Karl Schledwitz was a Tennessee lawyer and the business partner of two men allegedly involved in a fraudulent bank loan scheme in the mid-1980’s. In 1988, he was acquitted of charges stemming from that scheme. In 1992, he was indicted on separate mail fraud charges connected to the same scheme. At his trial, prosecutors called a supposedly neutral witness to testify against Schledwitz. He was convicted by a jury on all counts in 1992, and sentenced to 6 months in prison.
After his conviction, it was discovered that the “neutral” witness was in fact actively involved in the investigation of Schledwitz. In addition, prosecutors failed to disclose to the defense an investigative report in which one of the other men involved in the fraud said Schledwitz had no knowledge of it, as well as affidavits from two other men, who also said Schledwitz was unaware of the fraud. In March 1999, the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted Schledwitz’s habeas corpus petition because of prosecutorial misconduct in withholding exculpatory evidence, and his conviction was vacated.
- Stephanie Denzel