MARINETTE (WLUK) – Kenneth Hudson’s appeal for this 2000 murder of Shanna Van Dyn Hoven is now on hold, as the court tries to determine who will represent Hudson.
Hudson is serving a life prison term for the June 25, 2000, murder of Van Dyn Hoven, 19. She was killed while jogging in a Kaukauna park. Hudson was also sentenced to consecutive sentences after that for kidnapping, attempted homicide and recklessly endangering safety, totaling another 70 years in prison. Since sentencing, Hudson has filed more than a dozen appeals and motions -- usually focusing on claims he was framed -- and all have failed.
Hudson was given an Oct. 31 deadline to file one final, all-encompassing motion, which Marinette County Judge James Morrison characterized as Hudson’s last chance to address any issue, saying the Van Dyn Hoven family needs to have closure on the case. Before the deadline, however, Hudson hired attorney Michael Balskus, who asked for an extension of the deadline, given his newness to the case.
However, Outagamie County District Attorney Melinda Tempelis objected, saying Balskus should not be allowed to represent Hudson. She noted Balskus worked in the district attorney’s office when Hudson was prosecuted – although Balskus did not specifically work on the Hudson case. Also, Tempelis raised concerns with the multiple boxes of documents Balskus had taken from the office, ostensibly as part of another matter, wondering if there are Hudson-related items among the contents.
Judge Morrison ordered Balskus to turn over any documents he obtained from the district attorney’s office, so Tempelis can review them to determine if any information pertains to the Hudson case. Balskus has until the end of the year to supply the information, and Tempelis then has time to review the documents. The parties return to court Feb. 24 to assess the status of the case.
Hudson’s allegations that he was framed could include possible testimony by Balskus about misconduct by various officials. Judge Morrison asked Balskus to explain how he could represent Hudson but also offer testimony, as those are inherently contradictory. Balskus must submit a written motion on that point.
Judge Morrison denied Balskus’ request to have the case re-assigned to an Outagamie County judge, saying he took the case himself because it made sense for several reasons, which he outlined.
Meanwhile, the filing of Hudson’s motion on the issues of the murder case itself will wait until at least March, and a decision is likely to take several months after that. Judge Morrison apologized to the Van Dyn Hoven family members for yet another delay.
“What is critically important is that we get this matter right. It’s critically important in the interest of the victim, and of the family as much as it is Mr. Hudson – and our system in general. So, I know it’s frustrating; I can’t begin to understand your frustration. We’re not screwing around here. We’re not doing it for the fun of it. These are not unimportant procedural matters,” the judge said.