Thursday, May 21, 2009

Appeal Update

So, the appellate process is very different than a trial. It is very slow and requires tremendous patience and calm. One thing I’ve learned is that deadlines are not really deadlines. Meaning, if something is due on a certain day, and you’re not done, you can always get a brand new deadline. I wish college and graduate school were like that. Many deadlines have come and pass and we have just now received the State’s response to our appellate points. These are points that question whether any of Judge Volland’s decisions strayed from the rules of the game. We are confident we have found examples that are pretty clear cut. But, we wait.

Now it is our turn to answer the State. Then comes oral arguments and the last part is the three-judge decision. This can take some time. We have patience and hope. There are some very strong appellate points.

With this process, the focus shifts specifically to the trial and nothing else. Any new evidence we have does not come in at this point. Any new witness or affidavit is not important here. The appellate process is strictly about the trial and errors of law within.

So, if you have followed what I’ve previously written, you can see why I can’t really comment on Judge Volland’s statements during the trial and sentencing. He is obviously a good man, but his sentencing speech was pretty interesting. I will state that he stated he had “a clear conscience” about his sentencing twice. The first time, it was for the people in the courtroom. I wonder if the second time was for him.

There is one last item I would like to touch on now. When I received the State’s response to our appeal, I noticed it was brought to us by Mr. Richard A. Svobodny. Mr. Svobodny is the Acting Attorney General for the State of Alaska. Mr. Svobodny also wrote an internal email to congratulate his colleges on October 22, 2007 after Mechele’s conviction. He states, “Exotic dancers across Alaska are shivering with fear with the conviction of Mechele Linehan.” This does shed some light on what this whole trial was all about. Notice he doesn’t say “Murderers across Alaska are shivering with fear…”


Rich said...

Seen the show Friday and it was sad. Many people/families have been involved and it continues on.

I need to ask or state that Mechele has to know something. You cannot be that much involved and not have any idea what went down. Maybe it will be a death bed confession but until that time we will never know the truth until Mechele decides to come clean with everything she knows.

Now the other guy that was killed in jail...did he say this guy killed himself to frame all the others? I don't know about you but shooting yourself 3x is not suicide.

I hope the truth will be found for everyone involved.

Frustrated said...


I have followed this case both in the media and via internet. I have a like "obsession" with watching shows about trials, murders, crimes, convictions both of guilty and innocent.
I am so amazed at the amount of people convicted with "evidence" that has so much "reasonable doubt" that you could stick your hand thru it.
With this days and ages dna, it amazes me how we still have a jury of our peers with no experience in what they are looking at and they still convict because they think she could have.

I feel like the term reasonable doubt has lost its real meaning and is not clearly defined.

I am saddened for you and your daughter. Although I do believe that Mechelle was young and guilty of "playing" with hearts and minds, I honestly could never convict based on everything I have studied. There is definite suspicion but so much doubt that she was even in town when it happened. I do believe that nowadays the burden of proof sometimes falls on the defendant instead of the prosecution which is sad. Have never these jurors ever had a "close call" of something they did wrong at a not so bright time in their life that they are feel so "stupid" about like geting involved with the wrong person, maybe even a little white lie they told and then had to tell another, maybe taking somehting of someone elses, or just getting by that cop on the road when you were going 5 miles over and that sigh of relief when you do not see him follow you in the rear view mirror. Whatever it may be, it does not mean you pay for it the rest of your life in another way.

2 persons guitly of murder in the first degree? Hard to believe and swallow. Too much doubt--can't believe anyone would feel they knew sure enough to put someone away for 99 years. People need to be re-educated on the reasonable doubt and that the state has to prove beyond that doubt. I know you live and breath this case. I am not sure if you ever really can rest, but I do hope you somehow find some peace one of these days in some way, hopefully with a new trial. Laura - Kentucky

Mark said...


Where Mechele is now? What address do we mail things to if we wish for her to receive it? Thank you.

Mechele's Friends said...

