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Iowa Supreme Court won't hear Techel appeal

Seth Techel in court during his third trial./KTVO

The case of convicted murderer Seth Tech has reached the end of the appeals process.

On Thursday, the Iowa Supreme Court included Techel's appeal on the list of cases it has declined to review.

Techel was convicted in July 2014 of killing his pregnant wife Lisa Caldwell Techel in the couple's Agency home.

His conviction came after two previous trials ended in hung juries.

Techel's legal team appealed the conviction resulting from the third trial.

That appeal was centered on evidence that Lisa Techel was having an affair prior to her death.

Earlier this summer, the Iowa Court of Appeals declined to grant Techel a new trial.

This likely ends the Techel case, but there still one avenue open for the defense.

According to a spokesman for the Iowa Attorney General, Techel could ask the court to reconsider its refusal to hear his appeal.

Wapello County Attorney Gary Oldenburger tells KTVO that he would like to think the Techel case is over, but that might not be so.

Oldenburger said that the defense does have some options under what are considered Post-Conviction Relief Proceedings.

Here is how Oldenburger explained it in an email....

"Usually, after the appeals are over, there is the opportunity for post-conviction relief (PCR) proceedings, which are usually based on claims of ineffectiveness of counsel. These claims are not usually handled during the direct appeal process. In Techel’s case, however, the court did address his claims of ineffectiveness of counsel based on failure of his counsel to object to alleged prosecutorial misconduct. In this case, they seem to indicate that there was no misconduct, but in any case, decided there was not ineffective assistance of counsel. The problem is, that defendants who are going to spend a lot of time in prison devote a lot of time to thinking of ways their lawyer could have done better. If he thinks of other errors that he believes his counsel made, he can still file for post-conviction relief based on other grounds not decided by the court of appeals during the appeal process. There is a three-year limitation, though. So for the next three years, he can file for PCR. And even sometimes after that, PCR proceedings can be filed based on newly-discovered evidence or some other rare circumstances. And then if he loses his PCR, he can appeal that also. So these things can sometimes drag on for several years," Oldenburger said.

Techel is currently serving a life sentence. He is ineligible for parole.


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