Criminal

April 16, 2021 – Ruling on a moot issue that will only guide future action, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has confirmed, once again, that a statewide emergency order limiting capacity at restaurants, bars, and other indoor facilities was invalid and unenforceable. Then-Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary Andrea Palm issued Emergency Order No. 3 in October 2020, expiring 30 days later, to control the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. It limited indoor gatherings to 25 percent of total occupancy limits. The emergency order exempted certain entities, including daycare centers, schools, government and tribal facilities, health care centers, and other gatherings…
DRW’s Council on the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness is hosting a virtual event regarding mental health advocacy on April 20th from 5 to 6 p.m. It is open to everyone. DRW will share how it currently supports people with mental illness. But it really wants to hear ideas from people like you–public defenders, social workers, clients, judges–regarding additional ways it might help people with mental health needs recover and live successfully in the community.  Learn more here. The featured speaker–Phyllis Greenberger–will focus on working with children and teens in the juvenile justice system. Pre-registration is…
Rusk County v. A.A., Appeal No. 2019AP839 and 2020AP1580 (consolidated); certification granted 4/13/21, District 3; case activity here and here In Waukesha County v. S.L.L., 2019 WI 66, 387 Wis. 2d 333, 929 N.W.2d 140, SCOW held that recommitment proceedings are governed only by the procedures in §§ 51.20(10)-(13). Thus the procedural requirements in §§(1)-(9) do not apply. S.L.L., ¶¶24, 27. The court of appeals certification asks SCOW to decide whether S.L.L. violates the plain language of Chapter 51. If not, then does Chapter 51 violate 14th Amendment due process and equal protection given that, under S.L.L.‘s construction,…
State v. Davonta J. Dillard, 2020AP999, 4/13/21, District 1, (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs) Officers patrolling in Milwaukee noticed a vehicle idling and apparently unoccupied. One approached the vehicle and shined his flashlight through a window; he saw a person (Dillard) in the back seat who immediately ducked out of view (most of the windows were highly tinted, impeding the officer’s view). The officer opened the rear driver’s side door, and the person then opened and ran out the door on the other side. Other officers tasered and detained him. The officer who’d opened the…
Milwaukee County v. K.M., 2019AP1166, 4/13/21, District 1; (1-judge opinion ineligible for publication); case activity The saga continues. Portage County v. E.R.R. 2019AP20133 presented the question of whether appeals from recommitment orders are ever moot due to their collateral effects. When SCOW split 3-3 in that case, it granted review in Sauk County v. S.A.M., 2019AP1033 and ordered the parties to brief whether it may order the court of appeals to decide commitment appeals before they expire. See our post here. Some might see the S.A.M. order as a red flag signaling “proceed with caution” on mootness.…
Appellate lawyers, take note. Several recent press reports have observed that Justice Hagedorn has become the powerful swing vote on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Yesterday’s SCOWstats post provides the data. “In 2020-21, with Justice Kelly now supplanted by Justice Karofsky, the remaining three conservatives can no longer win without Justice Hagedorn, and, with him, they have prevailed in three of the seven 4-3 decisions so far this term—a ‘victory total’ no greater than that of the three liberal justices joined by Justice Hagedorn.” This morning’s decision in Tavern League of Wisconsin, Inc. v. Andrea Palm, shows just how critical…
April 13, 2021 – Reporters from the MacIver Institute for Public Policy sued Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, alleging they were denied access to a press event because of their organization’s viewpoint. Recently, a federal appeals court rejected that claim. In John K. MacIver Institute et al. v. Evers, No. 20-1814 (April 9, 2021), a three-judge panel for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals “found no evidence of viewpoint discrimination under any First Amendment test with which we might view the claim.” Thus, the panel affirmed the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Western District of Wisconsin,…
State v. Richard Michael Arrington, 2019AP2065-CR, 4/6/21, District 3 (recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Arrington was being held at the Brown County Jail for 1st-degree homicide when another inmate, Miller, began chatting with him about his case. Turns out Miller was a snitch for State. With the assistance of police, Miller recorded his conversations with Arrington. Then the State used Arrington’s statements to obtain a homicide conviction. The court of appeals held that the State’s use of the snitch violated Arrington’s 6th Amendment right to counsel, and his trial lawyer was ineffective for failing to move to…
