Please ask Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers to fix a judge's legal error and free an innocent Man

Please ask Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers to fix a judge's legal error and free an innocent Man

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Petition to
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and

Why this petition matters

This petition involves the irrefutable demonstration of someone who is both legally and actually innocent in State of Wisconsin v. Brian A. Patterson, Milwaukee County Case Number 2010CF599. However, since it is unpopular for elected officials such as judges to correct an unjust conviction for myriad political and personal reasons, an indisputably innocent man languishes in prison, sentenced to 35 years, ALL BECAUSE THE TRIAL JUDGE ERRONEOUSLY SEQUENCED THE CHARGES TO THE JURY AND REFUSED TO CORRECT HIS OWN MISTAKE OF LAW.

Had the trial judge properly placed the charges in the correct sequence, jurors would have fully acquitted Brian A. Patterson precisely BECAUSE HE ACTED IN SELF-DEFENSE. But because the judge placed the charges in the wrong sequence, jurors unknowingly convicted Patterson erroneously. Here's how it happened:

Under long standing Wisconsin law as interpreted by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the 1970's and 1980's, the legal test to determine whether a person acted in self-defense is whether jurors convict or acquit on Wis. Stat. §940.05 "Imperfect" Self-Defense Homicide (aka unreasonable defensive force) but only if the State first proves an underlying homicide. See Mitchell v. State, 47 Wis.2d 695, 702-03 (1970); State v. Kelley, 107 Wis.2d 540, 547-548 (1983) (the "only issue" on §940.05 is whether jurors found "self-defense...inapplicable and that a defendant's belief that he was acting in self-defense... unreasonable."); State v. Head, 2002 WI 99, ¶67 ("if a person reasonably believed that she was preventing or terminating an unlawful interference with her person and reasonably believed that the force used was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, she is not guilty of either [§940.01] or [§940.05].").

Because an underlying homicide (either §940.01 First-Degree Intentional Homicide or §940.02 First-Degree Reckless Homicide) is required for self-defense to occur since the homicide makes up the "first elements" of §940.05 Imperfect Self-Defense, a person who jurors acquit on §940.05 acted in "Perfect" self-defense and is entitled to a full acquittal on all charges despite the undisputed homicide. See Larson v. State, 86 Wis.2d 187, 196-197 (1978) (§9401 and §940.02 are the "first elements" of §940.05); State v. Felton, 110 Wis.2d 485, 518 (1983) (all elements of §940.02 "must exist as prerequisite" to prove §940.05); State v. Sarabia, 118 Wis.2d 655, 675 (1984) (same); State v. Harp, 150 Wis.2d 861, 881 (Ct. App. 1989) ("Because the jury found Harp guilty of [§940.02] second-degree murder, we must infer that the state established the existence of the first two elements of [§940.05] imperfect self-defense.").

Accordingly, the sequence of the charges is critical to a fair determination of self-defense and the charges must be presented to the jurors in the following simple numerical order:

§940.01 — §940.02 — §940.05

Under this legally correct sequence, once jurors acquit on §940.05, a presumptively innocent person is entitled to a full acquittal on all charges. In contrast in Patterson's case, however, the trial judge erroneously placed §940.05 in the middle and placed §940.02 last in this legally incorrect sequence:

§940.01 — §940.05 — §940.02

The problem with this legally incorrect sequence in Patterson's case is that jurors were never told that if the evidence was insufficient to prove §940.05 and they acquitted him on that charge like they did, they could not legally convict him on §940.02 since §940.02 is the first element of §940.05.

If you're wondering why the sequence of the charges matter? The answer is simple: If the State fails to prove the existence of the underlying §940.01 or §940.02 homicide first, the elements of §940.05 Imperfect Self-Defense are never triggered and §940.05 is the only charge activating the issue of perfect self-defense.

It is UNDISPUTED that jurors found all of the elements of §940.02 which are the first elements of §940.05.

It is UNDISPUTED that jurors acquitted Patterson of §940.05 Imperfect Self-Defense.

It is UNDISPUTED that a person acquitted of §940.05 Imperfect Self-Defense is entitled to a full acquittal since proof of §940.02 is the first element of §940.05.

It is UNDISPUTED that the ONLY error in Patterson's case that prevented the full acquittal is that proof of §940.02 and the §940.05 acquittal occurred in the wrong sequence based on the trial judge's legal mistake.

It is UNDISPUTED that the judge's legal mistake rewarded the State's failure to disprove self-defense after Patterson was forced to admit to the underlying homicide in exchange to get the self-defense instruction.

It is UNDISPUTED that Patterson was sentenced to 35 years in prison based on the trial judge's simple legal mistake on the way he sequenced the charges to the jury.

It is UNDISPUTED that Patterson did not break any laws and, in fact, actually fully complied with the law as it was construed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court over 50 years ago which is still valid and controlling law as you read this petition today.

In other words, PATTERSON GOT 35 YEARS IN PRISON FOR FOLLOWING THE LAW OF SELF-DEFENSE. That Brian Patterson is both legally and actually innocent of any crime IF the judge properly sequenced the charges, but "GUILTY" of homicide because the judge mistakenly sequenced the charges, is the epitome of injustice.

Oddly, when jurors sent the trial judge 2 questions about the central issue of self-defense because jurors were confused and needed guidance while they deliberated Patterson's guilt or innocence, the judge told jurors that he did not know how to answer their questions and directed jurors to go back and reread the same self-defense instructions that confused them. (12/21/2010 State Court Record 114:5). Even worse, the jurors' handwritten self-defense questions are missing from the court's file. This further proves that jurors had no legal guidance and were free to erroneously convict Patterson on a §940.02 charge that they were legally required to acquit him on once they indisputably acquitted him on §940.05.

Please sign this petition and email Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers directly at: {or Phone. 608-888-1665} and ask him to release Patterson, who is both legally and actually innocent of any crime from this illegal imprisonment.

Thank you for your attention and assistance in overturning Patterson's illegal confinement and correcting an incredible injustice.


Brian A. Patterson #570847
Fox Lake Prison
PO Box 200
Fox Lake, Wisconsin 53933 (legal mail only)

PO Box 189
Phoenix, Maryland 21131 (all non-legal mail)



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