Coleman seeks reversal


Christopher Coleman  filed a motion Nov. 25  requesting the court to reverse and remand a ruling by Judge Stephen McGlynn in April, thus giving him a new trial. 

“(Coleman) asserts that all standards have been met illustrating that the defendant’s constitutional rights have been violated in regards to a fair trial,” Coleman wrote in the filing. “It is further asserted that if the court finds that the claim has been substantiated that further hearings on this claim would place an undo burden on the court and the public involved.” 

Coleman is currently serving three concurrent life sentences in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections after being convicted in 2011 of the May 5, 2009 murders of his wife, Sheri, and two sons, Garret, 11, and Gavin, 9, in Columbia. 

At an evidentiary hearing at the Monroe County Courthouse, McGlynn ruled that metadata attached to the backs of four photographs seen by jurors during the 2011 trial showing Coleman and his mistress, Tara Lintz, was not extraneous. Therefore, it could not be considered prejudicial and did not violate Coleman’s constitutional rights. 

Metadata is information about other data. In this case, it includes items such as dates when photographs were taken or modified that seem to contract the timeline the defense outlined for Coleman’s affair with Lintz. 

Last April, Coleman filed a post conviction petition arguing he received ineffective counsel and denial of due process, among other claims. If that petition is granted, Coleman could receive a new trial in Monroe County.

McGlynn ruled against Coleman in April after three police officers involved in the case testified the metadata, which was on the back of larger photographs entered as evidence, was always present. 

Through his attorney at the time, Lloyd Cueto, Coleman argued he had not been confronted with the metadata at trial and had no opportunity to refute it. 

Jurors interviewed after the trial said a time stamp inconsistency between the metadata and the photos used at trial turned the tide toward a unanimous guilty verdict. 

In this filing, Coleman makes the same arguments, saying he has already substantiated the claim that his rights were violated, which warrants a new trial. 

“Had this unadmitted evidence been testified to in open court, a question to its validity could have been raised, along with the scope of its implications,” the filing states. 

With this filing, there are a trio of issues in the Coleman case that are waiting for a resolution. 

Coleman filed a motion Sept. 23 to represent himself in the proceedings because he said he has had numerous issues with his attorneys over the last 3.5 years. 

There has not yet been a ruling on that motion. 

Additionally, at that April evidentiary hearing, McGlynn decided he wanted another hearing on the matter of Coleman having ineffective counsel. 

That hearing will focus on why Coleman’s lawyers did not object to the inclusion of the metadata and why they did not develop an argument regarding fingerprint evidence on the outside of a window at the Coleman residence and on a digital video recorder faceplate found along the side of the highway.

Fingerprints on both surfaces did not match Coleman’s.

The date for that evidentiary hearing has also not been set. 

Monroe County State’s Attorney Chris Hitzemann declined to comment on Coleman’s latest motion because he will present his thoughts at a later hearing and does not want to potentially jeopardize anything. 

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