A new study by the Sentencing Project finds that nationally “one in 81 Black adults per 100,000 in the U.S. is serving time in state prison. Wisconsin leads the nation in Black imprisonment rates; one of every 36 Black Wisconsinites is in prison.” The study also examines incarceration rates for Latinx individuals. If you’re thinking “deja vu,” consider this data point: When prisons are described as being “more black,” people are more supportive of harsh policies that contribute to

Continue Reading New study shows Wisconsin leads nation in Black imprisonment rates

On September 13, 2021, the House Ways and Means committee released its proposals to raise revenue, including increases to individual, trust and corporate income taxes, changes to retirement plan contributions and distributions, and changes to the estate and gift tax laws. We will continue to monitor this legislation and will provide relevant updates, but wanted to highlight the proposed estate and gift tax changes that may be most crucial to your immediate planning.

Good news first: There is no

Continue Reading Disappearing Act: What You Need to Know About the Estate and Gift Tax Provisions of the House Ways and Means Committee Tax Proposals


Oct. 15, 2021­ ­– The impeachment exception to the hearsay rule does not allow the state to use a defendant’s voluntary statement, obtained in violation of
Miranda v. Arizona, during its case-in-chief, under a recent state supreme court decision.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s 3-3
per curiam decision affirmed the Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision in

State v. Garcia
, 2020 WI App 71 (Oct. 7, 2020). Justice Brian Hagedorn withdrew from participation, which led to an equally

Continue Reading State Cannot Use Defendant’s Statement to Rehabilitate Witness

The recidivism risk of individuals who have been sentenced to prison often figures prominently in criminal justice policy debates.

Nationally, the most frequently cited recidivism figures come from a series of large-scale studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). The BJS recently released its
latest recidivism report, and this one is its most ambitious yet – covering repeat-offending over a ten-year period following release from prison.

About the Study

The BJS tracked

Continue Reading New Recidivism Study Contains Surprises

Lavinia Goodell, October 18, 1873

Lavinia Goodell’s relationship with Janesville, Wisconsin attorney Pliny Norcross was complicated. He assisted her in her legal studies and moved her application to be admitted to the Rock County bar, but when hiring law clerks and associates for his law firm, he chose young men who lacked Lavinia’s intellect and work ethic. He declined to act as Lavinia’s co-counsel on an important case, and when serving as opposing counsel on a small suit, he
Continue Reading “Mr. Norcross Called with a Quantity of Legal Writing He Wanted Me to Do at Once.”

The loss of a job can cause a great deal of difficulty for a person and their family.  There are a variety of situations where an employee may be laid off, fired, or otherwise terminated, and in some cases, employers may violate the laws when terminating an employee.  Those who have been wrongfully terminated may be able to take legal action against their former employer, and they may recover compensation for the financial losses they have experienced.  In these

Continue Reading When Can an Employee Pursue Compensation for Wrongful Termination?

Next week, the Association for Professional Responsibility Lawyers will hold its first conference in-person since early 2020. Everyone attending in person has been asked to submit proof of vaccination. I admit to over-excitement at sending that e-mail with the card. I’ve missed my nerd friends.

Those who do not wish to submit proof, for whatever reason, can attend virtually. And in any case, APRL is a voluntary bar and can make whatever vaccine rules it wants, and nobody is

Continue Reading Do Lawyers Have an Ethical Obligation to Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19?

Congress does not get very much right, but its enactment of the Small Business Reorganization Act (SBRA) is one success it can take credit for.

We have written before about how and why we perceive Subchapter V of Chapter 11 to be a boon for business. See our January 2020 newsletter and this article of mine also from January, 2020, published by the Wisconsin State Bar:


Sub V was enacted because Congress finally realized, after more than 40

Continue Reading Sub V Works!

von Briesen & Roper, s.c., today announced that four lawyers recently joined the firm: Brandon J. Conway, Jordyn A. Janikowski, Christina M. Lucchesi and Audrey R. Merkel.

