Articles Posted in Wisconsin Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court convicting Defendant of first-degree intentional homicide for shooting Dale Meister, the father of his granddaughter, and sentencing him to life in prison without the possibility of release to extended supervision, holding that Defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to confrontation was not violated in this case. Specifically, the Court held (1) because Meister’s statements to family and friends about Defendant were not testimonial and therefore did not implicate the Confrontation Clause, this Court need not reach the certified questions regarding the forfeiture by wrongdoing exception to the right of confrontation; (2) “other acts” evidence of Defendant’s prior burglary was properly admitted for the purpose of challenging Defendant’s asserted memory problems; and (3) Defendant’s counsel was not ineffective either at trial or at sentencing. View "State v. Reinwand" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the circuit court declaring Wis. Stat. 165.95(1)(a) and (3)(c) unconstitutional as applied to Defendant, holding that circuit court erred in declaring the statute unconstitutional. Defendant was undergoing treatment in the Iowa County Drug Treatment Court program when he picked up new drug charges. Based on those charges, the State moved to expel Defendant from the drug treatment court program pursuant to section 165.95(3)(c). While the expulsion hearing was pending, Defendant pled no contest to possession of heroin. Defendant subsequently filed a motion challenging the constitutionality of Wis. Stat. 165.95(1)(a) and (3)(c). The circuit court issued a declaratory judgment ruling that sections 165.95(1)(a) and (3)(c) violated Defendant’s substantive and procedural due process rights. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court’s order after Defendant conceded that the circuit court erred in declaring section 165.95 unconstitutional, holding (1) Defendant did not have a fundamental liberty interest in continued participation in a treatment court funded by section 165.95; and (2) section 165.95 need not define expulsion procedures for treatment courts in order to survive a procedural due process challenge. View "State v. Keister" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals remanding this case to the circuit court with directions to amend Defendant’s judgment of conviction to reflect the sentence credit Defendant requested for time that he spent at liberty after being mistakenly released from prison without being transferred pursuant to a detainer to serve remaining conditional jail time, holding that Defendant was not entitled to the sentence credit. Specifically, the Court held (1) for the purpose of receiving sentence credit under Wis. Stat. 973.155, a defendant is “in custody” whenever the defendant is subject to an escape charge under Wis. Stat. 946.42 or another statute which expressly provides for an escape charge; and (2) Defendant in this case was not entitled to sentence credit because Defendant, who was at liberty, could not have been subject to conviction for escape under section 946.42. View "State v. Friedlander" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed as modified the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s postconviction motion, holding that trial counsel did not provide ineffective assistance and that there was no Brady violation in the proceedings below. Appellant was convicted of sixteen felonies based on allegations that he had repeated sexual contact with two juveniles and exposed them to pornography. Appellant filed a postconviciton motion asserting, among other things, ineffective assistance of counsel claims and a claim that the State violated its obligations under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). The circuit court denied the postconviction motion. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding (1) even if trial counsel’s performance was deficient, there was no prejudice to Defendant; and (2) the State did not violate Defendant’s due process rights under Brady when it failed to disclose impeachment evidence about a government witness’s pending charges. View "State v. Wayerski" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court’s restitution order of $8,487.41 against Defendant for losses caused by his burglary of a residence, holding that the circuit court did not err in calculating the amount of restitution. On appeal, Defendant argued that the circuit court erred in alleging prior burglaries of the victim’s home in violation of Wis. Stat. 973.20. