August 1, 2023 |

Kibler Fowler & Cave LLP Files Appeal in Seventh Circuit on Behalf of Pro Bono Client Challenging Dismissal of Habeas Petition

On July 13, 2023, Kibler Fowler & Cave’s Appellate Litigation practice group filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit challenging the dismissal of our pro bono client’s habeas petition.

Convicted by a jury in 2013 and sentenced to 40 years imprisonment, our client filed a motion for post-conviction relief, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel as a result of his trial attorney’s failure to seek an in camera review of the alleged victim’s treatment records to determine whether she had a mental health disorder that made her an unreliable witness at trial. Ordinarily, that decision might be explained as a strategic decision, but in our client’s case, the defense counsel represented to the court that he possessed credible information indicating that the alleged victim had been diagnosed with a serious mental health disorder. The U.S. District Court ultimately affirmed a Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision holding that there was no ineffective assistance of counsel and our client could not show prejudice because he could not have met the necessary standard for an in camera review of the alleged victim’s medical records at any rate.

In the appellate brief, KF&C argues that the holdings of the district court and the Wisconsin Court of Appeals are contrary to or based on an unreasonable application of federal law. Further, KF&C argues that our client has satisfied both prongs of an ineffective assistance of counsel claim under the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Strickland v. Washington and was entitled to an in camera review of the alleged victim’s medical records under the Supreme Court’s decision in Pennsylvania v. Ritchie.

KF&C is committed to providing pro bono services to individuals in need and is proud to represent this indigent defendant in seeking to assert and vindicate his constitutional rights. The appeal also underscores the breadth of KF&C’s Appellate Litigation practice group, which currently has six pending appeals spread across the Third, Fourth, Seventh, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits.

The KF&C team on this appeal includes Counsel Stephen Raiola and Counsel S. Nathan Park.

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