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12. Jury instructions/verdict

McDonnell v. United States, USSC No. 15-474, 2016 WL 3461561 (June 27, 2016), reversing United States v. McDonnell, 792 F.3d 478 (4th Cir. 2015); Scotusblog page (includes links to briefs and commentary) While he was governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, along with his wife, accepted gifts and favors worth about $175,000 from a businessman who was… Read More

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State v. Jesus C. Gonzalez, 2015AP784-CR, 3/8/16, District 1 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Gonzalez raises two challenges to his conviction, at jury trial, of reckless homicide and reckless endangerment. The court of appeals finds any error harmless. Gonzalez first takes issue with the trial court’s dismissal of one of the jurors… 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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Review of a published court of appeals decision; case activity (including briefs) In this case the supreme court will address an important issue about the offense of using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, § 948.075(1r). The court of appeals granted McKellips a new trial on a charge under that statute, holding the jury was erroneously… Read More

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State v. Lonel L. Johnson, Jr., 2014AP2888-CR, District 3, 9/15/15 (not recommended for publication); case activity High fives for the defense! The domestic abuse repeater enhancer applied to this defendant increased his maximum penalty for the charged offense. Thus, the court of appeals held (and the State conceded) that the jury had to find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that… Read More

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State v. Maltese Lavele Williams, 2015 WI 75, 7/10/15; majority by Prosser: concurrence by Abrahamson; on certification from the court of appeals; case activity (including briefs) All jury instruction errors are to be assessed for whether the error was harmless, the supreme court declares, including errors describing a theory of criminal culpability that was not… Read More

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State v. Courtney C. Beamon, 2013 WI 47, on review of published court of appeals decision; case activity; majority opinion by Justice Roggensack Beamon was tried for fleeing an officer under § 346.04(3), which requires proof that the person knowingly fled or attempted to elude an officer in one of three ways:  1) by willful or… Read More

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State v. Courtney C. Beamon, 2011 WI App 131 (recommended for publication); for Beamon: Donna L. Hintze, SPD, Madison Appellate; case activity; petition for review granted, 4/25/12 Fleeing, § 346.04(3) – Elements  ¶4        ….  In State v. Sterzinger, 2002 WI App 171, ¶9, 256 Wis. 2d 925, 649 N.W.2d 677, this court separated the language… Read More

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