On Point

Latest from On Point

That’s the title of this new publication by the Legislative Reference Bureau. The publication discusses the impact on Wisconsin of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, USSC No. 18-9256 (U.S. July 9, 2020). On Point didn’t cover the decision when it was released, but Scotusblog did, and its commentary (available here) characterized the decision as “a stunning reaffirmance of the nation’s obligations to Native Americans” because it could have the effect of restoring large swaths of geography to the status of reservation land. Lawyers handling matters that involve activities on possible reservation land should be aware of…
Lange v. California, USSC No. 20-18, certiorari granted 10/19/20 Question presented: Does pursuit of a person who a police officer has probable cause to believe has committed a misdemeanor categorically qualify as an exigent circumstance sufficient to allow the officer to enter a home without a warrant? Lower court decision: People v. Lange, No. A157169 (Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 30, 2019) (unpublished) Docket Scotusblog page (including links to filings and commentary) The Fourth Amendment, of course, generally requires police officers to get a warrant before entering a home. The Supreme Court has recognized an exception to that rule…
State v. George Steven Burch, 2019AP404-CR, District 3 (10/20/20); case activity (including briefs) Burch … contends the [Green Bay Police Department] and the [Brown County Sheriff’s Office] violated his Fourth Amendment rights in three ways: (1) the GBPD exceeded the scope of his consent to search his cell phone by downloading the phone’s entire contents, rather than only the text messages; (2) the GBPD unlawfully retained the entire cell phone download after it completed its June 2016 investigation into the vehicle incidents; and (3) the BCSO had no lawful authority to conduct a second search of the cell phone…
Orin Kerr writes about the Supreme Court’s increasing use of subjective rather than objective tests in Fourth Amendment cases, here. And commentary and discussion about court proceedings during and after Covid-19 continue to appear. For instance: The Pandemic Juror, by Melanie Wilson at University of Tennessee Unmuted: Solutions to Safeguard Constitutional Rights in Virtual Courtrooms and How Technology Can Expand Access to Quality Counsel and Transparency in the Criminal Justice System, by Matt Bender at University of Arkansa Virtual Trials: Necessity, Invention, and the Evolution of the Courtroom, by Susan Bandes of DePaul University and &…
From the DHS press release: Beginning October 24, 2020, Medicaid members that are incarcerated will have their health care benefits suspended and then re-evaluated before they are released from jail or prison. Previously, Medicaid members who became incarcerated had their coverage terminated, which then often delayed their access to medical and behavioral health care following their release. The Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Department of Corrections (DOC) have been working with income maintentance agencies and community partners to make this policy change.
Village of Lomira v. Phillip N. Benninghoff, 2020AP31, District 4, 10/15/20 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs) Benninghoff tries to raise a bevy of challenges to the implied consent law and to the revocation of his driving privileges for refusing a blood draw. His challenges are forfeited because he failed to file a timely request for a refusal hearing and, in any event, the arguments aren’t suitably developed or are foreclosed by State v. Levanduski, 2020 WI App 53. Benninghoff didn’t request a refusal hearing within 10 days as required by § 343.305(9)(a)4. and (10)(a)
Racine County DHS v. W.L.J., 2020AP197-198, October 14, 2020, District 2 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity Good news for defense lawyers in TPR cases. The court of appeals means business. This is the third time in less than a year that it has reversed a termination of parental rights order due to a circuit court error on the question of whether a parent “abandoned” his or her child. One ground for terminating a person’s parental rights is that he abandoned his child. However, the law allows the parent to defend himself by proving that he had “good…
According to this fact sheet on disparities in youth justice, Wisconsin has made significant efforts to reduce youth arrest and incarceration rates. Sounds good until you drill down to see that in Wisconsin the disparities between Black and white youths in the justice system is greater than in every other state of the country except New Jersey. The report attributes our dubious distinction to: (1) racial bias in the court system, (2) police policies that penalize Black youths for crimes that are just as likely to occur among white youths, and (3) automatic adult court transfers for crimes that disproportionately…
State v. Michael J. Pierquet, 2009AP2099-Cr, 10/14/20, District 2, (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs) A jury convicted Pierquet of operating a motor vehicle with a Prohibited Alcohol Content. He argued that the circuit court erred in admitting the results of his blood test and in giving them prima facie effect because the State failed to prove that the analyst who performed the test possessed a valid permit for alcohol testing. The court of appeals disagreed because an employee of the State Lab of Hygiene testified that all of the analysts at the Lab hold a…
State v. C.A.A., 2020AP1194, District 1, 10/13/20 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity At the trial on the petition to terminate C.A.A.’s parental rights, the case manager handling the CHIPS case pertaining to C.A.A.’s child testified that, in her opinion, C.A.A. would not likely satisfy the conditions of return under the CHIPS order within the 9-month period prescribed by § 48.415(2)(a)3. (2015-16) (a requirement eliminated by 2017 Wis. Act 256). (¶6 & ¶9 n.3). The court of appeals holds this was admissible lay opinion testimony. Under § 907.01, opinion testimony from a lay witness…
State v. Manuel Garcia, 2018AP2319-CR, District 2, 10/7/20 (recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Even if a court suppresses a defendant’s voluntary statement because it was obtained in violation of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), the state may use the statement to impeach the defendant if he or she elects to testify. Harris v. New York, 401 U.S. 222 (1971); James v. Illinois, 493 U.S. 307 (1990). The issue in this case is whether this “impeachment exception” allows the state to use the defendant’s statement  to “rehabilitate” one of its witnesses. The court of…
State v. Pedro R. Mendoza, III, 2018AP2325-Cr,10/6/20,  District 1 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) A jury convicted Mendoza of 1st degree recklessly endangering safety and 1st degree endangering safety when he shot into a car occupied by H.V. and M.M.C. Mendoza claimed his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to: (1) seek exclusion of his history with the Latin Kings, (2) seek admission of evidence that H.V. and M.M.C. had previously intimidated witnesses and conspired to falsify testimony; and (3) introduce expert testimony regarding his PTSD to help show that he shot in self-defense. The circuit…
State v. Chanler Lee Guyton, 2019AP1409-CR, District 3, 10/6/20 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Guyton told a social worker for a county social services agency that she and four of her colleagues had violated his rights in a CHIPS proceeding regarding his son. He said he would deal with the matter “with my own hands” and things were “going to turn very tragic” because he would come to their office armed. (¶6). The court of appeals rejects his claim this was insufficient to prove the elements of witness intimidation under § 940.201(2)(a). Besides…
State v. Sarah J. Katula-Talle, 2019AP1622-CR, District 3, 10/6/20 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs) A police officer had contact with Katula-Talle while responding to a domestic disturbance call. The department’s standard procedure in those situations is to run a driver’s license and warrant check on everyone the officers have contact with. The check on Katula-Talle showed she was revoked for an OWI-related offense. Two weeks later the officer saw her driving and stopped her on suspicion she was operating after revocation. (¶¶3-5). Was the two-week-old check enough to justify the stop, or was…
On September 30, 2020, the court of appeals ordered publication of the following criminal law related decisions: State v. Morgan E. Geyser, 2020 WI App 58 (adult court didn’t lose jurisdiction over juvenile based on facts at preliminary hearing; Miranda waiver was knowing, voluntary, and intelligent) State v. Jordan Alexander Lickes, 2020 WI App 59 (another decision constricting the reach of the expunction statute)