Wisconsin Court of Appeals
Criminal Procedure — habeas corpus — laches
Where a defendant waited five years to seek reinstatement of his appellate rights, the doctrine of laches bars his petition.
“[A]pplying laches is appropriate and equitable here. It has long been held in Wisconsin that successive attempts at postconviction relief will not be tolerated in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. Here, Washington sat on his hands for at least five years after allegedly discovering he was denied an appeal, failing to immediately seek reinstatement of his appellate rights. Instead, he filed three other requests for collateral relief. If we were to grant Washington reinstatement of his appellate rights now, the results of his prior motions would be nullified, see Betts v. Litscher, 241 F.3d 594, 597 (7th Cir. 2001), and Washington would be permitted multiple reviews of the same issues and new issues that may otherwise be procedurally barred. Our jurisprudence does not require such an inefficient result, particularly when a defendant does not provide a sufficient reason for his failure to bring a claim sooner. See State ex rel. Macemon v. Christie, 216 Wis. 2d 337, 343, 576 N.W.2d 84 (Ct. App. 1998) (‘[D]ue process for a convicted defendant permits him or her a single appeal of that conviction and a single opportunity to raise claims of error.… Successive, and often reformulated, claims clog the court system and waste judicial resources.’). Washington has failed to provide any reason, much less a sufficient reason for his delay. As such, we deny Washington’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus.”
Recommended for publication in the official reports.
Dist. I, Milwaukee County, Dallett, J., Brennan, J.
Attorneys: For Petitioner: Henak, Ellen, Milwaukee; Peterson, Robert W., Racine; For Respondent: Loebel, Karen A., Milwaukee; Potter, Kevin C., Madison; Weber, Gregory M., Madison