State v. Victoria L. Conley, 2019AP902, 9/10/20, District 4 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Conley pleaded to one count of disorderly conduct related to a couple of altercations occurring over a few minutes in Madison. After sentencing she moved to withdraw her plea alleging that the court failed to apprise her of the nature of the charge, and that she did not otherwise understand. The court of appeals holds that, assuming the colloquy was deficient, the record shows she understood the charges.

Conley told the court at the time of the plea that it could rely on the allegations in the criminal complaint. Those allegations are clear and internally consistent. In particular, the alleged attack in the car described in the complaint is easily understood as portraying violent and abusive conduct tending to cause or provoke a disturbance. Conley does not now point to any divergence between, on the one hand, the ordinary, commonly understood meaning of the words “violent,” “abusive,” or “disturbance,” and on the other hand any case law interpretations of those words in WIS. STAT. § 947.01(1). Conley asserts ambiguously that “[t]he disorderly conduct charge is just all over the place,” but she fails to support the assertion….

Further, there are the following facts: (1) Conley represented on the plea form, “I do understand the charge(s) to which I am pleading”; (2) Conley’s trial counsel told the plea-taking court that she was satisfied that Conley understood any possible defenses she might have to the disorderly conduct charge and that Conley was entering the plea voluntarily, intelligently, and with understanding; and (3) both Conley’s counsel and Conley personally confirmed that the court could rely on the allegations in the complaint to provide an adequate factual basis for the plea to disorderly conduct.

(¶¶24-25). The court also rejects a “difficult-to-follow” duplicity challenge. (¶¶29-34).

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