Ruling in Newton Lambert’s case being appealed

The public defender advocating for a Juneau man convicted for a thirty year old murder plans to appeal a recent decision denying post-conviction relief.

Newton Lambert’s defense attorney recently applied under a relatively new statute for DNA testing of evidence samples in the belief that there was an additional person at the scene of a downtown apartment in 1982 who may have murdered Anne and James Benolken.

In an opinion issued last month, Ketchikan Superior Court Judge William Carey wrote that he was not convinced that DNA testing of preserved pant and shirt swatches from James Benolken’s clothing would necessarily prove Lambert’s innocence.

Lambert was convicted at trial in 1983 of Anne’s murder, but acquitted of James’ murder.

Another defendant, Emanuel Telles, was eventually acquitted at trial.

Sitka-based public defender Jude Pate said Friday during a brief court hearing that he wants an entry of final judgment on the DNA motion so that it can be considered by the Alaska Court of Appeals. Pate also wants an earlier motion for post-conviction relief set aside for now while the decision on DNA testing is being appealed.

There were no immediate objections from prosecutors.

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