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State v. Matthew Ray Taylor, 2016AP682-CR, District 1, 6/27/17 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Taylor argues he should get a new trial based on newly discovered evidence and ineffective assistance of counsel. The court of appeals rejects his claims. Read more

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State v. Dimitri C. Boone, 2016AP918-CR, District 1, 6/27/17 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Boone sought a “new factor” sentence modification based on alleged inaccuracies in the report of the presentence investigation (PSI). The court of appeals holds that Boone failed to show the information in the PSI was inaccurate, failed to show new information, or failed to show any of the information was highly relevant to the circuit court’s sentencing decision. Read more

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State v. Steven F. Zastrow, 2015AP2182-CRAC, District 3, 6/27/17 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Zastrow was serving a string of four consecutive prison sentences, the first imposed in June 2006 in Winnebago County, the other three imposed in October 2006 in Outagamie County. In 2008 the Winnebago sentence was vacated and Zastrow was resentenced to imposed and stayed prison time and placed on probation consecutive to the Outagamie sentences. DOC thereafter recalculated the release dates on the remaining three Outagamie sentences, and decided those sentences started running in 2008, when the Winnebago sentence was vacated. (¶¶2-4). Wrong, says the court of appeals. Those sentences began back in October 2006, on the date they were imposed. Read more

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SCOTUS denies Loomis petition

We’ve covered the pending cert petition in Loomis v. Wisconsin (e.g.here, here, here, and here), so we thought we’d close out our coverage by letting our readers know the Supreme Court denied the petition on its way out the door for summer recess. We’ll have to wait for some other case to address whether there are any due process limitations on using proprietary, undiscoverable algorithms to influence judge’s sentencing decisions.

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Erick Daniel Davila v. Lorie Davis, USSC No. 16-6219, 2017 WL 2722418 (June 26, 2017), affirming Davila v. Davis, No. 15-70013 (5th Cir., May 31, 2016) (unpublished); Scotusblog page (including links to briefs and commentary)

In a 5-to-4 decision, the Supreme Court holds that ineffective assistance of counsel in state postconviction proceedings does not provide cause to excuse, in a subsequent federal habeas proceeding, a procedurally defaulted claim of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. Read more

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Divna Maslenjak v. United States, USSC No. 16-309, 2017 WL 2674154 (June 22, 2017), reversing U.S. v. Maslenjak, 821 F.3d 675 (6th Cir. 2016); Scotusblog page (including links to briefs and commentary)

This case will be of interest to federal practitioners only. The Sixth Circuit had taken a position in conflict with the Seventh, United States v. Latchin, 554 F.3d 709, 712-15 (7th Cir. 2009). The Supreme Court rejects the Sixth Circuit’s conclusion, so the approach in Latchin stands. For more background, see the always-thorough Scotusblog case page and our post on the cert grant.

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Jae Lee v. United States, USSC No. 16-327, 2017 WL 2694701 (June 23, 2017), reversing Lee v. United States, 825 F.3d 311 (6th Cir. 2016); Scotusblog page (including links to briefs and commentary)

Lee’s lawyer told him he would not be deported if he pleaded guilty to a drug charge. His lawyer was wrong, so he performed deficiently under Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010). But can Lee establish his lawyer’s indisputably wrong advice prejudiced him, i.e., that he would have gone to trial had he known he would be deported even though he had no real prospect of acquittal? Yes, says a majority of the Supreme Court, rejecting the approach urged by the Government and adopted by some federal circuits. Read more

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SCOTUS delves into structural error

Weaver v. Massachusetts, USSC No. 16-240, 2017 WL 2674153 (June 22, 2017); affirming Commonwealth v. Weaver, 54 N.E.3d 495 (Mass. 2016); Scotusblog page (including links to briefs and commentary)

Members of the public–specifically, Kentel Weaver’s family–were excluded from the overcrowded courtroom during jury selection for his trial. Violations of the Sixth Amendment right to public trial have been called structural errors not susceptible to harmless error analysis. But Weaver’s lawyer didn’t object, so this is an ineffective assistance claim, which of course requires him to show prejudice. But how do you show that you were prejudiced by a structural error–after all, the term refers to an error whose “effect … cannot be ascertained”? United States v. Gonzalez-Lopez, 548 U.S. 140, 149 n.4 (2006). Read more

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