Transcript: Wisconsin prosecutor campaigned on his record — but some high-profile cases had hidden flaws

The List

Joseph Frey
Joseph Frey was prosecuted by then-Winnebago County Deputy District Attorney Vince Biskupic for a 1991 sexual assault he did not commit. “Before Joe’s trial even happened — before he even had the opportunity to present his defense to a jury — that evidence was inappropriately destroyed,” says Frey’s attorney, Tricia Rojo Bushnell. Frey was photographed by Lake Mendota in Madison, Wis., on Oct. 3, 2016. Coburn Dukehart/Wisconsin Watch

Return to Episode 6

A note before we get started. This episode mentions a murder as well as sexual assault of women and girls.

PHOEBE PETROVIC: Hi Dee. Good morning.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

DEE HALL: How are you?

In the summer of 2020, I called my boss Dee Hall.

PHOEBE PETROVIC: Thanks for letting me hop on the phone with you. I’m pretty stoked about what I found.

What I had found was one of Vince Biskupic’s campaign websites. The site is long gone. I only discovered it by noodling around on the Wayback Machine.

PHOEBE PETROVIC: He’s got this page that lists the cases that he’s presumably the most proud of.

Each case on the list followed the same formula. It feels very 2000s, very law and order.

PHOEBE PETROVIC: Third one down: Killer Kenneth Hudson.

— who we talked about in the last episode.

PHOEBE PETROVIC: Right below that: Killers James Thompson and Jonathan Liebzeit.

— as well as:

PHOEBE PETROVIC: Killers Mark Price and Richard Pease.

Looking at the list, I kept coming back to how convincing it seemed on the page. His website declared that quote “Vince Biskupic has successfully prosecuted more than 30 homicide or attempted homicide cases in Wisconsin.”

In his own words, Biskupic had gone after murderers, predators, drug dealers, and even “deadbeat parents.”

And yet — at least in the four cases we’ve looked at in this series…

PHOEBE PETROVIC: They’re all flawed.

On his campaign website and in his political rallies, Biskupic said over and over again that he was a prosecutor, not a politician. He said he was, quote, “putting the law above politics.”

But district attorneys are politicians.

When we elect a mayor, or congressperson or president, we pay attention to what they do — whether or not they live up to their promises.

But once we elect a district attorney, my hunch is that many of us stop paying attention. And we really only notice the work that they’re doing when it comes to these very high profile cases.

So we’re going to talk about two cases Biskupic was involved with. One is on the list. The other is not.

The first helps us answer the question of who, exactly, is supposed to be making sure prosecutors act ethically.

And the second shows the worst that can happen — for society as a whole — when they get it wrong.

We’ll start with the case of Greg Kortz.

DEE HALL: The reason the Kortz case isn’t listed is because if anybody looked into it a little bit, he was taken off that case. That might not be the best one to list.

From Wisconsin Watch and Wisconsin Public Radio, I’m Phoebe Petrovic, and this is Open and Shut.

MIKE BALSKUS: It seemed like a pretty much, open shut case.

KATE O’BRIEN: I mean, this was open and shut.

JERRY BURKE: Nobody would have had to lie. It was an open and shut case.

MIKE BALSKUS: There was this case where a police officer’s son was involved in a road rage incident.

PHOEBE PETROVIC: Is this the Greg Kortz case?


This is former prosecutor Mike Balskus again.

PHOEBE PETROVIC: I very much wanted to talk to you about this case.

Mike Balskus was working as an assistant district attorney in Outagamie County. Vince Biskupic was his boss. In December 1995, the office filed charges against a 17-year-old high school senior named Greg Kortz.

Here’s what the criminal complaint alleged.

The day before Thanksgiving, Kortz and his friends were driving on the highway. And someone in Kortz’s car flashed the middle finger at another group of young men in a pickup truck.

The pickup truck followed Kortz and his friends off the highway, onto rural roads, all the way to Kortz’s house — about five or six miles away.

And when they parked, some of the boys in the pickup truck got out and confronted the boys in the car. A fight broke out.

MIKE BALSKUS: And this Kortz hits a guy over the head with a baseball bat.

The victim was named Kevin Nechodom. He was 20 years old.

Nechodom was taken to the hospital. Sheriff’s deputies took statements from witnesses. And Balskus says it seemed like a battery case.

MIKE BALSKUS: They didn’t think that he was going to die.

But three days later, Nechodom died in the hospital of head trauma.

