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Senser Appealing Conviction In Hit-And-Run

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Amy Senser wants her conviction in a deadly hit-and-run case thrown out.

Wednesday afternoon, three judges will hear arguments at the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Senser’s attorney, Eric Nelson, said there isn’t enough evidence to prove she knew she hit Anousone Phanthavong on an exit ramp in Minneapolis two years ago.

A jury found her guilty of criminal vehicular homicide, sending the wife of former Vikings player Joe Senser to prison for more than three years. Criminal cases are not overturned very often.

The Court of Appeals will not be re-trying the facts of this case, but they are there to decide if the defendant got a fair trial. Amy Senser is serving her sentence for criminal vehicular homicide at the Shakopee women’s prison.

Her attorney will be in court Wednesday, but she won’t be. Last year in Minnesota, lawyers filed 816 criminal appeals.The national average is that about four percent succeed.

But success doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, it means you get a new trial. We asked the Dean of Hamline University’s Law School: why go through the effort of appealing if so few cases are successful?

“If someone is being imprisoned five, 10, 15 years, it actually may be worth the gamble,” said Donald Lewis. “To spend the time, to spend the effort to see if we can get the criminal case reversed, there’s been a lot of time already invested in the case to the extent that the case has already been tried, so the marginal investment is pretty modest and the return is very great.”

Minnesota has only had a Court of Appeals for 30 years. It’s become a key part of the system. The court will have 90 days to make a decision on whether Amy Senser should get a new trial.

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