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State v. Percy Antione Robinson, 2020AP1728-CR, certification granted 5/18/22; case activity (including briefs)

Question presented:
The 4th Amendment requires that a judicial officer determine probable within 48 hours of a warrantless arrest. County of Riverside v. McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44, 56 (1991). Milwaukee County complies with this mandate by having the judicial officer review a sworn affidavit from law enforcement and set initial bail. This procedure does not require the accused to appear in person. The judicial
Continue Reading SCOW (again) Takes Up When the Right to Counsel Attaches

Representing your client can often be a delicate balance, especially when your client is difficult or unpredictable. There are circumstances under which an attorney is required to withdraw from representation.1 In other circumstances, attorneys may withdraw from representation if the withdrawal can be accomplished without material adverse effect on the interests of the client.2

Attorneys will inevitably encounter situations requiring or permitting withdrawal. Screening potential clients, setting client expectations, and communication are key to setting an outline
Continue Reading Withdrawal: How to Avoid Those Messy Ethics Issues

As we discussed in recent Legal Updates, because environmental sustainability is now viewed as an essential component of the overall operation of most companies, and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives are gaining in popularity, the value of conducting periodic environmental compliance audits and establishing an environmental management program is essential for companies that desire to be viewed as leaders in environmental compliance. We also discussed environmental regulatory agency programs (“Enviro-Check” and “Green Tier”) that
Continue Reading Why Environmental Compliance Auditing is Important in the Purchase/Sale of a Business

You’ve finally decided to meet with a lawyer to create an estate plan, and you’re thinking about whether you should create a trust. Or perhaps you already have your estate plan in place and its cornerstone is a revocable trust. Revocable trusts are a very common and effective estate planning tool – but can you separate trust fact from fiction? This snapshot will highlight some of the most common misconceptions about revocable trusts.

Myth #1: There’s a difference between
Continue Reading Revocable Trusts – Separating Fact from Fiction

Carbon credits have been a hot topic around the country as a potential opportunity for extra farm revenue. However, like any contract, farmers should carefully consider the terms of a carbon credit sale before signing an agreement.

There are several terms that could trip up the unwary signer.

What is a “carbon credit?” A carbon credit is a fictional currency representing the farm’s credit for undertaking certain practices to sequester carbon in the soil. Typically, each credit represents about
Continue Reading Carefully Consider Carbon Credit Contracts

State v. D.J.L., 2021AP436, 5/10/22, District 3 (1-judge opinion ineligible for publication); case activity

The State charged 17-year-old “David” with exposing himself to two girls (5 and 9) and sexually assaulting the older one. On appeal, he challenged the circuit court’s decision to waive him into adult court. The court of appeals held that the circuit court (1) appropriately applied §938.18(5)’s waiver criteria, (2) had the discretion to reject an expert opinion opposing waiver, and (3) did not
Continue Reading Appeals Court Upholds Waiver of Juvenile Into Adult Court

We are often asked, “What is an estate plan?” An estate plan can mean different things depending on your unique personal and financial situation. We structure your estate plan based on many things, such as whether you are single, married, or divorced; whom you want your estate to pass to upon your death; and the complexity and makeup of your assets. Some individuals may need more estate planning, some may need less.

Here is a list of the typical
Continue Reading What is an Estate Plan?

This month, the Court of Appeals affirmed a circuit court decision that held that the City of Brookfield engaged in an unconstitutional taking when it conditioned the approval of a subdivision development on construction of a new public street. The Court of Appeals determined that this “exaction” was not permissible because it did not address a need caused by the development proposal and, even if it did, the exaction was not proportional to the conditions sought to be addressed
Continue Reading Court of Appeals Determines City Development Condition Is Unconstitutional Taking

State v. Teresa L. Clark, 2022 WI 21, 4/20/22, reversing the circuit court on bypass, case activity (including briefs)

A defendant may collaterally attack a prior OWI conviction if she was not represented by counsel and did not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive the right to counsel during that proceeding. Once she points to evidence of this claim, the burden shifts to State to prove a valid waiver. In a split opinion, SCOW now holds that if the
Continue Reading SCOW Makes it Tougher to Attack Prior OWIs

I was in California this week for a family funeral, and I was prepared to write this blog entry about all of the grace and understanding colleagues and adversaries have shown. Extensions, offers to cover, and forgiveness for delays were free-flowing. And that’s true, and maybe I will write about that at some point, because this profession is a whole lot less horrible when we can acknowledge each other’s humanity.
No, today I’ll write about that time (today) someone
Continue Reading Wherein The Cobbler’s Children Actually Have Shoes For Once

“You have probably heard news of the great fire.”
Lavinia Goodell, December 14, 1853

Lavinia Goodell lived in New York (mainly in Brooklyn but also, for a year, in Manhattan) from 1853 until 1871. During her years in the city she witnessed many historic events. She watched president-elect Lincoln’s carriage procession from a Fifth Avenue balcony. She and her family survived the deadly draft riots of 1863. In December of 1853, fourteen year old Lavinia was an eye witness
Continue Reading “You have probably heard news of the great fire.”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the release of The Godfather. The gangster flick is consistently rated as one of the greatest movies ever made, and its popularity has only increased with age.

Although the characters in the movie care more about skirting the law than following it, there are several moments in the film that carry important legal lessons.
‘I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse’
When Vito Corleone says, “I’m gonna make him
Continue Reading What ‘The Godfather’ Taught Me About Practicing Law

On Friday, April 15, 2022, Governor Tony Evers signed 2021 Act 258 into law, codifying the Business Entity Package that has been spearheaded for more than a decade by the State Bar of Wisconsin Business Law Section.

Among other things, the Act amends and restates Wisconsin’s limited liability company (LLC) statutes (Wis. Stat. chapter 183) to reflect the Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act (RULLCA) approved and recommended for enactment in all the states by the Uniform Law Commission
Continue Reading Wisconsin’s New Business Entity Law Takes Effect Jan. 1

These days there are several websites offering online do-it-yourself legal forms that promise easy, inexpensive legal forms. One such website says “there’s no easier way.” However, the biggest problem with these sites is they cannot provide any advice. When it comes to estate planning or business formation, there is a lot more involved than just filling out forms.

Details Matter.  In estate planning, and any other legal documents for that matter, the details matter. Seemingly minor things like whether
Continue Reading What’s Wrong with Online Will Forms?

CAFA Background and Exceptions

On March 16, 2022, the Seventh Circuit issued its opinion in Schutte v. Coix Health, resolving an open question about the breadth of the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”). 28 USC § 1711 et seq. Congress enacted CAFA in 2005 to expand the availability of federal courts to class action defendants; the Act loosens the requirements for defendants seeking to remove to federal court cases that have been filed in state court as putative class
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Resolves Open Question Under Class Action Fairness Act

On April 8, 2022, Governor Evers signed into law 2021 Wisconsin Act 232 (The Act). The Act, sponsored by the bipartisan House Labor and Integrated Employment Committee, was passed to increase weekly permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits in addition to changing the way that the average weekly wage (AWW) for part-time employees is calculated.

Wisconsin has not raised the weekly PPD benefit rate since 2017. The Act changes the weekly PPD benefit to $415.00 for injuries occurring on or
Continue Reading New Wisconsin Law Affects Worker’s Compensation Benefits