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I. Present defense

Wayne Kubsch v. Ron Neal, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals No. 14-1898, 8/12/15 After being convicted of murdering his wife, her son, and her ex-husband, Kubsch was sentenced to death. He challenged his conviction and sentence in a federal habeas proceeding on three grounds: (1) the Indiana trial court excluded evidence of a witness’s exculpatory hearsay… Read More

Brumfield v. Cane, USSC No. 13-1433, (June 18, 2015), reversing Brumfield v. Cain, 744 F.3d 918 (5th Cir. 2014); SCOTUSblog page (including links to briefs and commentary); Majority opinion by Sotomayor; dissenting opinion by Thomas (joined in part by Roberts, Scalia and Alito) Brumfield was convicted of murder and sentenced to death before Atkins v. Virginia… Read More

State v. General Grant Wilson, 2015 WI 48, reversing an unpublished court of appeals summary disposition; opinion by Prosser; concurrence by Ziegler; dissent by Abrahamson; case activity (including briefs) If this portly opinion had been placed on 40-page reducing plan, it would have gained clarity and exposed its inner motive: ensuring that a 22-year old… Read More

State v. Geoffrey A. Herling, 2014AP565-CR, District 4, 12/18/14 (not recommended for publication); case activity The circuit court did not err by requiring Herling to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he had amnesia that prevented him from mounting an adequate defense. A defendant may be denied a fair trial if he has amnesia that deprived him of… Read More

Questions presented: I.   Whether a state court that considers the evidence presented at a petitioner's penalty phase proceeding as determinative of the petitioner's claim of mental retardation under Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), has based its decision on an unreasonable determination of facts under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2). II.   Whether a state court that… Read More

State v. Ricky H. Jones, 2013AP1731-CR, District 2, 7/30/14 (unpublished); case actvity Exclusion of expert testimony about defendant's lack of propensity toward child sexual assault In defending Jones against two counts of 1st-degree sexual assault of a child, his lawyer wanted to elicit expert testimony that Jones posed a low risk of committing a sexual offense--a… Read More

Review of a summary disposition, case activity Issues (lifted from the State's PFR here) Did Wilson satisfy the opportunity requirement for presenting third-party-perpetrator evidence under State v. Denny, 120 Wis. 2d 614, 357 N.W.2d 12 (Ct. App. 1984) with respect to Willie Friend? If the answer to the first question is "yes," was the error… Read More

Questions presented: 1. Whether the Michigan Supreme Court's recognition that a state statute abolished the long-maligned diminished-capacity defense was an "unexpected and indefensible" change in a common-law doctrine of criminal law under this Court's retroactivity jurisprudence. See Rogers v. Tennessee, 532 U.S. 451 (2001). 2. Whether the Michigan Court of Appeals' retroactive application of the… Read More