Rare enough to happen once a year, this past week saw the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reverse the WD of Wisconsin on two separate cases. One involved a reversal of a denial of a Rule 29 motion in a wire fraud case and the other dealt with an illegal search of an apartment building facilitated by the use of drug dogs. The first case was handled by yours truly in which a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago overturned the conviction of Madison banker Dave Weimert last week Friday, saying no crime was committed and ordered his immediate release from a federal prison facility.
“We rarely reverse a conviction for mail or wire fraud due to insufficient evidence,’’ the judges said in a 2-1 opinion released late Friday. In this case, however, “there is no evidence that Weimert misled anyone about the material facts or about promises of future action.’’
Weimert was convicted by a jury last year on charges of federal wire fraud for using email and other communications as part of his successful 2009 sale of property in Texas on behalf of Anchor Bank for a price that was $2 million more than Anchor’s target price.
The three-judge majority decision acknowledged that Weimert showed a “lack of candor’’ during the sale negotiations. But if “omissions of a buyer’s or seller’s negotiating position’’ is a federal crime, it warned, many negotiations could be considered federal crimes -- an enormous expansion federal prosecutors’ power.