Hey Mark,

Mechele's address can be found on the link on the left under "ways to help"


Alaskansheilah said...

Rich, there are many cases where one can commit suicide by provocation and proxy. People do it somewhat frequently by endangering the lives of others publicly and then force the police to shoot them.

As to whether Kent Lepping provoked any thing has yet to be proven. But if one really examined Mr. Leppink's life and life style, it's not so far fetched. Think about it. During the trial, it came out that Mr. Lepping spoke with his mother who begged him not to go to Hope, just prior to him going out there on the day of his murder. His insurance policy just so happened to be on his dead cadaver.

I too think Mechele knows something. Maybe something she doesn't know she knows. You know? Something that pops up much much later and she'll find it mind boggling she didn't think of it before. I'm fairly sure she may figure out who did kill Leppink, & or how whomever manipulated every thing all along. Maybe not.

Colin: Hang in there. I found that comment Mr. Svobodny wrote to the prosecuting team pretty interesting. Telling would be an appropriate term. Yeah.

Best wishes, God Bless
Sheilah B.

Grace said...

I feel for you Colin, and I do not think you a dupe, but a strong and intelligent person. I respect the patience required of you in allowing this process to unfold in the best possible way.

Frustrated said...

To the comment from Rich. He did not say the guy shot himself. He said he thought the guy orchestrated his own death. This might be hard to believe, but I have first hand knowledge (I am in the psychology field) anyway first hand knowledge of someonewho when once was not so mentally healthy due to some really badmind games by another person and wanted revenge. She actually wanted to commit suicide but had a passive and then at times active thought only in her head over 15 years ago (which was never thought of again after the healing began) but again of orchestrating a death and leaving a trail to attempt to frame another.
When someone plays with your heart and mind and you are not in your "right mind", you may act in mysterious ways. She too thought of the note to leave stating who might be responsible.
And to Colin, to add what I said, that judge does seem to have issues and I believe a change in venue would be in order to make sure of a fair trial. There is a huge difference between to puppet who pulls the strings and the string that pulls the puppet because the mind pulling the strings cannot always control the ways the strings go. A comment by that judge that should make sure of a new trial without the same judge who cannot possible be fair when he handles both of the accused trials.
Again, too much doubt and most likely one person pulled the trigger--I doubt "persons" took there turn. Such a shame 3 lives and all the family of those 3 so effected by this .
It is bad enough Kent died, but now another and another life wasted in prison and people without their sons, fathers, and mothers and a wife etc.
People never want to talk about how their mind wonders but passive thoughts of homicide and suicide (never acted upon) do not make you a bad person and are more common than most people know.

Bmialone said...

Upsetting as usual to watch these shows. Although they attempted fairness to some degree, they did so dramatically and whenever the show turned to Mechele, they played sexy horn music in the background. That's the sort of media crap that landed her where she is.

In my opinion, John Carlin and the Linehans have been so kind to the Leppink family that they've been screwed. In my youth, I knew men like Kent Leppink and learned the hard way to steer clear of them.

A much older than she, disturbed man who is twisted enough to think a lovely very young woman like that can actually commit to him as a spouse, showers her with things in an attempt to win her over, and then turns to stalking and harassing her is not just an innocent victim of anything.

His family knew he had problems, which is why they had banished him. After his death, they acted like he was their darling, saintly boy and she, who had been merely a girl at the time, was responsible for whatever happened to him. They were also one million dollars richer because the insurance company couldn't look at it as a potential suicide or a death in the process of an illegal act.

I know someone that happened to years ago, where the family cruelly said nothing to her about their son's serious mental illness and past bizarre, scary behaviors in the hopes she wouldn't find out, but she did when he started unraveling after they moved in together, and it was awful trying to get away from him.

In this case, everyone was so careful not be disrespectful to the victim or his family, and the judge unfairly refused to let the defense be open about what Kent Leppink was really like, Mechele and John Carlin have paid a terrible price.

Finally, I think it is more likely that John Carlin knew more and was protecting someone.

cool said...

