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5. Denial of right to defense

State v. C.L.K., 2017AP1413-1414, reversing an unpublished court of appeals opinion; 2/19/19; case activity (including briefs) The State of Wisconsin petitioned the Milwaukee County Circuit Court to terminate C.L.K.’s parental rights, following which the matter went to trial in due course. After the State rested, the circuit court immediately  decided that Mr. K. was an… Read More

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State v. Kyle Lee Monahan, 2018 WI 80, affirming an unpublished court of appeals decision, 2014AP2187, case activity (including briefs) You wouldn’t know it from the opinions, but the parties here briefed (and WACDL filed an amicus brief on) a question of harmless error doctrine. When trying to decide whether a trial error is harmless… Read More

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McCoy v. Louisiana, USSC No. 16 – 8255, 2018 WL 218-617, 5/14/18, reversing and remanding State v. McCoy, 2018 So.3d 535 (La. 2016); SCOTUSblog page (includes links to briefs and commentary). In a 6-3 opinion written by Justice Ginsburg, SCOTUS holds that the Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant the right to choose the objective of his… Read More

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This new law review article by Daniel Epps examine the subject in depth. Consider this excerpt from the abstract: Judges and commentators sharply disagree about which (and even whether) constitutional errors can be harmless, how to conduct harmless-error when it  analysis applies, and, most fundamentally, what harmless constitutional error even is-what source of law generates… Read More

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How to beat the “harmless error” rap

For the 2015 SPD conference, Judge Sankovitz and Attorneys Rob Henak and Melinda Swartz prepared an excellent outline on a problem that plagues many defense lawyers on appeal.  They have a great issue. They win it, but then the court of appeals or supreme court finds the error harmless.  This detailed, well-researched outline walks you… Read More

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State v. Thomas G. Kramer, 2006 WI App 133, PFR filed 7/10 For Kramer: Timothy A. Provis Issue/Holding: Any error in exclusion of evidence claimed necessary to support the theory of imperfect self-defense would have been harmless: ¶26      …  Our inquiry, therefore, is whether it is “clear beyond a reasonable doubt that a rational jury… Read More

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