MIKE BALSKUS: ‘Crap, we got a homicide. We gotta put detectives on this.’ So they sent detectives out.

Kortz’s arraignment took place almost two months after Nechodom’s death.

And during this hearing, Kortz’s attorney brought up something she called “serious.”

She told the judge that, she couldn’t prove it, but she had quote “strong reason to believe” that Biskupic directed police officers to rewrite reports. She said she asked Biskupic about this, and that he told her there may have been some typos.

Kortz’s attorney asked to see the original police reports, but she never got them because they’d been destroyed.

As best as we can tell, here’s what happened.

After Nechodom died, the Sheriff’s Office went back to re-interview the witnesses. They used the initial police reports as a reference.

But one of the witnesses denied saying something attributed to him in the original report. So four sheriff’s deputies got together.

MIKE BALSKUS: They go to Vince.

Vince Biskupic.

MIKE BALSKUS: And they say, ‘Oh, usually what we do is we do a supplement. You know, officer so-and-so went out, talked to this guy. He denies making this statement. He says this is what happened, blah blah blah.’ That’s normal procedure.

That’s normal procedure because judges and juries need to be able to see if a witness’ story changed over time.

MIKE BALSKUS: Vince says, ‘No. What I want you to do is collect all of the police reports. Destroy them.’

Collect all the copies of the report. Destroy them. And write a new one that corrected the conflicting statement.

I talked to one of the deputies in that meeting, Sgt. Michael Heisler. He didn’t want to be recorded and he said he couldn’t remember all of the details.

Heisler told me that destroying the report was ultimately his decision to make, but that it was District Attorney Vince Biskupic who first suggested it.

PHOEBE PETROVIC: Is it fair to wonder whether or not Biskupic was willing to destroy police reports in order to win a conviction for the homicide of a police officer’s son?

MIKE BALSKUS: I don’t think it was because it was a police officer’s son. I think it was just that, this is gonna cause problems.

So three months after Kortz’s attorney first raised this issue, the judge held a hearing to get to the bottom of it. Biskupic didn’t appear at this hearing himself. He sent his assistant district attorney, Mike Balskus.

Sgt. Heisler told the court that he had never done something like this before. Kortz’s attorney asked him whose idea it was. And whenever she tried to pin it on Biskupic, Balskus objected.

I asked Balskus why he did this, and I didn’t really get a good answer. He says he didn’t believe it was relevant at the time. And also, he didn’t care for Kortz’s attorney.

About a month later, the judge held another hearing. This time, Biskupic appeared.

Heisler never told the court that Biskupic was the one who first suggested destroying the original report. But the judge said, as the prosecutor Biskupic, had the quote: “responsibility … to preserve the report so that it would not be changed and destroyed.”

The judge said he didn’t want the district attorney to be called as a witness in a trial he was prosecuting, so he was “reluctantly” taking Biskupic’s office off the case. That was his word: reluctantly.

Another prosecutor was appointed to handle Kortz’s case. And in October 1996, a jury found Kortz guilty of second degree reckless homicide. He was given a 13-year prison sentence. I reached out to Kortz, but he did not want to do an interview.

And look, the original police report was destroyed. So, I can’t be sure what it said — or if it would have helped Kortz’s defense at all.

What I do know is that Biskupic, as the prosecutor, was in charge of the investigation. And at the least, he ratified the officer’s decision to destroy and rewrite the report — rather than writing a supplement. And that’s something prosecutors should never do.

We’ve mentioned before how hard it is to hold prosecutors accountable for their actions. Remember, they have absolute immunity for their actions in a courtroom and preparing a case for trial.

But what if Greg Kortz had wanted to take this matter further, where would he go?

He could have filed a complaint with the agency that keeps lawyers in check.

In Wisconsin, it’s called OLR — the Office of Lawyer Regulation.

GREGG HERMAN: So in basic language, it’s an arm of the Wisconsin Supreme Court that essentially prosecutes lawyers for ethical violations.

Gregg Herman is an attorney who sometimes works as retained counsel for OLR.

Herman says the process begins with a grievance.

GREGG HERMAN: The problem is, is that some of the grievances filed against attorneys are really pretty frivolous.

Take this example. One of Herman’s coworker’s was representing a woman in a divorce. Her ex-husband filed a grievance with OLR saying that she had received more money than she really needed.

GREGG HERMAN: His response was, ‘Well, that’s sort of my job, you know, is get as much money for her as I can. I’m a divorce lawyer!’

OLR’s intake investigators will look at every grievance.

