Ortega, Jr. v. State, Minn.S.Ct., 11/19/2014. Mr. Ortega, Jr. filed this post conviction petition which claimed that some of the state’s witnesses had recanted their trial testimony. A bit more about the circumstances of this murder conviction are available here. In support of his petition, Mr. Ortega, Jr. submitted an affidavit which said that another of the state’s witnesses had regretted the way he had testified, and had felt pressured to put more blame on Mr. Ortega, Jr. than he deserved. Also, the affidavit said that this other witness said that Mr. Ortega, Jr. had acted in self defense.
The post conviction court denied the petition without a hearing. Chief Justice Gildea, for the full court, affirms. The court concludes that Mr. Ortega, Jr. had not shown that it might have made a difference to the jury’s verdict if the recanted testimony had not been presented at trial. This is because the court believed that there was “significant additional evidence” of Mr. Ortega, Jr.’s guilt.