Appeals Court overturns 3 recent cases involving Faria judge

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LINCOLN COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - An Appeals Court overturned three recent decisions by the same Missouri Judge.  You may remember this Judge from the Faria murder case. In November, Fox 2 revealed evidence that the Judge suppressed from a jury who later convicted the husband, Russ Faria.

Now Fox 2 has learned of three different cases where the prisons recently freed three people after an Appeal Court overruled this Judge.

The Missouri Court of Appeals issued what are called Writs of Prohibition against Lincoln County Judge Chris Kunza Mennemeyer - three orders this year involving different prisoners.

One of the men who fought Judge Kunza Mennemeyer`s decision was Ernest Kizer.

Kizer told me, 'I would`ve been in there for eight years and I would`ve still been in there if it wasn`t for me going to the law library in prison and getting another lawyer to go ahead and fight this.'

Kizer pleaded guilty to dealing crack cocaine.  He says he agreed to go to drug treatment, which included a deal that he get out of prison on probation if he completed treatment.  He says he held up his end of the bargain.

Kizer explained, 'I was under the impression that as long as I do what I was supposed to do, that a deal is a deal.'
Chris Hayes followed up, 'You feel like she was changing the deal?'
Kizer answered, 'Yeah, there`s no feel like, she did that.'

Kizer`s case is one of three handled by Judge Chris Kunza Mennemeyer, in which the Missouri Court of Appeals intervened.
Defense lawyer, Chet Pleban said that`s 'extremely unusual. '  He added, 'If they issue one Writ a month, throughout the entire Eastern District of Missouri, it would be a lot.  So for one Judge to pick up three writs of prohibition within a one month period is extraordinary.'

Pleban says defense attorneys first try telling the Judge about a mistake.  He said, 'They don`t just run to the Court of Appeals.  Interestingly, in two of the three cases, I think it was the same prosecutor as it was in Russell Faria`s case.'

The Faria case involved a husband convicted of murdering his wife.  Judge Mennemeyer agreed to silence testimony about a woman who benefitted from the victim's $150,000 life insurance policy.  Russ Faria's defense attorney is now appealing the conviction.

Faria's appeal won't be impacted by the recent Writs.  Pleban says those orders came from three different cases that were each analyzed individually by the Appeals Court.

Pleban said, 'In fairness to her, I`m sure that at the time that she thought she was doing the right thing, but for whatever reason she got it wrong and she got it wrong times three.'

Kizer added, 'This may help somebody else so it doesn`t happen again. I`m not looking for anything out of it.  I just want to be able to just have the same rights everybody else should.'

Judge Chris Kunza Mennemeyer did not return my call. Her administrative assistant told me it was unlikely that she`d be permitted to talk under the law.

Murder victim Betsy Faria`s sister, Mary Rodgers, who sat through an entire trial with Judge Mennemeyer, defended her as fair and thoughtful.

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  • NOTsurprised

    This Judge gets it wrong a lot!!
    How many more times before something is done?
    She is an elected judge with a term to fulfill.
    Does this county have to endure her until her term is expired?
    The whole year & 5 months she has been on the bench it seems she is making mistake after mistake after mistake after mistake…

  • JoAnn

    Is there impeachment for a lousy judge? The pain she and the prosecuting attorney have caused is unspeakable. She needs to do time for the things she has done. If she had any humanity, she would resign. Unlikely. So we must stay on the case and back up Chris Hayes. He is wonderful. And we MUST get Russ Faria exonerated. There is also a woman who needs to be investigated for murder.

  • Stan

    I’ve seen movies about judges that make a habit of doing this to people. Those movies usually don’t end well.

  • Mike

    Both Judge Mennemeyer and PA Askey are horrible individuals that need to be removed from their positions.

    I think it’s pretty apparent that they most likely had to know from the beginning that Russell Faria was innocent of the crimes that he was ultimately convicted of, but they moved ahead anyway. It looks to me like their long-time friendship likely played a HUGE role in destroying a mans life and enslaving him to the prison system for the rest of his life plus 30 years. I wonder if they both think it was worth it now, after everyone can see just how corrupt that courtroom was. I also wonder how many other innocent people have had their lives ruined by these monsters.

    While they will never get the punishment that they deserve for their abuses of the system, they should never be able to ‘serve’ the public again.

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