After Failed State Appeals, Alleged Murderer’s Petition for Relief Denied by Federal Judge

In March of 2006, Ronald Wenman was convicted of felony murder in a case involving Walgreens clerk Patti Jo Morris. Wenman allegedly slashed Morris’ throat while holding up the Walgreens pharmacy in August of 2005.

Wenman was sentenced to life in prison, and has had his appeals for relief denied by the Michigan Court of Appeals. Now, U.S. District Judge Sean F. Cox has denied Wenman’s relief motion.

Habeas corpus is the right of detained Americans to challenge their imprisonment. Wenman petitioned the federal court in Detroit for habeas corpus following his failed state appeals, claiming ineffective counsel, an “impermissibly suggestive” photo line-up, and that he is innocent of the crime. According to Wenman, a witness was shown a photo line-up in which he was the only individual wearing an orange jail uniform. A news article at states that Wenman is a parolee and career criminal.

Wenman also submitted a copy of a police report in his efforts to argue his claim that he is innocent of the murder. The police report indicated that investigators were told by a parolee that a prostitute and two other men committed the robberies which included Walgreens and a grocery store that was robbed hours prior to the murder of the clerk, another robbery Wenman was accused of. The federal judge’s ruling said that Wenman’s innocence is not demonstrated because of the fact police considered other suspects.

Wenman was incarcerated in the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, where he remains.

Michigan criminal appeals attorneys are very familiar with a “2255 petition,” or petition for writ of habeas corpus. Essentially, this is a request on behalf of a prisoner (may also be a judge or individual held in detention) to be brought to court by prison officials in order to determine whether that individual may have been imprisoned unlawfully.

It is critical that those who feel they have grounds to appeal a conviction or sentencing consult with an experienced Michigan criminal appeals lawyer, one who is thoroughly knowledgeable in the appeals process and who has a winning track record.

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