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8. Guilty plea error

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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Percell Dansberry v. Randy Pfister, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals No. 13-3723, 9/15/15 The judge who took Dansberry’s guilty plea understated the mandatory minimum sentence Dansberry faced, and therefore Dansberry’s plea was not entered with a full understanding of the consequences, as required under Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238 (1969), and Brady v. United States, 397… Read More

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State v. James Lee Johnson, 2012 WI App 21 (recommended for publication); for Johnson: Melinda A. Swartz, SPD, Milwaukee Appellate; case activity The guilty plea colloquy was defective, in that it failed to advise Johnson that the trial court wasn’t obliged to follow the terms of the plea bargain (here: to dismiss and read-in a… Read More

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