My husband just recently opened a new account at one of those online, do-it-yourself, investment companies.  He promises that with the tiny amount of money I was willing to allow him to experiment with that he will make us tons of money.  After he got the account set up, he asked me to sit beside him so he could show me what he had done.  As he was showing me the fancy website and all of the different gadgets
Continue Reading How is That Account Titled?

“Abject submission is not the way to an honorable peace.”

Lavinia Goodell, September 1879

Lavinia Goodell never married or had children, but she was a lifelong proponent of full equal rights for women, including marriage equality.  In the fall of 1879, she wrote a series of articles (read more here) countering pieces that appeared in the Christian Union newspaper that admonished women to defer to their husbands. Lavinia’s rebuttals ran in Lucy Stone’s Woman’s Journal. Lavinia’s first offering,
Continue Reading “Abject submission is not the way to an honorable peace.”

The safety of individuals with disabilities that are not immediately apparent may be at risk during encounters with law enforcement and first responders. To reduce these safety risks, a person may now voluntarily designate a nonapparent disability on a driver’s license, identification (ID) card, and vehicle registration. This way, individuals can be discreetly identified with a medically verified cognitive, mental, neurological, or physical disability. The goal, according to the Invisible Disabilities Association, is to help alert law enforcement
Continue Reading Tip of the Month: Disclosing Invisible Disabilities on IDs Can Increase Safety

Outagamie County v. R.G.K., 2019AP2134, 9/20/22, District 3 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity
After the county petitioned to recommit “Rick” only his counsel appeared at the final hearing. The court found good cause to extend the recommitment in order to schedule a new final hearing. Unfortunately, Rick did not appear at the rescheduled hearing either, so the circuit court defaulted him.
Rick’s lawyer did appear at the rescheduled hearing. She informed the court that she had
Continue Reading Defense win! COA reverses default recommitment

Walworth County v. M.R.M., 2022AP140-FT, certification granted 9/14/22 case activity
Issues (from the COA certification):

1. Does the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision in Waukesha County v. E.J.W., 2021 WI 85, ¶38, 399 Wis. 2d 471, 966 N.W.2d 590, apply retroactively or only or only prospectively?
2. In a ch. 51 case involving a petition to extend a commitment order, is circuit court competency determined from the expiration of the earlier commitment order or from
Continue Reading SCOW takes up ch. 51 adjournments and circuit court competency (again)

Trempealeau County v. C.B.O., 2021AP1955 & 2022AP102, 8/30/22, District 3, (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity
This is a double defense win! You might even call it a quadruple defense win! The court of appeals consolidated “Chris’s” appeals from his initial commitment order and his recommitment order. It reversed his initial commitment order because (1) the circuit court violated Langlade County v. D.J.W. and (2) the county’s evidence was insufficient. It reversed the recommitment order because
Continue Reading Defense wins! Initial commitment and recommitment reversed due to D.J.W. and evidentiary errors

Winnebago County v. D.E.S., 2022AP251, 8/31/22, District 2, (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity
Langlade County v. D.J.W. requires a circuit to make specific factual findings with reference to the dangerousness standard that its recommitment order is based upon.  The circuit court failed to follow D.J.W. but the court of appeals affirmed because the circuit court’s words and the county’s closing argument supposedly made it clear that they were relying on the second and fifth standards
Continue Reading COA affirms recommitment despite county’s failure to specify standard of dangerousness

City of West Bend v. Peter F. Parsons, 2022AP98, 8/17/22, District 2 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)
This is an appeal of convictions for violating local ordinances in conformity with the state laws outlawing OWI. The court of appeals affirms.
An officer stopped Parsons’s vehicle after midnight during a snowstorm, thinking his plates were expired. The officer quickly learned he was wrong about the plates, but engaged Parsons in conversation and checked his driver’s
Continue Reading COA upholds extension of traffic stop based on half the totality of the circumstances

Although tax season may end for many individuals after returns are filed on April 15, for others it may be just the beginning. Many people receive a notice from the IRS as they process returns. These communications from the IRS are common and aren’t necessarily a sign of trouble. If you receive a notice, read it carefully, address it promptly, and consider whether you should contact a lawyer.
Most notices from the IRS are regarding incomplete or incorrect information
Continue Reading Tax & Wealth Advisor Alert: Understanding Common Notices Individuals Receive from the IRS


The State Bar of Wisconsin Litigation Section is one of few professional organizations that brings together adversaries. Hopefully, we don’t normally think of ourselves as adversaries, but this section involves attorneys who consistently advocate for opposing parties with a balance of defense and plaintiff members on the board. While we may be on opposite sides, we understand that many of our struggles are the same and we usually work collaboratively to find solutions. For those challenges that are
Continue Reading Asking for a Friend: How to Avoid Aggravating Opposing Counsel

State v. Wilson P. Anderson, 2020AP819-CR, petition for review of an unpublished court of appeals opinion granted 9/14/22; case activity (including briefs)
Issues:

1.  Whether Sell v. United States, 539 U.S. 166 (2003) requires the State to submit a treatment plan in support of its motion for involuntary medication to restore a defendant’s competency to proceed in a criminal case.
2.  Whether Sell requires the State to offer the opinion of a medical doctor (rather than
Continue Reading SCOW will address evidence required for involuntary med orders under Sell and 971.14

M.K.S. v. R.J.F., 2021AP1839, 8/16/22, District 1 (no recommended for publication); case activity
Here is a result we don’t often see: a successful ineffective assistance of counsel claim in a TPR case. A jury found grounds to terminate “Richard’s” parental rights. Allegedly, he had failed to assume parental responsibility for his daughter, “Morgan.” On appeal, he argued that his trial counsel failed to introduce evidence to explain his lack of contact with Morgan and that he was prevented
Continue Reading Trial counsel held ineffective for failing to elicit evidence in TPR case

State v. T.M., 2021AP1729, 8/16/22, District 1 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity
“Taylor” presented three challenges to the termination of her parental rights to her son: (1) erroneous admission of a psychological examination; (2) ineffective assistance of trial counsel for failure to object to a flawed jury instruction; and (3) insufficient evidence. The court of appeals rejected all of them.
Erroneous admission of psychological examination. Taylor argued that the circuit court erroneously admitted a psychological
Continue Reading COA rejects challenges to admission of psychological report and IAC claim; affirms TPR

State v. Singh, 2021AP1111-CR, 8/18/22, District 4 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)
Singh challenges his 2005 conviction for OWI, first offense. He first asks for a writ of coram nobis vacating the conviction. Alternatively, he asks that his conviction be vacated or amended under State v. Forrett, 2022 WI 37, 401 Wis. 2d 678, 974 N.W.2d 422, which held that an OWI penalty cannot be increased because of a prior revocation stemming from
Continue Reading COA denies writ of coram nobis seeking to vacate OWI based on Forrett

Wood County v. J.L.S., 2022AP299, 8/25/22, District 4 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity
The circuit court entered orders for initial commitment order and involuntary medication order. Later (not sure how much later), the County persuaded the circuit court to dismiss these orders. On appeal, J.L.S. argued, among other things, that the appeal of orders was not moot due to their collateral consequences. The County filed a letter saying that it wouldn’t file a response brief because
Continue Reading COA deems corp counsel to have confessed error in ch. 51 appeal