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No appeal in Yahnke case, state says

By Staff | Jul 6, 2009

A former Blue Earth resident seeking to appeal a felony conviction has hit a stumbling block.

After reviewing several court documents for two months, G. Tony Atwal of the Office of the State Public Defender’s Office says they have decided not to handle John Andrew Yahnke’s case.

Atwal says attorney-client privileges prevent him from commenting on reasons for their decision.

“There’s not going to be any appeal pursued any further,” says Atwal.

Yahnke says he’s talked with defense attorney Bill Grogin on what his options are.

“I have still not given up hope, even as discouraging as it is at this time,” Yahnke says.

Grogin was Yahnke’s attorney when a 12-member jury convicted him in October for felony possession of explosives with intent to manufacture a bomb. In November, he was sentenced to 10 years supervised probation and issued a 23-month stay of execution.

Yahnke is currently living in Inver Grove Heights and is looking for work.

He recently celebrated his “golden birthday” — turning 19 on June 19.

Yahnke says it’s tough to find a job and it has been “a nightmare.”

But, he is optimistic about his future.

“When you have hit bottom, the only option is to go up,” he says.

While Atwal’s office has officially closed his file, Yahnke says he has about a year left to file an appeal.

In February, Atwal filed a notice of appeal with the Court of Appeals.

In a letter to Yahnke, the assistant state public defender said requesting an appeal would be based on transcripts of pretrial hearings, the trial, any motions filed and any exhibits that were admitted as evidence.

“The Court of Appeals does not accept any new evidence and there is no new trial at the appellate level. We are challenging the fairness of the trial that you have already had, the sufficiency of the evidence supporting your convictions, and under some circumstances, your sentence,” wrote Atwal.