A man convicted of shooting and killing an on-duty Rusk County Sheriff’s deputy nearly four years ago is appealing his life sentence.
Doug Nitek was sentenced in December 2018 after a jury found him guilty of first degree intentional homicide in the death of Deputy Dan Glaze as the officer was sitting in his squad vehicle and investigating a suspicious vehicle in a field along Broken Arrow Road. He was also found guilty of possession of methamphetamine, possession of THC, possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of criminal damage to property. He was found not guilty of numerous other charges and many others were dismissed.
In April, the state Court of Appeals denied Nitek’s pro se request for a stay. He also requested his case be placed in abeyance “due to logistical difficulties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.” At the time of the request, Nitek had no appeal currently pending that could be stayed and also Nitek’s attorney had obtained an extension of a deadline to file an appeal.
Litigants or parties representing themselves in court without the assistance of an attorney are known as pro se litigants.
“Moreover, this court does not typically entertain pro se motions from represented litigants,” the court’s letter states.
After being given multiple extensions to file a post-conviction motion or notice of appeal, Nitek’s attorney, Dennis Schertz, of Hudson, filed a notice of appeal with the Wisconsin Circuit Court on May 11 and Wisconsin Circuit Court of Appeals on May 18.
A notification of filing of the circuit court record was filed with the Wisconsin Court of Appeals earlier this month. Other records also have been transmitted recently to the court of appeals.
A July 6 letter to Nitek from the state Court of Appeals citing a report from Nitek’s attorney states that “further appellate proceedings in your case would be frivolous and without arguable merit.” Nitek was granted 30 days to file a response.
The letter cites the U.S. Supreme Court Case Anders vs. California,
in which a court-appointed attorney filed a motion to withdraw from the appeal of a criminal case because of his belief that any grounds for appeal were frivolous.
“I have received from your appointed counsel a report that further appellate proceedings in your case would be frivolous and without any arguable merit,” the court’s letter states. “A copy of that report was served upon you.”
According to the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office, in a no-merit appeal, the question is whether the potential arguments would be wholly frivolous; the standard means that the issue is so lacking a basis in fact or law that it would be unethical for counsel to make the argument. This means that there are no arguably meritorious issues, not just that the issues a client seeks to raise lack arguable merit.
Nitek and Schertz were given until Aug. 5 to submit a “no merit response” by Aug. 5.
Nitek is currently being held in the Green Bay Correctional Institution.