Archive for Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Former attorney for convicted murderer Martin Miller says he could have done better job at trial

An attorney who defended a man convicted of murdering his wife in 2004 finishes up his testimony in a civil case.

March 24, 2009


During a civil court hearing Tuesday, a convicted murderer’s former defense attorney acknowledged that he could have made more objections to testimony and to allowing jurors to hear and see some evidence in the 2005 Lawrence trial.

Martin K. Miller, 50, was convicted of strangling his wife, Mary, inside their central Lawrence home in 2004, but now he is suing the state claiming that his constitutional rights were violated at the trial.

His trial defense attorney, Mark Manna, whose counsel Miller claims was ineffective, answered questions on the stand Monday and Tuesday.

Manna said he now believes he should have made more objections about testimony that Miller was receiving automated messages from pornographic Web sites after his wife’s death. Manna said he should have argued to jurors that these messages were irrelevant and not related to the state’s case.

Prosecutors presented evidence about Miller’s four-year extramarital affair, pornography addiction and desire to pursue more sexual relationships. Miller was a carpenter and former Christian school leader.

He is serving 25 years to life in prison for the murder conviction. The Kansas Supreme Court has already upheld the conviction once. The hearing ended Tuesday without Miller taking the stand even though his attorney, Jessica Kunen, on Monday indicated that he would.

District Judge Paula Martin said Tuesday that she would allow attorneys to file additional written arguments. She likely will not rule until the summer on whether Miller received ineffective assistance of counsel at the trial.


OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 2 months ago

I imagine that every attorney who would like to see the reputation of their profession pulled out of the gutter is just cringing. Miller's attorney is saying whatever he needs to say in order to help his client; without regard to whether or not it is true. For many, the fact that he'd represent Miller is "proof" of sleazyness (which is unfair), but to see him pull this stunt even makes me want to search my mental database for a good attorney joke. Sick.

I found one:

"How do you know when an attorney is lying?"

"His lips are moving." [ba-dum, ching]

Steve Jacob 9 years, 2 months ago

He helped his client just enough to not get himself in trouble. What lawyer with 3-4 more years experience and 20-20 hindsight would not say he could have done better? He has every right to appeal, but now he is guilty until proven otherwise.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 2 months ago

Manna is clearly no longer Miller's lawyer. I expect most lawyers are looking on in disbelief at the negative "career move" that this is for Manna. I'd say he's pretty much done as a defense attorney.

igby 9 years, 2 months ago

These porn sites cookies your machine and they continue to send you junk e-mail daily for years. You can remove the cookies, however, after they get your e-mail address from their spyware data crunching bug in the cookies return loop, it's too late. They then sell your information to other trash brokers who will send trash to your e-mail 20 or 30 time per day.

Just because he looked at the porn sites has nothing to do with this women death.

The real question is did Angela, former assistant DA who's now at the AG's office handle the case? If so, he did not get a fair trial, that's for sure.

somebodynew 9 years, 2 months ago

Whoa, igby - did you have a bad experience and unfairly get convicted by Angela?? #1 - don't think(?) she handled this, if memory is correct. #2 - where did that come from??

Unless of course you got covicted of some kind of porn charge that your attorney couldn't find a way to fight. Maybe you should go for ineffective counsel appeal??

Tom McCune 9 years, 2 months ago

I "could have done a better job" of every job I ever had in my life. You too. That doesn't mean we are ineffective or incompetent. His appeals have already been thrown out all the way up to the state supreme court. Enough appeals already.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 2 months ago

"Just because he looked at the porn sites has nothing to do with this women death."

You don't know what you are talking about.

justthefacts 9 years, 2 months ago

FYI - almost EVERY convicted murderer makes a claim that his lawyer(s) did not do a good job. Few such claims result in a conviction being over-turned. But they still try.

For those who like FACTS and are interested in information about what does (and does not) constitute "ineffective counsel" claims, here are some KANSAS cases to read:

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