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government regulate bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, money laundering, fraud, Milwaukee criminal defense lawyerBy: Kenneth Baker & Jason Luczak

If you haven’t heard of Bitcoin by now, you haven’t been paying attention. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Ethereum, and Ripple have dominated headlines for the past six months. Cryptocurrencies are digital assets designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography to secure its transactions, to control the creation of additional units, and to verify the transfer of assets. What does that mean? Basically, it is a computer generated asset that is capable of being bought and sold. There is a finite number of Bitcoins, which creates demand, and therefore creates value for the crypto-asset. The Blockchain is what secures the cryptocurrency. Blockchain technology is a public ledger that tracks Bitcoin transactions. Every second, millions of people are buying and selling Bitcoin. Every transaction has a specific transaction code and is part of the Bitcoin Blockchain. This procedure creates a record of authenticity that is verifiable by a user community, increasing transparency and reducing fraud. This is where miners come in.

Bitcoin miners utilize highly-advanced supercomputers, much greater than your common PC, to “mine” for Bitcoins. However, this characterization is a tad deceiving. Miners do not find Bitcoins on the internet, rather, the miners are tracing the Blockchain transactions, and once the transactions reach a certain threshold, and the miners complete a “block,” they are rewarded in, you guessed it, Bitcoins. Bitcoins are thus a form of currency that is capable of being used to purchase goods and services on the internet. While this is a simplistic explanation for how Bitcoin operates, it is helpful to understand that this entire process is completely free from governmental intervention. Therefore, there is currently no recourse for any person that is cheated out of a transaction using Bitcoin.


wrongfully imprisoned, Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers, criminal charges, exoneree compensation, criminal defenseWhen a person is accused of a crime in the United States, he or she is presumed innocent until proven guilty—our legal system is meant to protect the innocent. However, all too often, miscarriages of justice occur, and people are convicted of crimes they did not commit.

When someone is wrongfully imprisoned and he or she is later exonerated, the individual deserves to be compensated for the time he or she was incarcerated. Unfortunately, the amount of compensation that exonerees are eligible to receive is often inadequate.

Compensation for Exonerees in Wisconsin


Brendan Dassey, Federal Court of Appeals, habeas relief, wrongfully convicted, federal courtOn December 8, 2017, after twice prevailing in his habeas corpus case at the federal District Court and before a three judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, an en banc (entire) Seventh Circuit issued a 4-3 decision reversing itself, and despite the facts and applicable law, denied Brendan Dassey habeas relief. The next step for Mr. Dassey is the United States Supreme Court.

The 4-3 majority opinion in Dassey v. Dittmann held that while the record contained factors that would support finding that his confession was involuntary, including the fact that the defendant was 16 at time of confession, that he had IQ in low 80s, that his confession contained inconsistencies, and that interrogators gave broad assurances that honesty would produce leniency, the slim 4-3 majority found that this was not enough. The slip opinion of the Seventh Circuit can be found at http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2017/D12-08/C:16-3397:J:Hamilton:aut:T:fnOp:N:2074184:S:0.

The majority in the en banc panel, which was short several judges, found that the record contained factors suggesting that Mr. Dassey’s confession was voluntary, including the fact that the interrogators gave no specific promise of leniency, that he spoke freely to interrogators with his mother's consent after receiving Miranda warnings, that interrogations took place without physical coercion or intimidation, and that the defendant provided many damning details in response to open-ended questions. This they said, outweighed the errors two prior court decisions found clearly existed. As such, the state appellate court's determination that Dassey's confession was voluntary was reasonable, and federal courts should not declare state-court factual determinations to be unreasonable merely because federal courts would have reached different conclusion. Translated, this type of analysis means that clearly coercive and illegal interrogation procedures, which, it has been found, can produce false confessions, are acceptable, as well as the innocence of a suspect is irrelevant.


Milwaukee criminal appeals lawyer, criminal defense case, Motion for Postconviction Relief, Wisconsin Appeals Process, Record on AppealWhen you are facing criminal charges, the outcome of your trial will have a major impact on your life. Unfortunately, errors sometimes occur during criminal trials, resulting in unjust convictions or incorrect sentences. If you are unhappy with the results of your criminal trial, you have the option to appeal.

The Wisconsin Appeals Process

After the circuit court has issued its final judgment in your trial, you must file a Notice of Intent to Pursue Postconviction Relief within 20 days. This Notice informs the court that you plan to appeal the case. Within 30 days after filing the Notice of Intent, you must request a copy of the court transcript(s). The court clerk will serve you with a copy of the transcript(s) within 60 days.


Steven Avery, criminal defense, illusion of justice,  post-conviction attorney, forensic evidence  Steven Avery’s request for a new trial was again rejected November 28, 2017, by Sheboygan County Circuit Judge Angela Sutkiewicz. Avery had asked the judge to reconsider her October 3rd decision rejecting his request for a new trial.

Avery’s current post-conviction attorney said that she had new testimony and evidence to present to the court, which warranted a new trial. However, Judge Sutkiewicz found that she had no basis for reconsideration and reversal of her October 3rd decision denying such relief. Avery’s attorney is seeking an appeal of the ruling with the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.

An excellent, inside view of Steven Avery’s case, his trial and the disputed forensic evidence used to convict him is found in Jerry Buting’s 2017 book, Illusion of Justice. The review of this book written by Ray Dall’Osto in the recent NACDL Champion magazine, can be read at https://www.nacdl.org/Champion.aspx?id=48930.

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