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Supreme Court denies Mereness' appeal

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Mike DuPre'
February 29, 2008
— The Wisconsin Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal of William J. Mereness, a former Janesville resident convicted of murdering his estranged wife in 2002.

Mereness was sentenced to life in prison in 2003 for murdering Jennifer Judge, a well-liked Spanish teacher at Janesville Craig High School.


Mereness appealed the conviction, but the Wisconsin District 4 Court of Appeals rejected his arguments. The state Supreme Court has refused to hear the case, making the U.S. Supreme Court the final possible appellate court to overturn Mereness’ conviction.


The Janesville Gazette was unable to reach Mereness’ attorney—Philip Brehm of Janesville—for comment.


The 4th District Appellate Court ruled in November that despite an improper admission of a police officer’s statements as evidence, there was enough other evidence to support Mereness’ conviction for first-degree intentional homicide.


In his testimony, the police officer repeated statements he said were made by Mereness’ mother, LaBelle, before she died. The officer testified LaBelle Mereness told him her son admitted to killing Judge.


The 4th District Appellate Court also rejected arguments that Mereness shouldn’t have been cross-examined about creating a false check in a divorce proceeding seven years before his wife’s murder and that the trial should have been moved to another county because of pre-trial publicity.



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