United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Habeas Corpus — Miranda warnings — harmless error
Where the evidence of guilt was overwhelming, state courts did not unreasonably conclude that the admission of an unmirandized statement was harmless error.
“Kamlager’s admission that he had seen Wanda on the day she disappeared simply does not amount to “a full confession in which the defendant discloses the motive for and means of the crime,” which may have tempted the jury to “rely upon that evidence alone in reaching its decision.” Fulminante, 499 U.S. at 296. Kamlager merely stated that he met Wanda at the Menards parking lot in Janesville to go to breakfast but they had a fight and he returned her to her truck, where he had last seen her. We reject Kamlager’s argument to the extent he claims that this evidence is uniquely distinctive, critical evidence against him. The Wisconsin Appellate Court reasonably found that the state presented untainted corroborating evidence from which a rational jury could conclude that Kamlager met with Wanda on the day she disappeared. Further, the court reasonably found the testimony relating to the other tainted exchanges between Banaszynski and Kamlager ‘relatively less important.’ Under § 2254(d)(1), we may not substitute our own judgment for that of the state court. See Woodford v. Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 24-25 (2002).”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Randa, J., Norgle, J.