Due Process Violation.

AuthorHawkins, Derek
PositionDanny Wilber v. Randall Hepp, Warden

Byline: Derek Hawkins

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Danny Wilber v. Randall Hepp, Warden

Case No.: 20-2614; 20-2703

Officials: MANION, KANNE, and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Due Process Violation

A jury convicted Danny Wilber of murder in Wisconsin state court, and he was sentenced to a life term in prison. After unsuccessfully challenging his conviction in state court, Wilber sought relief in federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2254, arguing among other things that he was deprived of his right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment when he was visibly shackled before the jury during closing arguments. The district court issued a writ of habeas corpus on that claim, concluding that the Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision sustaining the shackling order amounted to an unreasonable application of the United States Supreme Court's decision in Deck v. Missouri, 544 U.S. 622, 125 S. Ct. 2007 (2005). Because neither the trial judge nor the state appellate court ever articulated a reason why Wilber had to be visibly restrained in the jury's presence, we agree with the district court that the shackling decision ran afoul of Deck. And because Wilber was visibly restrained at a key phase of the trial, when the State...

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