Judge Ruben Castillo Grants Robert Wilson's Petition For Writ Of Habeas Corpus

In a 42-page Memorandum Opinion And Order dated October 20, 2006, Judge Ruben Castillo of the Northern District of Illinois granted Robert Wilson's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 USC 2254. Wilson had been convicted of attacking 24-year old June Siler at a bus stop in Chicago on February 28, 1997. Siler's throat was slit with a box cutter. Wilson had signed a written confession on March 3, 1997. Prior to trial, Wilson filed a motion in limine seeking permission to present evidence to the jury regarding the crime spree of 21-year old Jerryco Wagner, who had been attacking white victims at bus stops during this same time period. The trial court denied that motion. However, Judge Castillo found that "[t]he evidence proffered by Petitioner showed that Wagner admitted committing five unprovoked stabbing attacks on white people within a two-week period and within a roughly one mile radius of the attack on Siler." In granting the petition, Judge Castillo held that "[i]n sum, balancing the state court's apparent justification for excluding the Wagner evidence against the significance of this evidence to Petitioner's case, we conclude that the state court's exclusion of the evidence violated Petitioner's Sixth Amendment right to present a complete defense." Judge Castillo further ordered that "Respondent shall release Petitioner unless the State of Illinois initiates proceedings to retry him within 90 days of the date of this order."