A federal appeals court ruled that Ted Oswald, convicted with his father in a 1994 Wisconsin crime spree that left a police captain dead, should be retried or released from prison because biased jurors prevented him from having a fair trial, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago upheld a trial judge’s ruling. The appellate court criticized Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher and the state Court of Appeals for disregarding apparent juror bias, warning, “A jury that decides guilt before the trial begins is but little better than a lynch mob.” The court said that, “Even a clearly guilty criminal is entitled to be tried before an impartial tribunal, something the jurors in this case may well have failed to understand.”
Bucher called the ruling “shocking, and I think it shakes the public’s confidence in our judicial system. If necessary, we will retry this self-admitted cop killer, hopefully with the same result.” Oswald’s appellate attorney, Jerome Buting, said the public should embrace the decision. “This should restore confidence in this community that we apply justice evenly to everyone no matter how disliked that person may be in the public eye,” Buting said. “It should have been done right the first time. It wasn’t. Oswald, 28, and his father, James Oswald, 59, were convicted in separate trials in 1995 of robbing a bank, carjacking vehicles, taking a hostage and gunning down Waukesha Police Capt. James Lutz on April 28, 1994.