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L. Harmless Error

State v. Delano Maurice Wade, 2017AP1021, 6/26/18, District 1 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Wade appeals his jury-trial conviction of sexual assault and false imprisonment. He argues that certain of his accuser’s statements, related by police officers on the stand, were hearsay, and that the court erred in addressing a jury question… Read More

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State v. James E. Gray, 2017AP452-CR, 6/6/18, District 2, (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) The court of appeals here affirms several trial court evidentiary decisions and holds that the State presented sufficient evidence to support convictions for 5 counts  of identity theft.  As you might guess, the decision hinges on the 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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State v. C.L.K., 2017AP1414, petition for review of an unpublished court of appeals opinion granted 3/14/18; case activity Issues: 1. Where, during the grounds phase of a TPR trial, the circuit court errs by directing a verdict in favor of the State without giving the respondent an opportunity to present evidence, has the court committed… Read More

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State v. Kyle Lee Monahan, 2014AP2187, petition for review of an unpublished COA decision granted 11/13/17; case activity (including briefs) The parties and the state agree that the circuit court erred in excluding Kyle Monahan’s proffered GPS evidence from his trial; the only dispute in this appeal is whether that error is harmless beyond a… Read More

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State v. Raymond L. Nieves, 2017 WI 69, 6/29/17, reversing an unpublished court of appeals opinion, 2014AP1623-CR; case activity (including briefs) Forget the old saws that “appellate courts decide cases on the narrowest possible grounds,” “appellate courts should not reach constitutional issues when another issue is dispositive,” and “the supreme court should not decide issues… 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… Read More

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