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State v. Steven L. Sternitzky, 2019AP2185-CR, District 4, 11/5/20 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs) Sternitzky argues he was arrested for OWI without probable cause and that his trial on the charge was marred by the judge’s instruction to the jury regarding the presumption of intoxication and automatic admissibility of chemical test results. The court of appeals rejects both arguments. Arrest: Sternitzky’s main argument about his arrest is about the use of the results the preliminary breath test (0.134) in gauging probable cause. He asserts the PBT results shouldn’t be used because, instead of “requesting” that…
Jackson County v. W.G., 2020AP961, District 4, 11/5/20 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity The evidence presented at a ch. 51 extension hearing is found wanting because it doesn’t establish dangerousness as required by Langlade County v. D.J.W., 2020 WI 41, 391 Wis. 2d 231, 942 N.W.2d 277. ¶16     The County has the burden of proof, and it cannot prevail unless it demonstrates that W.G. is dangerous under one of the five standards set forth in Wis. Stat. § 51.20(1)(a)2. It is difficult to see how the County could meet this burden when, even on appeal, it…
On the heels of last week’s decision regarding Marsy’s Law, we learned today that a Dane County Circuit Court judge has ruled that the amendment to Article I, § 9m is invalid because the ballot question presenting the amendment to the voters was flawed. The court ruled the question failed to fully and fairly inform the public of the essential components of the amendment, misstated the contents and impact of the amendment, and improperly encompassed more than one subject. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin Justice Initiative, which reported the development in a blog
State & T.A.J. v. Alan S. Johnson, 2019AP664-CR, District 4, 10/29/20 (recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) This is the first of what will likely be a series of appellate court decisions that re-make criminal litigation in light of “Marsy’s Law,” the recently-passed crime victims’ rights amendment to Article I, § 9m, of the Wisconsin constitution. Johnson is charged with sexual assaulting T. He filed a motion under State v. Shiffra, 175 Wis. 2d 600, 499 N.W.2d 719 (Ct. App. 1993), and State v. Green, 2002 WI 68, 253 Wis. 2d 356, 646 N.W.2d 298, seeking in…
Portage County v. L.E., 2020Ap1239-FT, District 4, 10/29/20 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity The evidence presented at L.E.’s ch. 51 extenstion hearing was sufficient to prove she was dangerous and was not competent to refuse medication. ¶21     …. [Doctor] Khalil’s testimony was not so vague, equivocal, or lacking [as to fail to prove a substantial probability of physical harm or inability of L.E. to care for herself if treatment were withdrawn]. He testified that she flooded her house multiple times without knowing why, and, more significantly, that she is at extreme risk of not surviving…
State v. Jonathan N. Reiher, 2019AP2321-CR, District 4, 10/29/20 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) The court of appeals rejects the defendant’s claim that his pleas to reckless endangerment lacked a factual basis. In retaliation for getting kicked out of the house he was living in, Reiher vandalized the place; in the process he damaged the propane gas furnace and caused a gas leak. Though he turned off the gas to the furnace and emptied the propane tank, several weeks later two workers repairing the damage to the home turned the gas back on, and were injured…
State v. Brian A. Plencner, 2019AP517-CR, District 2, 10/28/20 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) The court of appeals holds trial attorney was not ineffective for failing to seek suppression of evidence found on Plencner’s computer equipment based on the delay in analyzing the equipment. In late March 2010 police began investigating a claim that Plencner had committed child sexual assault. The allegation resulted in a charge that was quickly resolved by a plea in August 2010. Based on the complaining witness’s allegation that Plencner viewed child pornography, police got a search warrant and seized Plencner’s computers…
On October 29, 2020, the court of appeals ordered the publication of the following criminal law related opinions: State v. Nathaniel R. Lecker, 2020 WI App 65 (overdose aider immunity statute didn’t apply the day after 911 call) State v. Peter J. King, 2020 WI App 66 (upholding severe restrictions on internet use during supervised release) State v. Scott W. Heimbruch, 2020 WI App 68 (error in the “Informing the Accused” form doesn’t help drivers accused of OWI)
