A state appeals court also had harsh words for the judge who handled the trial in Bergen County
A Bergen County mother currently serving a 50-year sentence for killing her husband in 2009 had her conviction overturned on Wednesday by a state appeals court.
The court found several problems with the trial of Jenny Tran, 57, who was convicted in 2011 of aggravated manslaughter and several related crimes suffocating her ailing husband with a plastic bag in their Elmwood Park home. She also attempted to kill her daughter and threatening to kill her son.
Jenny Tran (Prison photo)
Mainly, the court found an expert witness improperly was allowed to offer opinion on Tran’s state of mind, and although not a reason to overturn, the court found the judge made several cavalier comments they deemed “inappropriate and insensitive.”
In a 61-page decision, the appeals court did not question her guilt – she admitted to suffocating her husband, Minh Tran – but found numerous trial errors and ordered Tran get a new trial, in Bergen County.
Addressing the expert witness testimony, the appeals court said the prosecutor had asked the expert to define “legal insanity,” which led the expert to say that Tran had “the specific intent” to kill That testimony was critically improper, ultimately denying Tran a fair trial because it “usurped the jury’s exclusive role to determine whether defendant satisfied her burden of proof” for pleading insanity the decision said.
Throughout her trial, Tran’s lawyers based their case on their client’s insanity. As the sole provider for her family, the defense brought many witnesses to the stand including her daughter and work supervisor who testified that Tran’s mental health took a turn for the worse in the months leading up to the killing of her husband.
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Source:: New Jersey Real -Time News