On Point

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B.W. v. S.H., 2021AP43 & 2021AP44, District 3, 6/29/21 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity Under the facts of this case, terminating S.H.’s parental rights on continuing denial of physical placement grounds under § 48.415(4) violated his right to substantive due process because his indigency precluded him for seeking changes in the physical placement order. S.H. stipulated in his child support case to a temporary denial of periods of placement of his children until a reunification plan could be established. Preparing a plan required a guardian ad litem, which B.W., the children’s mother, originally paid for. But when…
State v. David Wayne Ross, 2020AP261, 6/29/21, District 1 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Over a dissent, the court of appeals holds that, even if Ross is right that his trial lawyer performed deficiently in certain respects, Ross’s defense wasn’t prejudiced. Ross was charged with sexually assaulting D.D.W. His defense was that they had consensual sex, and that’s what he said on the stand. (¶¶2-12). So credibility was the key issue. Ross and D.D.W. had exchanged a number of text messages the day before and day of the alleged assaults, which were introduced at…
State v. Salar Zangana, 2020AP1228-CR, District 1, 6/29/21 (one-judge decision; ineligible for appeal); case activity (including briefs) At his trial on battery and disorderly conduct charges, Zangana tried to introduce a text message he received that purported to be an apology one of the complaining witnesses. (¶¶2-4). The message was properly excluded as hearsay and evidence about what the message meant was inadmissible because it involved privileged communication between spouses. Zangana offered the text as a prior inconsistent statement of Renee, a complaining witness. But the text wasn’t sent by Renee; it was sent by her husband.…
Marathon County v. T.A.T., 2019AP1709, District 3, 6/29/21 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity The testimony of the the three witnesses called by the County provided sufficient evidence to support the court’s finding that T.A.T. (“Travis”) was dangerous under § 51.20(1)(a)2.a. Travis was emergently detained after he was found on the ground near a lake, apparently intoxicated, saying he “just wanted to be by the lake and die.” At his commitment hearing, the County called two court-appointed examiners (Coates and Starr) and the psychiatrist who treated Travis after his emergency detention (Dibala). (¶¶2-13). Travis testified, too, admitting…
State v. Larry A. Brown, 2021AP12-CR, District 1, 6/29/21 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs) Brown was charged with theft by embezzlement and accepted a deferred prosecution agreement for the charge. He subsequently picked up new charges of THC possession and carryng a concealed weapon, for which he was given probation. That of course led to revocation of the DPA and sentencing on the theft. Brown asked for expunction of the theft conviction, which the circuit court denied. It properly exercised its discretion in doing so. Brown argues the court erroneously exercised its discretion because it…
State v. M.R.K., 2021AP141, District 1, 6/22/21 (one-judge decision; not recommended for publication); case activity The Latin word grex means “flock,” “herd,” or “group,” and is the root of several English words. Gregarious originally meant “tending to live in a flock, herd, or community rather than alone” but has become a synonym for “sociable.” Egregious literally meant “out of the herd” in Latin — something that stands apart. Its first meaning in English was consequently “outstanding” or “remarkable for good quality,” but over time that changed to become “very bad and easily noticed” or “flagrant.” Merriam-Webster’s Words at Play
State v. Jeffrey L. Moeser, 2019AP2184-CR, District 4, 6/24/21 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Over a dissenting vote, the court of appeals holds that, under the facts of this case, the affidavit in support of the warrant to draw Moeser’s blood was sworn to under oath by the officer and therefore the warrant was not defective. At the start of the affidavit, the officer, Brown, wrote his name in the blank preceding the phrase “being first duly sworn on oath, deposes and says:” In the affidavit’s second paragraph, Brown stated “I have personal knowledge that the…
State v. Michael James Brehm, 2020AP266, 6/29/21, District 1 (not recommended for publication); case activity Brehm was arrested after a neighbor called 911 to report that he was firing a gun out his window into the air. Police recovered a gun and Brehm admitted to the shooting. He eventually pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Brehm raises several issues, all of which the court of appeals rejects. Brehm was subject to the mandatory minimum sentence in Wis. Stat. § 941.29(4m)(a). This statute says the court “shall impose a bifurcated sentence” involving not less…
State v. Charles L. Neevel, 2021AP36, 7/1/21, District 4 (one-judge decision ineligible for publication) case activity (including briefs) Neevel was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. The officer read him the implied consent “informing the accused” form, and Neevel agreed to a blood draw. He moved to suppress, lost, and pleaded no contest to OWI. On appeal, he renews the argument he made in trial court: that the officer should instead have ordered a less intrusive test, such as a breath test. (The officer did, in reading the form, tell Neevel he could have an alternative in addition to…
State v. Juan J. Castillo, 2020AP983, 6/29/21, District 3 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Castillo was tried for the alleged sexual assault of his five-year-old cousin when he was sixteen. He wished to call an expert to testify about the factors that can affect the reliability of a child’s allegations of assault; the circuit court disallowed this testimony. The court of appeals upholds the circuit court’s ruling on that matter, concluding that the testimony didn’t “fit” the facts of this case. But the court does order a new trial, holding the circuit court should have granted…
State v. Ronald Lee Gilbert, 2019AP2182, 6/22/21, District 1 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) When last we saw this sex-trafficking case, the court of appeals had reversed the trial court’s denial of a Machner hearing on three claims. They were that Gilbert’s trial counsel was ineffective for failing to: challenge the admission of incorrect cell site location information (CSLI) testimony; demand discovery before trial; and impeach the State’s star witnesses with prior inconsistent statements. The discovery claim went away based on the subsequent Machner hearing testimony, but the court of appeals now again reverses the…
Lange v. California, USSC No. 20-18, 141 S.Ct. 2011, 6/23/21, vacating People v. Lange Lange was playing loud music with his car windows down and honking his horn when he happened past a California highway patrol officer. The officer turned on his lights to pull Lange over, but Lange was close to home: he continued 100 feet and pulled into his garage. The officer entered the garage and ultimately arrested Lange for misdemeanor drunk driving. The California Court of Appeal held that “hot pursuit” is always an exigency: that is, it excuses an officer from needing a warrant to…
Wood County DHS v. P.R., 2020AP947, 6/24/21, District 4 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity P.R. unsuccessfully challenges the sufficiency of the evidence for the CHIPS court’s decision to remove her daughter, K., from her home after K. alleged that P.R.’s spouse, M.R., sexually assaulted her. In a CHIPS case, a circuit court may order a child to be placed outside the parent’s home only if the court finds that not doing so would be contrary to the best interests of the child and that reasonable efforts have been made to prevent removal, see § 48.355(2)(b)6. The…
State v. Anthony M. Schmidt, 2021 WI 65, 6/18/21, on bypass from the court of appeals; case activity (including briefs) “We also conclude that the child pornography surcharge applies to images of child pornography that form the basis of read-in charges of sexual exploitation of a child or possession of child pornography, so long as those images of child pornography are connected to and brought into relation with the convicted individual’s offense of sexual exploitation of a child or possession of child pornography.” (¶61). What does it mean for images to be “brought into relation with” an…
State v. T.G., 2021AP351, 6/23/21, District 2 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity The State filed a delinquency petition against T.G., then 15, for stealing a car and causing an accident that left two passengers seriously injured. The State also petitioned for waiver of jurisdiction. Reviewing the petition de novo, the court of appeals held that Count 1 had “prosecutive merit.” Further, the circuit court did not erroneously exercise its discretion in waiving T.G. into adult court. To decide whether to waive T.G. into adult court, the juvenile court first had to determine whether the delinquency petition had…