two affidavits attached to his petition from coworkers of the allegedly biased juror which were dated over a year after his original trial date and appeal.

In a unanimous decision, Judge Robert P. Ringland reversed the judgment of the trial court. Judge Ringland determined that a hearing should have been held on the petition to determine the credibility of Blankenburg's arguments and evidence. Presiding Judge Stephen  W. Powell and Judge Robert A. Hendrickson concurred in the opinion.

The case is now being sent back to the trial court for further proceedings. A hearing date has not been announced.

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