GREGG HERMAN: It’s possible they can decide there’s been no ethical violation. It’s also possible that there may have been one, but it doesn’t rise to the level where prosecution’s necessary. So they can issue a letter of caution to the attorney, sort of like, ‘Hey, we got this complaint. We’re not saying you did anything wrong, but don’t do it again.’

Officially, this is called a “letter of advice.”

Let’s say OLR determines that a lawyer has engaged in provable professional misconduct. There’s a few options for what happens next.

The lawyer can agree to a private or public reprimand or “diversion” — such as reducing the fees owed to a client or going for continuing education.

But if the lawyer doesn’t agree with OLR’s recommendations — or if there’s enough cause to suspend or revoke a lawyer’s license — OLR can conduct a “formal investigation.”

But they don’t tell the public about it.

GREGG HERMAN: In Wisconsin, everything is confidential up to the filing of a complaint with the Supreme Court.

For the most part, Herman believes this system works. He says the public doesn’t need to know about frivolous complaints or small, honest mistakes.

GREGG HERMAN: And we all make mistakes.

But if prosecutors aren’t being held accountable for wrongdoing at the ballot box — and they’re rarely being held accountable by judges — and defendants can’t really sue them, that means OLR is the last line of defense. And I asked Herman:

PHOEBE PETROVIC: Is that an effective mechanism?

GREGG HERMAN: You’re touching a sore spot here, okay?

PHOEBE PETROVIC: Okay. (both laugh)

GREGG HERMAN: One of the more recent cases I’ve handled at the OLR is the Zapf complaint, Z-A-P-F.

In 2014, Robert Zapf was the District Attorney in Kenosha County — that’s in southeast Wisconsin — when the Kenosha police department investigated a fatal robbery.

GREGG HERMAN: One of the defendants is arrested, and while he’s being booked, a police officer takes, uh, his ID card and pockets it rather than processing it as evidence. Subsequently, I don’t know if it’s the next day or so, there was a search warrant executed on another — the other defendant’s home. And in the process of the search warrant, the police officer plants the ID and plants a bullet.

Here’s the important part: the bullet and the ID didn’t improve the strength of the state’s case. Police had already identified the defendants — and the bullet wasn’t even the right caliber. The officer resigned and was eventually convicted of misconduct in office.

Prosecutor Robert Zapf turned over discovery information to the defense — including a one page police report that alluded to the planted evidence.

GREGG HERMAN: But it’s one piece among other discovery. It’s sort of hidden in there. You really have to know what it meant.

During the trial, a police officer testified about the planted evidence.

GREGG HERMAN: All the sudden, the defense attorney goes, ‘Oh my, wha — what?’ You know. And the judge halts the proceedings. There is — sends the jury out. There’s this, essentially like emergency hearing, and the judge decides it’s not Brady evidence. We can continue with the trial.

Remember, Brady requires prosecutors to turn over exculpatory evidence — evidence that supports a person’s innocence. The judge said this evidence wasn’t exculpatory.

GREGG HERMAN: But was it relevant in terms of proving police misconduct? Which could then lead to other discoverable evidence, and maybe there was other police misconduct?

There’s no legal standard in Wisconsin that requires prosecutors to turn over all relevant evidence.

But while the trial judge didn’t find that Zapf committed a Brady violation, OLR believed that he did.

And so the ethics case against Zapf moved forward.

In cases like these, OLR acts as a prosecutor. The Wisconsin Supreme Court appoints a “referee” who acts as a kind of judge.

OLR presented its case. And the referee agreed that Zapf had committed misconduct, and that he should be suspended from the practice of law.

GREGG HERMAN: And prohibited from ever serving as a prosecutor again anywhere in the state — a very severe recommendation.

Zapf appealed the decision to the Wisconsin Supreme Court saying that he was being held to a higher standard than required under Wisconsin’s discovery statute. And the Court overruled the referee.

GREGG HERMAN: And found there wasn’t a violation because it was not exculpatory.

Even today, Herman has trouble talking about this without getting angry.

GREGG HERMAN: I think prosecutors should provide all information that is in the least bit relevant to the defense. And it’s not a matter of the defense asking for it. And I don’t think it’s a job of a prosecutor to determine how relevant it is. But, as I said, apparently the Wisconsin Supreme Court didn’t see it that way.

We’ve looked, and OLR has never publicly reprimanded Vince Biskupic. But because so much of the system is confidential, we can’t know whether OLR ever gave him a private reprimand, a warning or put him through diversion.

