Kidd v. Hardy, No. 12-2614 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
A 1980 fire in a Chicago apartment building killed 10 children. Kidd became a suspect following his arrest on unrelated charges. At his 1987 trial on charges of arson and 10 counts of murder, Strunck, a public defender, represented him. Kidd was convicted and sentenced to death. In 1992, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the conviction and remanded for a new trial. At his new trial, Kidd waived assistance of counsel and represented himself, despite the judge’s repeated warnings and advice. Kidd expressed dissatisfaction with the public defender and requested that Dan Webb or Jenner & Block represent him. Kidd was unable to find private counsel. Strunck represented him at the penalty phase and presented evidence that Kidd was borderline mentally retarded. Kidd was convicted again and is serving a life sentence. In unsuccessful state postconviction proceedings, before the same judge who presided over his trial, Kidd argued that the court should have ordered a formal competency hearing because Kidd was taking psychotropic drugs under medical direction and that his waiver of counsel was not voluntary. The state denied his habeas petition. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting Sixth Amendment arguments.