Hello Colin, we have the same name, but mine is Collin. Anyway, I saw the show on Friday and felt that Mechele wasn't given a chance to say her side of the story (or was that her choice?). At least she got a trial (maybe against her will). I actually wanted a trial because I have been falsely accused three separate times by the same woman (1996, 2001, 2004). I was never given my rights and had to take a restraining order I didn't deserve. So if Mechele is really innocent, I know how you and her feel. I should mention that I had five supporters in court, two letters of support outside of court, and my fiance married me ten days after the final court date (2004). These are just examples of many of the things I had in my corner (including three boxes of hard evidence), but the court and my own defense lawyer failed to see them. I am a stronger person because of what I've gone through, but I still feel somewhat bitter about what happened to me. The woman who falsely accused me likely still lives in fear even though I never wanted to hurt her ever. Obviously, the ordeal your wife is going through is much greater than mine was, but I would imagine that the feeling of helplessness that we all share is the same. I hope you will be able to cope with the outcome of any future appeals. - Collin.

Laura said...

Stay strong Colin. The situation is one where there is peril at every turn.

Due process is supposed to be a concept that protects individuals from their government... This case has provided a litany of examples illustrating just how much your rights matter once the system gets a hold of you. Apparently all it takes is an accusation for them to ruin your life in the name of justice.

I hope this case serves as more than just a salacious story--it highlights numerous problems in our contemporary criminal justice system. Although it's held out as adversarial, this case makes it clear that our system is more prosecutorial than anything--who serves as the guardian of rights in a case like this? It certainly wasn't Volland...

Turtlepace said...

What's may be really unfair is that when the conviction is thrown out and the prosecutor has to come up with evidence other than assassination of character, he might indefinitely delay retrying the case without admitting Mechele innocent either. He could just let the assumption of guilt hang there with the threat of retrial at any time.

Grace said...

Mechele's Friends - would like to forward something to Colin but not have it posted... can I do this, thanks,

Shelley said...

I seen this story on tv as part of The most notorious women in history and have not been able to stop thinking about it. Did they know that Kent's brother and father were there in Alaska shortly before his body was found? If his bank records were checked there should have been a sizable deposit prior to his death possibly in 95 or 96. This is a family secret that haunts his brother who feared for his own safety. Please this is not a joke! Check the flight plan prior to his death.

Hekela said...

That was a very Freudian slip by Mr. Svobodny. What does having been a "stripper" have to do with anything? I really hope that the next judge will be able to see the obvious prejudice involved in this case (and lack of any real evidence) and send Mechele home with her husband and children where she belongs.

My thoughts and prayers are still with the family and friends.

sandymc said...

Rich, please review all the documentation about this trial. No one has suggested that Kent actually committed suicide. It has been suggested that he may have caused his own death. There are things that do suggest this. As far as Mechele knowing "something," what do you suggest that she knew? The "Hope Note" was done on purpose. Even I was aware of it when it was written. Kent has crossed the line when it came to "stalking." The note was a deterrent to keep him from knowing where she was. I also want the truth to be found out, no matter how much it may destroy Kent's reputation or the farce that his family has stood behind. I truly hate that a man lost his life. But, I refuse to stand by and see my daughter lose 33 years of her life for something she did not do.

sandymc said...

Laura, thank you for your kind words for Colin. "Reasonable doubt?" The term seems pretty self-explanatory to me. It was quite obvious the night following the verdict what these jurors thought. Some of the comments were, "I can't believe they took her out in handcuffs!" "It wasn't the evidence, it was what she did for a living." Come on, either they were really stupid or did not listen to the judge's instructions that she was to be judged on the evidence, not her occupation. Why was this jury not sequestered? This was a capital murder trial! But, no, the judge let them go out of town, etc. Yes, he told them not to watch the news, nor listen to the radio. It was almost three weeks into the trial when his court reporter, or someone told him that if a juror went on line they couldn't help but be exposed to media. Only then did he tell them that they were not to go online. A husband of one of the jurors said his wife continued to go online and read everything she could. This was not, by any means, a fair trail! And, as far as Mechele being at the scene of the trial, can you believe the prosecution at one point wanted to consider the fact that she might have actually pulled the trigger? Well, their own information proved she was not even in the state, nor could she have been capable of using the weapon. Has anyone even wondered why Scott Hilke who was named in the "letter" Kent sent to his parents was never investigated? I know it can't be used in a court of law, but he failed a polygraph test. He volenteered to give up his phone records and flight infomation, but never did and no one followed up on that. Why not?

sandymc said...