VALEENA BEETY: A lack of discovery in criminal cases is one of the most pernicious problems leading to wrongful convictions, uh, and really undermining the integrity of our criminal justice system overall.

Valeena Beety is a law professor at Arizona State University. And she says, there is one state that’s doing a good job at making sure prosecutors make all relevant information available to the defense. And that state might not be the first one that comes to mind.

VALEENA BEETY: If you want to look to a model for adopting best practices to decrease the number of wrongful convictions, look to Texas. Seriously.

She says Texas beefed up its discovery laws because of a man named Michael Morton.

In 1986, Morton was arrested after his wife was murdered in their bed. At trial, prosecutor Ken Anderson presented a narrative that Morton had beaten his wife to death because she wouldn’t have sex with him on his birthday.

But Anderson didn’t tell the whole story. Morton’s son was home at the time of the murder.

VALEENA BEETY: His young son made exculpatory statements. There was evidence of another man being there and in the neighborhood. But the prosecutor suppressed that evidence — didn’t disclose it, intentionally.

— and the jury believed the prosecutor’s version of events. Morton was sentenced to life in prison.

Twenty-five years later, DNA evidence exonerated Morton. In fact, the DNA matched a man with a criminal record — one who had beaten another woman to death in her bed.

After his exoneration, Morton lobbied the legislature to change the law.

And the Texas legislature took action.

VALEENA BEETY: They passed this fabulous discovery act, the Michael Morton Act. Part of that act said that prosecutors have to disclose Brady information pre-plea and also just in general have an open file system.

Meaning, defense attorneys have access to all the evidence — not just what the prosecutor chooses to give them. And they have to turn it over before they offer defendants a chance to admit guilt in exchange for a lighter sentence.

And we should mention that Morton is a white man.

VALENA BEETY: I definitely think an influence on the legislators in passing it was being able to see themselves in Michael Morton. I think it mattered for the legislators to see a straight white man who had, you know, a loving, long term relationship with his wife, uh and then he went through this situation of being wrongfully convicted. And I think that was probably influential in the decision to really dramatically overhaul the discovery system and to recognize the problems that led to Michael Morton’s wrongful conviction.

Ken Anderson, like many prosecutors, became a judge later in his career. He served on the district bench in Texas for a little over 10 years. But Michael Morton’s exoneration — and Anderson’s role in his wrongful conviction — got a lot of attention.

And then, something really significant happened.

The Texas Supreme Court ordered a “Court of Inquiry” to determine whether Anderson had committed any crimes.

VALEENA BEETY: So they were the ones who stepped up.

In 2013, Anderson pleaded guilty to criminal contempt of court. According to the Innocence Project, Anderson was the first prosecutor ever jailed for misconduct leading to a wrongful conviction.

VALEENA BEETY: Amazingly, I was in the courtroom when that happened. And it was incredible because here was this man who had been a judge and is walking into the same courtroom where he had sat on the bench and is pleading guilty.

Michael Morton had spent 25 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. But when it came time to sentence the man who put him there…

VALEENA BEETY: This was a victory for justice, and he got 10 days.

10 days. And he only ended up having to serve five because of “good behavior.”

I want to go back to where we started: that list of convictions Vince Biskupic had on his campaign website. Because there was another case he mentioned. And really, it’s the worst-case scenario of what can happen when prosecutors get it wrong.

PHOEBE PETROVIC: As the deputy DA in Winnebago County in 1993, Biskupic successfully prosecuted Joseph Frey for the repeated rape of a UW-Oshkosh student.

In February 1991, a UW-Oshkosh student woke up and found a man with a knife in her apartment. He raped her and fled the scene.

One of the men police investigated was suspected of two sexual assaults in Green Bay — about an hour north of Oshkosh. The timeline seemed to fit — the assaults all happened within the same few weeks. And some of the circumstantial details matched too.

JOSEPH FREY: And they went after me from that point on.

That’s the suspect, Joseph Frey.

The survivor looked at multiple photo arrays and live police lineups. In one photo array, she said that Frey’s profile “looked similar” to her attacker’s. But according to court documents, in the final police lineup, she said she could not positively identify him.

Still, investigators believed Frey was their man.

JOSEPH FREY: They wanted me to take a plea bargain, of course. It’s the quickest way to resolve any problem.

Frey says, prosecutors insisted: if you take a plea, you’ll get 20 years. If you go to trial, you’re facing life in prison.

