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18. Pre-Miranda silence

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State v. Thomas S. Mayo, 2007 WI 78, affirming unpublished opinion For Mayo: Keith A. Findley, UW Law School Issue/Holding: Erroneous comments on pre-Miranda silence were harmless, given both infrequency of occurrence and also absence of impact on the defendant’s decision to testify (which then properly exposed him to such comment), ¶¶49-52… Read more