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Conviction for Murder While Mentally Ill Vacated, Plus a Claim of Entrapment in a Drug and Firearm Case

By FindLaw Staff on June 17, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In Wilson v. Gaetz, No. 09-2111, the Seventh Circuit faced a challenge to a district court's denial of defendant's petition for habeas relief from a conviction in state court of murder while mentally ill.  In vacating and remanding the case, the court held that the defendant is entitled to an evidentiary hearing on the issue of prejudice, given the gravity of the charge against defendant and the ample evidence that he was driven to kill the victim by an insane delusion, the counsel's assistance to defendant fell below the minimum professional level required of a lawyer representing a murder defendant.

US v. Hall, No. 09-2682, concerned a challenge to defendants' convictions for drug and firearm offenses related to an undercover sting to rob a "drug stash house." In rejecting a defendant's challenge to his conviction, the court held that the district court did not err by refusing to give a jury instruction on entrapment as there is no evidence that defendant was not predisposed to join in the proposed robbery plan.  Also, in rejecting the other defendant's challenge to his sentence, the court affirmed the sentence as defendant cannot show that his is that "rate case" in which a within guidelines sentence should be considered unreasonable.   

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