United States v. Wiman, No. 16-3929 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Wiman, then 66 years old, entered a Vanderburgh County credit union, approached a teller, pointed a gun, pushed a cooler toward her, and demanded money. He grabbed the cooler and bolted. The robbery was captured on surveillance video. A police dispatch went out with a description of Wiman and his car. Police pulled him over and arrested him. At the police station, Wiman confessed to the robbery. Inside his car, officers recovered the cooler, containing $3,084 cash. Wiman was indicted for robbing the credit union, 18 U.S.C. 2113(a), using a firearm during a crime of violence, section 924(c)(1)(A)(i), and possessing a firearm as a felon, section 922(g)(1). The judge neglected to administer an oath to answer questions truthfully before voir dire began. Upon realizing his error, the judge had the clerk swear in the potential jurors and asked the jurors collectively if the oath would have changed their answers. No one spoke up. Once the jury had been selected but not empaneled, the judge polled each juror individually. A jury found Wiman guilty; the judge sentenced him to 110 months’ imprisonment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, finding that the oversight concerning the oath was harmless error, not a structural defect. The court found no rule or decision requiring that a venire be administered an oath; the oath cannot be a “basic protection” because it is not even a trial requirement.