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6. Disclosure of CI

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


State v. Phonesavanh Vanmanivong, 2003 WI 41, reversing, 2001 WI App 299 For Vanmanivong: John J. Grau Issue/Holding: Trial court failure to order disclosure of an informant is subject to harmless error analysis. The state, as beneficiary of the error, bears the burden of proving beyond reasonable doubt that the error didn’t contribute to the… Read more