Brandon J. Conway is an Associate in the Milwaukee office. Conway focuses his practice on commercial litigation, shareholder disputes and toxic torts. Conway received a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin and a B.A. from St. Louis University. He resides in Milwaukee.

Jordyn A. Janikowski is an Associate in the Milwaukee office.

Continue Reading von Briesen & Roper, s.c. Welcomes Four Attorneys

Secura Supreme Insurance Company v. The Estate of Daniel Keith Huck, 2020AP1078-FT (Ct. App. Sept. 29, 2021)

In Secura, the decedent Huck was killed by a motorist while working in the course and scope of his employment for the Village of Mt. Pleasant. After receiving the tortfeasor’s liability limits of $25,000 and worker’s compensation from the Village’s insurer, the Estate submitted a claim for underinsured motorist’s (“UIM”) coverage under Huck’s automobile insurance policy with Secura, which had limits

Continue Reading Court of Appeals Rules UIM Limits Are Reduced Only by Worker’s Compensation Actually Received

Wisconsin Supreme Court 

Oct. 14, 2021 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has issued another extension of a temporary order that allows court reporters to take depositions remotely.

The original order was prompted by the pandemic and was issued on March 24, 2020. In that order, the supreme court determined that a court reporter taking a deposition in Wisconsin is not required to be in the physical presence of a witness to administer an oath for a deposition upon oral examination under

Continue Reading Wisconsin Supreme Court Extends Order That Allows Remote Depositions

Disco Ball 

Oct. 14, 2021 – The Court o​f Appeals District IV has reversed a circuit court ruling that a police officer illegally extended a traffic stop to administer field s​obriety tests because he didn’t observe the driver driving, behaving or talking suspiciously.

State v. Adell, 2020AP2135-CR (Sept. 16, 2021), the court used a six-factor analysis to assess the validity of the police officer’s decision to extend the traffic stop. The court’s analysis of the factors was

Continue Reading Court of Appeals: Odor, Officer’s Training, Prior Convictions Enough to Extend Traffic Stop

FYI, the Civil Jury Instruction Committee has revised JI 7050 to take account of DJW and other recent cases. Of note, there is now a new instruction, JI 7050A, for recommitment proceedings. They are available in both Word and PDF formats at the State Law Library’s jury instruction site; more specifically, 7050 is here and 7050A is here.
Continue Reading A New Jury Instruction for Ch. 51 Recommitment Proceedings

Milwaukee County v. D.C.B., 2021AP581, 10/12/21, Distract 1 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity

Before a circuit court enters an order to recommit a person under Chapter 51, it is supposed to make specific factual findings with reference to the applicable standard of dangerousness in Wis. Stat. §51.20(1)(a)2Langlade County v. D.J.W., 2020 WI 41, 391 Wis. 2d 231, 942 N.W.2d 277. The court of appeals reversed the recommitment order in this case because the
Continue Reading Another Ch. 51 Recommitment Reversed Due to a Circuit Court’s Violation of D.J.W.

Milwaukee County v. R.T.H., 2019AP1763, 10/12/21, District 1 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity

This decision raises an important question of first impression: Are appeals from expired involuntary medication orders ever moot? The court of appeals holds that once the involuntary med order expires, it doesn’t have to address the merits of a claim that there was insufficient evidence to support the order. We think the court of appeals is wrong. Let’s hope that “Robert” files a
Continue Reading Are Appeals from Expired Involuntary Med Orders Ever Moot?

On Sept. 7th, Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs, LLP, Axley Brynelson, LLP and myself filed a law suit in federal court to eliminate the SSDI eligibility ban that keeps disabled workers from receiving regular unemployment benefits. A press release explains:

The eligibility ban means that the plaintiffs in the class action and disabled workers like them are being treated differently from non-disabled workers in Wisconsin. Because of their disability, these SSDI recipients are presently ineligible for unemployment benefits. This different

Continue Reading Class Action Lawsuit to End the SSDI Eligibility Ban