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

For creative people, copyright is a powerful concept. US law gives authors of fixed works with some element of creativity rights over their own creations, be they literary works, works of visual art, etc. This right allows the authors of these works to decide who is allowed to copy their work, and how, amongst other things. Of course, the United States Copyright Office is where the authors of these works can have their work registered as copyrights, but many
Continue Reading Empowering Creatives to Know Their (Copy)Rights

State Bar of Wisconsin recently launched an improved interface for their Books UnBound online digital library.  The collection includes State Bar treatises, aka “the brown binders,” the Wisconsin Attorney’s Desk Reference, Wisconsin Judicial Benchbooks, and other books previously released in print only.

The new interface is a definite step up over the previous one.  It features an improved dashboard a more robust search engine with the ability to search by Boolean operators (AND, OR), proximity operators (/p, /s,
Continue Reading State Bar of Wisconsin Updates Books UnBound Interface

State v. Jamie Lee Weigel, 2022 WI App 48; case activity (including briefs)
In Wisconsin criminal law, the word “sentence” is sometimes used generically to include probation; other times it’s used in a technical sense to refer only to imprisonment, and thus excludes probation. See, e.g., State v. Fearing, 2000 WI App 229, ¶6, 239 Wis. 2d 105, 619 N.W.2d 115. In this case the state attempts to defend its breach of a plea agreement by saying
Continue Reading Defense win: State’s request for 25-year sentence breached agreement to ask for 20 years

State v. Eric J. Debrow, 2021AP1732, 7/21/22, District 4 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)
The court of appeals holds Debrow is entitled to a new trial because of the unfair prejudice caused by one witness’s testimony that would have led the jury to conclude Debrow had a prior criminal conviction that led the witness to be “on alert” when Debrow went into the bedroom of two children.
Debrow was charged with child sexual assault of
Continue Reading Defense win: Witness’s reference to defendant’s prior conviction for similar crime requires new trial

State v. Travis D. Huss, 2021AP1858, 7/20/22, District 2 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)
Huss was stopped at 1 a.m. for going through a flashing red light without stopping. The officer suspected he was impaired and eventually arrested him for OWI. Huss asked the officer to give him a preliminary breath test before she arrested him, but the circuit court excluded evidence of his request from being admitted at trial. The court’s ruling was not
Continue Reading COA affirms trial court’s refusal to permit testimony that OWI arrestee asked for breath test

By: Attorney Adam Schleis
For a parent, few things are worse than the prospect of losing custody of their children. Unfortunately, there are some situations where a parent may be accused of child abuse or where school officials or other parties may be concerned that a child is at risk of harm. In these cases, Wisconsin Child Protective Services (CPS) may initiate a child in need of protective services (CHIPS) action. Children may be temporarily removed from their parents’
Continue Reading What Procedures Are Followed in Juvenile Court CHIPS Proceedings?

“There is no death – what seems so is transition.”

Lavinia Goodell, quoting Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, November 1861

At this time of year, those of us who live in the northern states become keenly aware that summer is over. Leisurely drives to observe the fall colors are a favored pastime for many.

Lavinia Goodell, too, was a fan of autumn. The Goodell family’s correspondence in the 1860s and 1870s often contained some comment about the weather, and Lavinia’s letters
Continue Reading “There is no death – what seems so is transition.”

By:  Attorney Max StephensonA prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can be a great way to protect your assets in the event of a divorce. These types of agreements serve as contracts between couples, and they will usually address how financial issues and other concerns related to a couple’s property will be handled if their marriage ends. A prenup or postnup can specify that certain assets are community property or separate property, and a couple can make decisions about how
Continue Reading How to Make Sure a Wisconsin Prenup or Postnup Is Enforceable

By: Attorney Cameron Weitzner
Drunk driving is known to be very dangerous, and a driver who has been consuming alcohol or using other substances that impair their ability to operate a vehicle will be much more likely to become involved in a car accident and cause harm to others. Because of this, driving while intoxicated is illegal. Drivers who get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol may be stopped by police, arrested, and charged with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)
Continue Reading  What Is an Aggravated OWI in Wisconsin?


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WI Court Opinions
Legal Publications

By Attorney Gregg HermanSeptember 14, 2022

The term “judicial activism” is commonly thrown around to disparage judges. It generally is used to accuse courts of being too aggressive or too liberal. A recent court of appeals decision contains an element which raises an interesting question.
In State v. Liebzeit, 2021AP9 the court of appeals reversed the trial court for modifying a sentence of life imprisonment without parole. The same
Continue Reading Batter up for some judicial activism

Sept. 14, 2022 – A liability release that covered chairlift loading and unloading did not apply to a claim that ski hill employees were negligent in failing to rescue a woman from a chairlift, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has ruled.In Schabelski v. Nova Casualty Company, 2021AP1174 (June 30, 2022), the Court of Appeals District II also held that the acts and omissions of a ski hill employee that preceded the woman’s loading on the chairlift were covered
Continue Reading Ski Hill Release Didn’t Apply to Rescue Attempt, Court of Appeals Rules