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C. Voluntariness

State v. Dedric Earl Hamilton, Jr., 2018AP200-CR, 12/26/18, District 1 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) A jury convicted Hamilton of 1st-degree sexual assault of his 8-year old niece. On appeal, he argued that: (1) he was he entitled to a hearing on his postconviction motion in which he alleged, with the support… Read More


State v. J.P., 2017AP1905, District 1, 9/5/18 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity J.P. was adjudicated delinquent for calling in two bomb scares to his high school. The court of appeals rejects his claims that the police lacked probable cause to arrest him and unlawfully searched his phone and that his confession was involuntary… Read More


State v. Dion Lashay Byrd, 2017AP1968, 6/26/18, District 1 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Byrd was convicted of making a bomb threat to the Fox 6 TV station in Milwaukee. He claims the sentencing court relied on two improper factors in imposing the maximum sentence for this Class I felony. First, he says the… Read More


When last we wrote about we Brendan Dassey, the 7th Circuit, sitting en banc, had vacated the writ of habeas corpus issued the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Dassey has since filed a cert petition in SCOTUS, and numerous organizations have filed amicus briefs in support of it. If you have a case involving a possibly… Read More


State v. Chad David Knauer, 2017AP2243-CR, 3/22/18, District 4 (one-judge opinion; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs) Hats off to defense counsel, the circuit court, and court of appeals for the decision in this case. The State charged Knauer with misdemeanor theft of property. Police had interviewed him for just 1 hour at about… Read More

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The 7th Circuit: Making a mess of confession law

Dassey v. Dittman, 2017 WL 6154050, (7th Cir. 12/8/17) This is the decision Making a Murderer watchers have been waiting for. Critics and ivory tower dwellers will celebrate the result (a 4-3 win for the prosecution) but also the concise, dispassionate exposition of the law on involuntary confessions and its application to a hypothetical Brendan Dassey–someone… Read More


City of Hays, Kansas v. Vogt, USSC No. 16-1495, cert granted 9/28/17 Question presented: Whether the Fifth Amendment is violated when statements are used at a probable cause hearing but not at a criminal trial. Decision below: Vogt v. City of Hays, Kansas, 844 F.3d 1235 (10th Cir. 2017) USSC Docket Scotusblog page (includes links… Read More


Brendan Dassey v. Michael A. Dittman, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals No. 16-3397, 2017 WL 2683893, 6/22/17, affirming Dassey v. Pittman, 201 F.Supp.3d 963 (E.D. Wis. 2016). Over a dissent, the Seventh Circuit holds that the Wisconsin court of appeals unreasonably applied clearly established federal law when they decided that Brendan Dassey voluntarily confessed to being involved with Steven… Read More