Interrogators have tricks to get suspects to waive their Miranda rights and, once those are waived, to confess to crimes. But a confession won’t do the state any good unless a prosecutor can use it at trial.
Wisconsin’s criminal jury instruction 140 describes the prosecutor’s burden of proof as “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, it then contradicts itself by telling the jury “not to search for doubt” but instead “to search for the truth.”
Wisconsin prosecutor Michael Griesbach recently wrote, “To be sure, mistakes were made in the Avery case.”
Whenever I write a motion or a brief on behalf of a client, it inevitably requires that I quote language from a published case, the criminal complaint, or some other document.
When confronted by the police, innocent suspects often want to talk in order to clear up things on the spot. But in many cases, the police will only hear what they want to hear, and will spin an innocent person’s denial into evidence of guilt.
Steven Avery was convicted of murder in 2007. At his trial, the state called numerous scientific experts to help seal his fate. Then, a few years later, Wisconsin adopted the stricter Daubert standard for the admissibility of expert testimony. Had this supposedly tougher standard been in effect earlier, how would it have affected Avery’s trial?
Many law schools have let their students down over the past decade.
Wisconsin courts have a long history of acting as a “superlegislature” and ignoring — and even contradicting — the Legislature’s words when doing so benefits the state.
The trouble with torture as an interrogation tactic is that the suspect will say whatever the interrogator wants to hear — regardless of whether it’s true. Unfortunately, this problem also plagues today’s softer, more sophisticated interrogation tactics.
In two previous columns I’ve discussed my rule 1.9 petition (written with my fellow attorney Terry Rose and supported by the attorneys Rob and Ellen Henak), in which I asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to amend ethics rule 1.9.
In my column from March, I wrote about Wisconsin’s criminal jury instruction 140. This instruction explains the notion of reasonable doubt, but then, strangely, concludes by telling jurors “not to search for doubt” when rendering their verdict but instead “to search for the truth.”
The wildly popular Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer” chronicles the two convictions of Steven Avery. The bulk of the documentary concentrated on Avery’s second case — his trial for the murder of Teresa Halbach — in which there was a great deal of evidence that someone else, other than Avery, committed the crime.
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