Rock County Department of Human Services v. J.E.B., 2020AP1954-FT, 4/7/21, District 4 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity Good news/bad news. It’s terrific that the court of appeals is going to enforce the new requirement that circuit courts ground their recommitment orders on factual findings tied to a specific standard of dangerousness in §51.20(1)(a)2.a-e.  See Langlade County v. D.J.W., 2020 WI 41, ¶3, 391 Wis. 2d 231, 942 N.W.2d 277. However, J.E.B. requested reversal. Period. Without any objection by the county or briefing by the parties, the court of appeals decided to remand the case for…
South Carolina’s Largest Urgent Care Provider is Paying $22.5 Million to Settle Claims Billed for Doctors and Nurses with False Credentials. Learn How You Can Stop This Fraud and Earn a Large Cash Whistleblower Reward. In order to get paid by Medicare, Medicaid or Tricare, healthcare professionals must be properly credentialed. When you go to see the an orthopedic surgeon, you assume she is a fully licensed and credentialed physician. Unfortunately, some shady healthcare providers cut corners and illegally use healthcare workers without proper credentials. That hurts both taxpayers and endangers patient health. (Since Medicare and the other two programs…
It took less than a month before the national legal media began focusing on our landmark class action lawsuit against Maine papermills for the contamination of drinking water in rural Maine. Potentially many thousands of Maine households are drinking water contaminated with per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). According to an article in the National Law Journal, “The Skowhegan paper mill, owned by Sappi and referred to as the Somerset Mill, is a pulping and papermaking facility that manufactures various paper products, including coated paper, grease-proof packaging paper, and bleached chemical pulp. The paper mill has an annual production of 970,000 metrics tons…
The state election laws require municipal clerks or municipal election commissions to change the registration status of electors who may have moved, not the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC), the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled (5-2). In Zignego at al v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, 2021 WI 32 (April 9, 2021), a majority ruled that “the responsibility to change the registration of electors who may have moved out of their municipality is given to ‘the municipal clerk or board of election commissioners,’” rejecting an argument that this statute also applies to the WEC. “To translate, a board of election commissioners is…
Maine Cancer Victims and Those with Contaminated Wells May Be Getting Some Relief after the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee Approved PFAS Legislation that Makes It Easier to Sue For much of the afternoon, members of the Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary debated two virtually identical bills designed to extend the time period for victims of PFAS contamination to seek damages. PFAS is a family of similar chemical substances known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Under the proposed PFAS legislation, any action for harm or injury caused by PFAS can be commenced within 6 years after the plaintiff discovers…
In 2018, the Environmental Defense Fund submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the FDA. What it found was shocking: in 2009 and 2010, the agency ignored warnings from PFAS manufacturers about the imminent threat of PFAS in papermill wastewater. In their yearly environmental assessments, Daikin America and Chemours told the FDA that massive amounts of the PFAS they manufactured were polluting land and water in the vicinity of paper mills. As revelations about the FDA´s failure to protect Americans from dangerous PFAS made headlines, the EPA feared a “public relations nightmare” over the discrepancy between the level of…
State v. Kevin M. Jereczek, 2019AP826, 4/6/21, District 3 (recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Police suspected Jereczek’s son in a sexual assault and thought there might be evidence on the family desktop computer. They asked Jereczek if they could search the machine; he agreed but limited his permission to the son’s account. The examiner, Behling, didn’t adhere to this restriction: he instead began his search in the recycle bin, which contains files deleted from any of the computer’s accounts. There he found child pornography apparently associated with Jereczek’s account, which led him to seek a warrant to…
Village of Grafton v. Elizabeth A. Wesela, 2020AP1416, District 2, 4/7/21 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs) Wesela concedes police had reaonsable suspicion to make the initial stop of the car she was driving, but complains, fruitlessly, that the officer didn’t have reasonable suspicion to extend the stop to conduct field sobriety tests or to ask for preliminary breath test. Wesela was pulled over very early on a June morning after driving from a lot that served as a park-and-ride site for Summerfest wassailers. The officer stopped the car because the registered owner had an expired…