Reynolds v. Hepp, No. 16-3430 (7th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
In 2002, a Wisconsin jury convicted Reynolds in a fatal carjacking. He unsuccessfully sought habeas relief, 28 U.S.C. 2254, based on alleged violations of his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment right to counsel. He claims the state stopped paying his state‐appointed lawyer during his direct appeal and that he received ineffective assistance during his direct appeal and trial. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the denial of relief. Even if his denial‐of‐counsel claim were not procedurally barred, his attorney did not abandon Reynolds. After being told by the State Public Defender that he would not be paid any more for working on Reynolds’s case, the attorney continued to represent Reynolds for free in the state court of appeals, completing the briefing there and seeking review by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The court rejected an alternative argument that Reynolds was denied the effective assistance of counsel when the Public Defender’s Office created a conflict of interest by ceasing to pay his lawyer while also informing him that he would no longer receive new case assignments. The state court did not unreasonably apply Supreme Court precedent in holding that a missed opportunity to raise an equal protection challenge to the state carjacking statute in an already-untimely fashion was not an “adverse effect”; Reynolds’s claim cannot meet the stringent standard of section 2254(d)(1).