LINCOLN — The Nebraska Supreme Court heard oral arguments Friday on whether to overturn the evidence-tampering conviction of former Douglas County CSI director David Kofoed.
Steve Lefler, Kofoed’s attorney, asked the high court to return the case to Cass County District Court.
Lefler argued that Cass County District Judge Randall Rehmeier erred by allowing special prosecutor Clarence Mock to present evidence accusing Kofoed of engaging in a pattern of forensic misconduct.
Rehmeier, in convicting Kofoed, said he found "significant similiarities" between Kofoed's work on the Murdock case and on the 2003 murder case of 4-year-old Brendan Gonzalez of Plattsmouth.
Lefler reminded the Supreme Court during the 20-minute hearing that a federal jury had acquitted Kofoed of four federal charges related to Kofoed's handling of evidence in the 2006 slayings of rural Murdock, Neb.
"I know that sounds like sour grapes, but I would like the opportunity for a rubber match," Lefler told the court.
Assistant Nebraska Attorney General James Smith asked the court to reject Lefler's arguments and uphold Rehmeier's March 2010 guilty verdict.
Smith told the court Lefler's arguments amounted to "red herrings" and had nothing to do with the evidence used to convict the former CSI director. Smith said Rehmeier composed an 18-page report to explain his findings of Kofoed's guilt.
Rehmeier determined that Kofoed planted blood evidence to bolster the prosecution of two men originally charged in the 2006 slayings of Murdock farmers Wayne and Sharmon Stock.
Charges later were dropped after overwhelming evidence led to the conviction of two Wisconsin teenagers.
Lefler argued that the blood DNA of Brendan Gonzalez, which Kofoed produced from a Bellevue trash bin, was authentic.
"Ivan Henk said he decapitated his son and put the body of Brendan Gonzalez in a Dumpster," Lefler argued.
Lefler told the Supreme Court that he tried to offer testimony during the trial to rebuff the prosecution's theory. He tried to cite other murder cases where DNA evidence was extracted under extraordinary circumstances, including the Omaha slaying of Amber Harris.
but Rehmeier rejected his request.
Kofoed has remained in custody since June 2010, after being sentenced to 20 to 48 months in prison.
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