JOSEPH FREY: But they also made the mistake of telling me there was DNA involved. I says, ‘If you’ve got DNA, we’re going to court.’ And that’s the bottom line.’I knew I didn’t do it. And so that’s how my journey with Mr. Biskupic began.

Frey was convicted by a jury in one of the Green Bay assaults and pleaded no contest to the other. In October 1991, he was sentenced to 42 years in prison.

His trial for the Oshkosh rape didn’t take place until 1993. By that time, Frey’s conviction in one of the Green Bay assaults had been overturned on a technicality, and his sentence had been reduced by 20 years.

Vince Biskupic, then deputy district attorney in Winnebago County, led the prosecution’s case. Biskupic highlighted how the Oshkosh assault was similar to Frey’s previous attacks on two other women. All three women testified that their attacker had a quote “distinct, raspy voice.”

The defense, for their part, told the jury Frey’s DNA was not found in a semen sample from the survivor’s bedsheet. But Biskupic told the jury, those findings were quote “not inconsistent” with the state’s case.

JOSEPH FREY: Regardless of what the evidence says, we know you did it. We know you did it.

The jury ultimately agreed with Biskupic. Frey was found guilty of four counts of first-degree sexual assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of armed burglary. Frey was sentenced to 102 years in prison.

Biskupic told the local newspaper he was relieved by the verdict. He said that Frey was quote: “a very dangerous person that needs to be kept out of society.”

But Joseph Frey kept trying to prove his innocence.

JOSEPH FREY: I did that for the next 19 years until the Innocence Project got a hold of the case.

TRICIA BUSHNELL: Joe’s case is not the only case I’ve ever seen where someone was convicted in spite of DNA evidence that excluded them.

In 2012, Tricia Rojo Bushnell was a lawyer with the Wisconsin Innocence Project.

Bushnell and a group of law students looked back at the evidence that had convicted Frey — including the witness identification.

TRICIA BUSHNELL: Eyewitness identification is a leading cause of wrongful convictions, and I think that is counterintuitive for some people. It’s hard for us to understand.

Sometimes, when a witness sees someone’s face in a line-up or photo array or police sketch, they can start to believe that that’s the person who committed the crime — even if it’s not true.

Or they just don’t remember, or they get it wrong, and some of that is related to trauma.

The identification in the Oshkosh assault wasn’t solid. It wasn’t enough on its own to get Frey exonerated. So Bushnell and the Wisconsin Innocence Project took another look at the DNA.

TRICIA BUSHNELL: What we needed was a result that was different than exclusion, which would mean an identification of someone else, who was not known to the victim and should have not been in her home.

In the early 1990s, investigators could only compare DNA to samples they had on hand. By the 2010s — when the Wisconsin Innocence Project took on Frey’s case — things had changed. There were databases that housed DNA samples from all over the country.

There was just one problem with this plan:

TRICIA BUSHNELL: Before Joe’s trial even happened, before he, he even had the opportunity to present his defense to a jury, that evidence was inappropriately destroyed.

The Oshkosh Police Department had destroyed a box of evidence, including the sexual assault kit, after it was returned from the State Crime Lab. The police officer who destroyed the evidence testified he couldn’t remember being told to do it. But he said he would have accepted that command from a high ranking officer involved in the case or “the prosecutor.”

TRICIA BUSHNELL: The destruction of evidence prior to trial is, I mean, not normal and quite frankly alarming.

The legal team reviewed their options — and came up with a Hail Mary.

TRICIA BUSHNELL: The sheet that was used to convict Joe that they used at trial, was introduced as an exhibit, right? So that meant it wasn’t being held at the police department or at a crime lab or somewhere else. It should be with the court clerk.

One of the law students called the clerk, who looked closer, and she found it.

TRICIA BUSHNELL: It was in a, you know, like, manila envelope, and it was sort of way back in the shelf and was sort of falling behind the bookcase.

PHOEBE PETROVIC: God that’s such a rollercoaster.

TRICIA BUSHNELL: (Laughs) It’s often a roller coaster. I mean, it’s one of the things that we’ve seen in many DNA cases where someone is exonerated by DNA evidence, we’re told the evidence doesn’t exist, and what we have to do is persuade someone to actually check, right? Because you don’t know what you’re gonna find until you look.

They sent the sheet to a lab to be retested. It matched a man named James Crawford.

Crawford also had a history of sexual assault. In February of 1994, just 11 days after Frey was sentenced for the Oshkosh rape, a jury found that Crawford had repeatedly sexually abused a 12-year-old girl. He had also been accused of sexually abusing her 11-year-old sister. Those assaults began in 1991, just months after the Oshkosh rape.

