Eastern District of Wisconsin Denies Petition for Habeas Corpus Relief in Child Sexual Assault Case
In Luchinski v. Pollard, a Wisconsin man was accused of sexually assaulting three minor children and possessing pornographic images of children on two computers. At the time of the purported sexual assaults, the children were between four and nine years old. Prior to trial, a forensic examination revealed that no pornographic images were located on the man’s computers. In addition, the examination did not reveal any evidence of tampering with the computer hard drives.
Following a jury trial, the man was sentenced to serve 100 years in prison. After he was convicted, the man filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In his petition, the man argued that he received ineffective legal assistance, the prosecution acted outrageously or engaged in misconduct, he was denied his right to confront his accusers at trial, and evidence related to other crimes he committed was improperly admitted at trial. Although the man’s petition was initially denied by the trial court, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the lower court’s decision and remanded the case to the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
On remand, the federal court first examined the evidence before turning to the man’s various arguments. According to the court, the man’s claim that the prosecutor engaged in misconduct did not provide grounds for habeas relief because the evidence the man claimed was withheld from him was immaterial and inadmissible at trial.
Next, the court stated the man’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim was not sufficient to merit habeas corpus relief because the man failed to demonstrate that he was prejudiced by his attorney’s alleged mistakes. The court then turned to the man’s Confrontation Clause argument. According to the Eastern District of Wisconsin, it was not error to admit a witness’ out-of-court statements as long as the witness was subject to cross-examination at trial. Since the witnesses at issue testified at trial and were available for cross-examination, the federal court ruled that this issue was not grounds for habeas relief.
The court then examined whether evidence of the man’s other criminal acts should have been excluded at trial. The court said that, although such information may not be admitted as evidence in order to establish character, it is admissible to demonstrate a pattern of behavior such as seeking sexual gratification from children. As a result, the court dismissed the man’s final claim for habeas relief.
Finally, the Eastern District of Wisconsin denied the man’s petition for habeas corpus.
If you were charged with possessing child pornography in Wisconsin, you should discuss your rights with a skilled attorney as soon as possible. To speak with an experienced sex crimes lawyer today, do not hesitate to contact the law offices of Reddin & Singer, LLP online or give us a call at (414) 271-6400.Additional Resources
Luchinski v. Pollard, Dist. Court, ED Wisconsin 2015
Photo Credit: mzacha, MorgueFile