State v. William Lawrence Bonfiglio, 2019AP188-CR, District 4, 10/22/20 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs) Police immobilized Bonfiglio because they thought he was going to resist the blood draw authorized under the search warrant they had obtained. The court of appeals rejects Bonfiglio’s claims this constituted an unreasonable execution of the warrant. After arresting Bonfiglio for OWI, the officer read him the implied consent form three times without getting any response. The officer then obtained a warrant for a blood draw. (¶¶2-5). When advised of the warrant, Bonfiglio said “‘you’re going to have a…
State v. Nathan J. Friar, 2019AP1578-CR, District 4, 10/22/20 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Friar challenges his conviction for sexual assault by use of force, claiming the circuit court erroneously admitted certain evidence and that his trial lawyer was ineffective. The court of appeals rejects his challenges. This is a lengthy (36 pages) and fact-bound opinion, especially regarding the ineffective assistance claims, so this post can give only an overview of most of the issues. Anyone litigating similar issues should read the decision carefully, along with appellate defense counsel’s well-done briefs. The complaining witness, M, testified…
Cheyne Monroe v. Chad Chase, 2019AP1918, certification granted 10/21/20; case activity (including briefs) Issue for review (derived from the COA’s certification) One of the elements of a claim for malicious prosecution is that the baseless prior action must have terminated in favor of the party asserting malicious prosecution.  The issue is whether this element is met when the party accused of malicious prosecution voluntarily dismissed the allegedly baseless proceeding before it was decided on the merits. During divorce proceedings, Chase acknowledged that Monroe had had recent contact with their child, and they agreed on terms for placement. Afterward, Chase filed…
Eau Claire County DHS v. S.E., 2019AP894, review of  published opinion granted 10/21/20, case activity. When the court orders a child in need of protection or services (“CHIPS”) placed outside the family home, a parent’s rights may be terminated if he or she fails to meet the conditions for the child’s return in the timeframe set out by statute. Wis. Stat. § 48.415(2)(a). In April 2018, the legislature shortened this timeframe. Under either version, the CHIPS order placing the child outside the home must include “notice” of “any grounds for termination of parental rights[.]” Wis. Stat. §§ 48.415(2)(a)…
Washington County v. Kelly L. Springer, 2020AP491, 10/21/20, District 2 (1-judge opinion, ineligble for publication); case activity (including briefs) After being stopped for a suspected OWI, Springer failed field sobriety tests and his preliminary breath test showed a .18% blood alcohol content. A sheriff read the Informing the Accused form and asked if he would submit to a chemical test of his breath. Springer did not answer even after being asked 6 to 7 times. Then he said: “I already gave you my test.” The sheriff took this to mean “no.” The circuit court held the refusal unlawful under…
Columbia County v. J.M.C., Jr., 2020AP1001, District 4, 10/22/20 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity J.M.C. was taken to jail on possible criminal charges. Two days later, the County filed a Chapter 51 petition for his commitment.  Section 51.20(7) provides that the circuit court must hold a probable cause hearing within 72 hours of taking a person into custody under §51.20.  The circuit court dismissed the petition for violation of the 72-hour rule, and the County appealed arguing that the circuit court erred in determining what triggered 72-hour clock triggered. The State took J.M.C. into custody on May…
State v. Dawn M. Prado, 2016AP308, cross-petitions for review of a published court of appeals decision granted 10/21/20; case activity (including briefs and, now, PFRs!) You’ve heard this one before. Here’s our post on the court of appeals decision, which struck down the unconscious-driver provisions of the implied-consent statute but nevertheless declined to suppress the blood draw results under the good-faith doctrine. Perhaps you imagined the matter resolved, particularly given that after several failures to decide the question, SCOW had begun declining the court of appeals’ certification requests on the topic. No such luck. Prado, naturally, petitioned for review of…
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…