Judge Denies Special Prosecutor & County Funding In Kowalski Case
April 11, 2019
Earlier today in Corunna, Shiawassee County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Stewart denied Jerome Kowalski's defense requests for a special prosecutor and for Livingston County to pay for his defense in his retrial.
The 72-year-old Kowalski was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2013 for the double murder of his brother and sister-in-law. The conviction was recently vacated after misconduct came to life involving a relationship between Judge Theresa Brennan, who presided over the case, and former State Police Detective Sean Furlong, who was the lead witness for the prosecution.
Kowalski's defense attorney, Mark Gatesman, requested a special prosecutor for the retrial, believing that Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt knew of the affair, but still proceeded with the trial. Vailliencourt has always vehemently denied that. Judge Stewart said that upon his review, the defense did not put forth a meaningful case for a special prosecutor and that he saw no appearance of impropriety from the Prosecutor's Office. He denied the request, adding that if he had accepted it, it would have been subjecting prosecuting offices from all over the state to local gossip.
Gatesman then asked the court to grant county funding to allow Kowalski the means to properly defend himself, as they see fit. He claimed his client had a right to a fair trial and a fair defense with expert witnesses, but not the adequate resources needed to go against the county. Judge Stewart called the request "shocking" and that it wasn't the responsibility of Livingston County residents to write a blank check for the "laundry list of items" on what he called, was Kowalski's "wish list." All requests were denied.
Judge Stewart released a schedule of upcoming dates for the retrial at the end of the session. The jury trial date the People of the State of Michigan v. Jerome Kowalski is scheduled to begin on September 23rd. (MK)