Published on: Friday, May 10, 2024

Wisconsin man is convicted of murder in 1996 and sentenced to life imprisonment. Contrary to his instructions, his lawyer fails to file his appeal. Yikes! He spends the next two decades trying to get the state courts to let him get his appeal. In 2016, they finally give him the thumbs-up. Huzzah! To appeal, he needs a transcript of his trial. Which he tried to get in 1997 but couldn't because he lacked the money. And the court reporter's notes have since been destroyed. Yikes again! State trial court: Given the absence of a transcript, it's only fair he gets a new trial. Huzzah! State appeals courts: Au contraire, it's his fault he doesn't have a transcript since he should've ordered it back in the '90s. Yikes. Seventh Circuit: Which he tried to do. But you all said no because he was too poor! Wisconsin's behavior is a "travesty of justice." We'll fix it for you: If you don't start a new trial within two months, the guy needs to be released on bail. And if you don't start it within three, he's to be released unconditionally.

The case is Pope v. Taylor, No. 23-2894 (7th Cir. May 6, 2024).