United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
DONALD W. MAIER, Petitioner,
LIZZIE TEGELS, Respondent.
OPINION AND ORDER
BARBARA B. CRABB DISTRICT JUDGE
2006, petitioner Donald W. Maier was convicted of making
threats to two state court judges. Five years later, after he
had been released from custody, he sent two letters to each
of the ten persons who had served as jurors in the 2006 case,
asking them to help him secure a pardon and expressing
negative opinions about his treatment in the prison system.
After some of those jurors complained to law enforcement
about the letters, the state charged petitioner with
stalking, in violation of Wis.Stat. § 940.32(1)(a)7. He
was found guilty after a jury trial and sentenced to a term
of 15 years' imprisonment and 12 years of extended
appealed from his sentence, but was unsuccessful in the state
courts. He now moves for relief in federal court, challenging
the constitutionality of his conviction, the state's
failure to show that he had the requisite intent to threaten
the persons who received his letters, the sufficiency of the
evidence, the jury instructions and the adequacy of the
representation provided by his counsel. Because his claim has
been adjudicated on the merits in the state courts, his
motion cannot be granted unless he can show that the previous
adjudication of his claim “resulted in a decision that
was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of,
clearly established federal law, as determined by the Supreme
Court of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. §
2254(d)(1). Despite his counsel's vigorous advocacy,
petitioner has not shown that the decision of the Wisconsin
Court of Appeals in his case meets the criteria for reversal.
This is not surprising; the standard for federal court
reversal of state court convictions is “difficult to
meet.” Harrington v. Richter, 526 U.S. 86, 102
(2011). Section 2254(d) “preserves authority to issue
the writ in cases where there is no possibility fairminded
jurists could disagree that the state court's decision
conflicts with this court's precedents; it goes no
Maier is serving a 27-year sentence imposed on him after he
was convicted of six charges of being a repeat
“stalker, ” in violation of Wis.Stat. §
940.32. He was found guilty of the charges in 2012, after a
jury found he had intentionally sent copies of two different
letters on two different days to each of six persons who had
served as jurors in his 2006 criminal trial. The jury found
also that the receipt of the letters would have caused a
reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and
did cause serious emotional distress to the recipient.
(Petitioner sent letters to a total of 13 former jurors, but
the letters to three of them were returned to him as
undeliverable and the jury found that four of the former
jurors had not found the letter intimidating.)
state circuit court imposed separate sentences on petitioner
for each conviction of two and one-half years of confinement
plus two years of extended supervision, giving petitioner a
total sentence of 15 years in prison plus 12 years of
first of the two letters petitioner sent included materials
related to pardons, as well as a seven-page handwritten
questionnaire directed to the jurors that began with a
Jury Duty is Not Over.
I did 2 years in prison and because of the power Judge Zappen
had I got skrewed. Now I'm going for a Pardon with the
Governor's office. And I will need your help.
number of question followed, including,
1. Do you think Wood County did a Professional Job? Such as
keeping your Name's and addresses from someone like me?
Note you good people help poor Judge Zappen put me in prison.
Real good people in there.
2. Can I give this list o[f] Jurors to the people I had to
Yes___ or No___
3. Did you know Judge Zappen was harassing me and threaten
8. Did you know I had a 50, 000 volt zapper on my arm to
control what I might say to you?
12. If you were harassed by the police[, ] threaten[ed] and
harassed by the Wood County DA and Judge Zappen[.] Also Judge
Mason and many more.
[And] You ended up in a Mental ins. and than 2 years in
prison on a corrupt trial.
How much money would that be worth ...