Convicted murderer
loses federal bid
for new trial

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge's 2001 ruling yesterday that convicted murderer Janice Cockett is not entitled to a new trial.

Cockett is confined at an Oklahoma prison, serving a life prison sentence with the possibility of parole for the 1986 bludgeoning death of her husband, Habilitat treatment center executive Frank Cockett.

His body was found in the trunk of a car parked at Ala Moana Center.

Prosecutors claimed at her 1995 trial that Cockett killed her husband to collect insurance money. Cockett continued to proclaim her innocence after she was convicted.

U.S. Magistrate Barry Kurren found in November 2000 that Cockett's constitutional rights were violated when she was convicted in state court. Kurren held key prosecution testimony was hearsay and that Cockett's right to confront a witness was violated during her trial.

U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor rejected Kurren's finding, saying Cockett did receive a fair trial, and dismissed her appeal for a new trial.

Prosecutors had said the issues raised by Cockett were reviewed by the trial judge, the criminal administrative judge and twice by the state Supreme Court, and each court found that her claims were without merit.

The federal appeals court agreed.

Cockett's current attorney, Michael Green, said he was not surprised at the appeals court's ruling because of the way he was treated when the case was argued, but he called it "unbelievable."

Green said it will be up to Cockett's family to decide if the case will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.


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