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) there was no evidence presented at the restitution hearing to support a finding that the victim’s missing property was stolen on any other date than the date of the burglary considered at sentencing; and (2) the circuit court did not clearly err in finding that the victim met her burden in proving the amount of loss resulting from the crime considered at sentencing and in ordering restitution at $8,487.41. View "State v. Wiskerchen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court’s judgment of conviction of Defendant for operating while intoxicated (OWI) as a second offense, holding, among other things, that a prior expunged OWI conviction must be counted as a prior conviction under Wis. Stat. 343.307(1) when determining the penalty for OWI-related offenses. In 2011, Defendant was convicted of injuring another person by operation of a vehicle while intoxicated. The circuit court later ordered expunction of Defendant’s 2011 conviction. In 2016, Defendant was charged with one count of OWI as a second offense. The State relied on Defendant’s expunged 2011 conviction as the prior predicate offense under section 343.307(1) in order to charge him with second offenses. After Defendant was convicted, he appealed, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a prior expunged OWI conviction constitutes a prior conviction under section 343.307(1); and (2) the State must prove a prior OWI conviction in a second offense OWI-related offense by a preponderance of the evidence. View "State v. Braunschweig" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress and remanded the cause to the circuit court with instructions to suppress the challenged evidence and vacate Defendant’s convictions, holding that the searches at issue violated the United States and Wisconsin constitutions. Defendant was convicted of possession of a controlled substance and bail jumping. In the circuit court, Defendant filed a motion to suppress, arguing that the law enforcement officer’s warrantless entry into her apartment was not justified under any of the exceptions to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement, and therefore, the evidence obtained during the searches of her apartment and person should be suppressed. The circuit court denied the motion to suppress, concluding that the officer had consent to enter Defendant’s apartment and that exigent circumstances justified the officer’s pushing open the apartment door. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the officer did not have consent to enter Defendant’s apartment; and (2) exigent circumstances did not justify the officer’s opening Defendant’s apartment door. View "State v. Reed" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court denying Defendant’s motion to suppress and convicting Defendant of burglary and possession of burglarious tools, holding that a search warrant issued for the placement and use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking evidence on a motor vehicle, but not executed within five days after the date of issuance under Wis. Stat. 968.15 or timely returned under Wis. Stat. 968.17(1), is not void if the search was otherwise reasonably conducted. At issue on appeal was whether the warrant in this case was governed by Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 968 and whether the warrant complied with the Fourth Amendment to the United State Constitution and Article I, Section 11 of the Wisconsin Constitution’s guarantees against unreasonable searches. The Court held (1) the GPS warrant in this case was not subject to the statutory limitations and requirements of Chapter 968; and (2) the GPS warrant complied with Fourth Amendment principles. View "State v. Pinder" on Justia Law

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The circuit court erred in granting Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence discovered during a search incident to arrest on the basis that “‘judicial integrity’ was vital enough to justify exclusion of evidence when the issuing court’s arrest warrant was invalid ab initio.” Defendant was charged with one count of possession of methamphetamine. Defendant filed a motion to suppress, arguing that, while a warrant had been issued and law enforcement did not engage in misconduct in executing the warrant, his constitutional rights were violated because the warrant violated his due process rights. The reviewing court agreed and granted the motion to suppress. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) suppression of evidence discovered during the search incident to arrest was not appropriate because the sole purpose of the exclusionary rule is to deter police misconduct, and there was no police misconduct in this case; and (2) neither judicial integrity nor judicial error is a standalone basis for suppression under the exclusionary rule. View "State v. Kerr" on Justia Law

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Defendant voluntarily consented to a blood draw by his conduct of driving on Wisconsin’s roads and drinking to a point evidencing probable cause of intoxication and forfeited the statutory opportunity under Wis. Stat. 343.305(4) to withdraw his consent previously given by drinking to the point of unconsciousness. Defendant was convicted of operating while intoxicated and with a prohibited alcohol concentration. The conviction was based on the test of Defendant's blood that was drawn without a warrant while he was unconscious, pursuant to Wis. Stat. 343.305(3)(b). Defendant moved to suppress the results of the blood test, asserting that the warrantless blood draw violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment. The circuit court denied the suppression motion in reliance on section 343.305(3)(b). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 343.305(3)(b) applied, which, under the totality of the circumstances, reasonably permitted drawing Defendant’s blood. View "State v. Mitchell" on Justia Law