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21. Habeas corpus

State ex rel. Gregory S. Gorak v. Michael Meisner, Warden, 2017AP39, District 1, 2/27/18 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) The circuit court denied Gorak’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus after deciding it was procedurally barred because the issues it raised had already been litigated and decided.  The court of appeals holds that… Read More


Who killed habeas corpus?

Judge Lynn Adelman, Eastern District of Wisconsin,  wrote an article by that name.  SSRN recently posted it online. An excerpt from the abstract is pasted in below. Don’t hold back. The article is short, and you won’t regret reading the whole thing . . . unless perhaps you’re Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton, or a state… 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


Erick Daniel Davila v. Lorie Davis, USSC No. 16-6219, 2017 WL 2722418 (June 26, 2017), affirming Davila v. Davis, No. 15-70013 (5th Cir., May 31, 2016) (unpublished); Scotusblog page (including links to briefs and commentary) In a 5-to-4 decision, the Supreme Court holds that ineffective assistance of counsel in state postconviction proceedings does not provide cause to excuse, in a subsequent… 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


Charlotte Jenkins v. Percy Hutton, USSC No. 16-1116, 2017 WL 2621321 (June 19, 2017) (per curiam), reversing Hutton v. Mitchell, 839 F.3d 486 (2016)( 6th Cir. 2016); Scotusblog page (including links to briefs and commentary) Hutton filed a federal habeas petition challenging his death sentence on the grounds that the jury at the penalty phase of… Read More


Virginia v. Dennis LeBlanc, USSC No. 16-1177, 2017 WL 2507375 (June 12, 2017), reversing LeBlanc v. Mathena, 841 F.3d 256 (4th Cir. 2016); Scotusblog page (including links to briefs and commentary) Although this is a per curiam decision and it’s decided under the rubric of federal habeas review, the upshot of this opinion is that states… Read More


State v. Eugene B. Santiago, 2016AP1267, District 2, 5/3/17 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including state’s brief) Santiago’s trial lawyer missed a charging error that led to an overstatement of the penalties Santiago faced; this failure doesn’t allow Santiago to withdraw his plea, however, because he fails to sufficiently allege that he would not have… Read More