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Evidence – relevance — harmless error

Wisconsin Supreme Court

Criminal

Evidence – relevance — harmless error

Although it was error to exclude relevant evidence, the error is harmless.

“Because Venske’s testimony was relevant to Hunt’s theory of defense and corroborated his version of events, we hold that the circuit court erred in excluding the testimony. However, we conclude that the State met its burden of proving that it is ‘clear beyond a reasonable doubt that a rational jury would have found the defendant guilty absent the error,’ State v. Harvey, 2002 WI 93, ¶49, 254 Wis. 2d 442, 647 N.W.2d 189 (quoting Neder v. United States, 527 U.S. 1, 18 (1999)), and thus, the error was harmless. We further determine that Hunt’s ineffective assistance of counsel arguments fail under the two-part inquiry of Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984). We conclude that, under the totality of the circumstances, Hunt received a fair trial, and our confidence in the judgment is not undermined. Accordingly, we reverse the decision of the court of appeals and reinstate the circuit court’s judgment of conviction and affirm its denial of Hunt’s post-conviction motion.”

Reversed.

2012AP2185-CR State v. Hunt

Gableman, J.

Attorneys: For Appellant: Ehmann, Joseph N., Madison; Fite, Shelley, Madison; For Respondent: Pray, Eileen W., Madison; Beck, Theresa A., Jefferson


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