But even though his DNA was found on the Oshkosh survivor’s bedsheet, Crawford would never face trial for that assault.

TRICIA BUSHNELL: Mr. Crawford had passed away by the time we got these results; he’d actually died in a nursing home. And at the end of his life, he was also struggling with dementia, and he started talking to his mother and confessing, and he told his mother that he had committed a rape. He tried to type up a letter even, but she didn’t know if it ever got sent or what happened to it from the nursing home. If the right person had been convicted the first time around, would he have gone on to sexually assault other people?

A Winnebago County judge overturned Joseph Frey’s conviction in 2013, saying it was necessary quote “in the interest of justice.”

A year later, the State Claims Board gave Frey $25,000 for serving eight years in prison for a crime he did not commit — the maximum payout available for a wrongful conviction in Wisconsin.

Even at this point, the Winnebago DA’s office argued that Frey still could have been involved in the Oshkosh assault.

TRICIA BUSHNELL: The prosecutor who agreed to, to overturn his conviction, testified at the claims board about a number of crazy things that could have happened that — well he said, you know, ‘It’s certainly clear that Joseph Frey is not guilty, but I can’t say that he’s innocent.’ And then proceeded to say, ‘What if Mr. Crawford had come in and masturbated on the sheets at some point?’ Right? I mean. What — it’s insane. The science is there. We know it is there. The reason is because he was the one who raped her. Why can’t we own that? Why can’t we just say that that’s what happened and recognize the truth of it?

Frey told me that he wasn’t guilty of any of the assaults. But when I asked Bushnell whether there was any doubt that he had committed the first two, she said that Frey quote “did not appeal them based upon innocence.”

PHOEBE PETROVIC: When I do the shorthand of trying to explain this case to folks, you know, um, they’re with me until I explain that ‘Oh, but he had a record of sexual assault.’

TRICIA BUSHNELL: He had others.


TRICIA BUSHNELL: Yeah. Look. What happened here has happened in other wrongful convictions cases, which is, the law enforcement and prosecutor saw someone who had a record, right? And that’s all they’ll see because they’ think that person must have done this too. So, many people who are exonerated have also committed other crimes. Mr. Frey did horrible things. He was held accountable for those things, But when we say that because he did something else that’s horrible, he must have done this, we ignore the reality of what happened. We don’t get justice for that victim and we don’t keep the public safe because the real perpetrator is free to go do other things.

Joseph Frey has been out of prison for nine years. But it hasn’t been easy.

JOSEPH FREY: I was coming out of three — 23 years of isolation. I had been secluded from all things normal.

He now lives in Madison.

JOSEPH FREY: When I came out, I was very scared. I sat on the top of State Street and Pinckney and, uh, was just waiting for the police to swoop down on me any second.

Frey got a job, started volunteering and took up a new hobby — photography. He says it’s his therapy.

I keep thinking about Vince Biskupic’s reaction after Frey’s 1993 conviction for the Oshkosh assault: Frey was a dangerous person who needed to be kept out of society.

PHOEBE PETROVIC: So I found one newspaper clip from when Joe was convicted, and the newspaper said that he was convicted despite quote “several unusual hurdles facing the prosecutors.” And the DA said that, quote, “The main thing that helped us was the jury looked at the consistent evidence between the three crime scenes and disregarded speculating on lost hairs or the semen stains.”

TRICIA BUSHNELL: Right, I mean (laughs). Basically — yeah, I mean that’s, that’s — I’m gonna need a minute to breathe on that one. Uh…

Bushnell took a breath, and I read the quote again. And Bushnell said that the justice system fails to do its job when it ignores, or destroys, real evidence.

And that’s true — even when the accused has been convicted of similar crimes before.

TRICIA BUSHNELL: What the state wanted was for Joe to die in prison, and they used a crime he didn’t commit to try to do it.

To be clear, Bushnell isn’t saying that the state knew that Frey was innocent. And she says she doesn’t know if what happened to Frey is prosecutorial misconduct. But…

TRICIA BUSHNELL: I think Joe’s case is a good example of tunnel vision.

On the final episode of Open and Shut, Vince Biskupic runs for the top prosecutor job in Wisconsin, Attorney General, but his campaign hits a snag.

SCOT ROSS: What kind of, you know, Boss Hogg, Roscoe P. Coltrane operation is he allowing to have happen up there?