Sheilah, your thoughts are not that far fetched. To give you and anyone else who is wondering, we did not choose to delve into Kent's past. We did not want to slander a dead man, nor cause his family more grief. A new trail will be different. We no longer care about his disfunctional life, nor family. Why did his mother lie on the stand? She said his father went there to check out Kent't finance and came back very satisfied. Satisfied? He had less than $500.00 in his checking account! And it was the beginning of the season. She also denied loaning him any more money. When confronted on the stand with a promissory note she signed, she feigned "forgetfulness." Please! There is so much more to this family than was ever brought out. For any of you who are parents, let me ask you this. If you got a letter like the one Kent sent his would you not have high-tailed it to Anchorage! And, if you were Kent and felt your life threatened, why would you stay?

sandymc said...

Laura, you bring out many good points. Judge Volland, in my opinion made many mistakes. One being the stupid movie, "The Last Seduction." He withheld opinion on admitting that over a weekend. When he finally ruled that it could not be admitted, the damage had been done. Not only did he watch it, but so did memebers of the jury! You could not find a copy of it that weekend at any vidoe store in Anchorage! And the witness' testomy that brought it up was later found to be not true. Her "diary" was given to the media that found she later recanted and that she had watched it with her husband not Mechele! Then, he also had the option of overruling the jury. He waited on that decison but could have deferred it. The biggest mistake he made was at Mechele's sentenacing.By law, he is only suppose to render the sentencing and not inject any personal "opinion, nor sentiment." Well, he did both. I could go on about his failure to perform as a "guardian of rights," but I think I have made my point.

Turtlepace said...

I just found out about a "legal fact" rule that allows the prosecutor to enter John Carlin's conviction as a "legal fact" preventing examination of any evidence that would show he didn't murder Kent Leppink. I had wondered why so much evidence wasn't examined in Mechele's trial and why the defense strategy was just to show that John had acted on his own. How can a rule that limits a defendent's examining the evidence against her be Constitutional? How can Mechele have gotten a fair trial when she started out with a "legal fact" declaring her guilt without the chance of disputing it?

Turtlepace said...

I've noticed that a lot of people used the term "evil" to describe Mechele. I wondered if the prosecutor used it, also. The word "evil" is a religious term often having to do with Original Sin. Original Sin is the reason the Bible gives for death. I just wondered if Mechele was convicted of Original Sin to assume she was guilty of murder. The way hecklers criticize Mechele, you'd think she'd brought Original Sin into the world. Adam did blame it on Eve: hence all of this manipulation stuff.

NOLA said...

What's the latest with the appeal? How is Mechele holding up? Is there anyway that she could be moved from prison in Alaska to WA state so her family could visit her easier?

Mechele's Friends said...

We are awaiting the appeal court to come back from summer vacation. How cool to be so backlogged with cases and be able to take the summer off! I am in Olympia and will be going to Alaska Sunday to visit Mechele. Will post updates when I return Wed!

Mechele's Friends said...

Hi to all! I am in Olympia and will be going to Alaska to visit Mechele Sun-Tues. Will post after our visit! Thanks to all of you out ther who continue to offer your support. It truly makes a difference to our family!

Sandy (Mechele's mom)

Mechele's Friends said...

Grace, please send all email for Colin to the following:

Steve said...

You are a truly good husband for standing by your wife like this. I think things are going to turn out well in the end. You are in my prayers

Steve said...

I would hope Colin would keep the faith. I know this is a hard time for his family. God Bless