On Point

Latest from On Point - Page 2

State v. D.S., 2019AP2230 through 2019AP2233, District 1, 8/25/30 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity D.S. challenges the orders terminating her parental rights to her children on the ground, first because her lawyer was unable to appear and represent her at a pretrial hearing because his law license was temporarily suspended, second because trial counsel didn’t obtain 400 pages of discovery until the day before the  dispositional hearing. Her challenges are rejected. The temporary license suspension (due to a snafu in processing his bar dues payment) kept counsel from representing D.S. at a pretrial hearing. (¶¶11,…
State v. Tavodess Matthews, 2018AP2142, petition to review a published court of appeals decision granted 8/26/20; case activity (including briefs) Issue presented: Is an adjourned probable cause hearing under ch. 980 a “preliminary contested matter” that terminates litigants’ opportunity to request judicial substitution? Because this is a ch. 980 sexually violent person commitment case, it is governed in part—including on judicial substitution—by the rules of civil procedure. As we explained in our post on the court of appeals decision, § 801.58(1) requires a party to file for substitution before there’s been a hearing on a “preliminary contested matter.” The trial court denied…
State v. Adam W. Vice, 2018AP2220-CR, petition for review of a published, split opinion granted August 20, 2020, case activity Issue for review: (State’s petition for review; Vice’s response) During a post-polygraph interview, police repeatedly referenced Vice’s polygraph test results and failed to inform him that the results would be inadmissible in court. Did the court of appeals give undue weight to these factors in assessing the voluntariness of Vice’s confession to sexual assault of a four year old? According to the State’s petition, SCOTUS holds that the use of polygraph results during questioning is not inherently…
State v. Morgan E. Geyser, 2018AP1897-Cr, 8/12/20, District 2  (recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Morgan Geyser, one of the two 12 year old defendants in the Slenderman case, was charged in adult court with attempted 1st degree intentional homicide. At her preliminary hearing, the court found probable cause that she committed a crime for which it had exclusive jurisdiction. On appeal, Geyser argued that the adult court had found the facts necessary to mitigate attempted 1st degree homicide to attempted 2nd degree homicide and thus it lost jurisdiction. She also argued that her custodial statements to police…
Portage County v. E.R.R., 2019AP2033, petition for review of an unpublished dismissal order granted 8/20/20; case activity Issues presented: Whether an appeal from a Wis. Stat. §51.20(1)(am) recommitment order may properly be dismissed as moot. Whether the County met its burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that Mr. R. was currently dangerous as required by Wis. Stat. §51.20(1)(am). Wait. Didn’t SCOW already grant review of this issue? Yes, in Waukesha County v. J.J.H., Appeal No. 2018AP168, but after briefing and argument it said that review had been improvidently granted. Hopefully, this appeal will yield a decision and…
State v. Jordan Alexander Lickes, 2019AP1272, 8/20/20, District 4 (recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) This is not much of a surprise after State v. Ozuna, but the court of appeals here reverses a grant of expunction, holding in a to-be-published decision that any noncompliance with conditions of probation–even those that are not ordered by the court, but are imposed by DOC rule–makes expunction unavailable. Lickes got probation on three counts, and the court made him expunction-eligible on all of them. The length of the terms differed however; two of the counts would be discharged some time…
State v. Heather Jan VanBeek, 2019AP447, 8/12/20, District 2; case activity (including briefs) VanBeek was sitting with a companion in her parked truck when an officer approached. There’d been a tip that people were sitting in the truck for an hour and that someone had come to the truck with a backpack, then departed. The officer asked a few questions, got satisfactory answers, and then asked for ID, purportedly for his report of the contact. The truck’s occupants were reluctant to hand over their licenses, but the officer insisted, and they did. He held onto them for more than…
Shan Fieldman v. Christine Brannon, __F.3d__  (7th Cir. 2020) Shan Fieldman climbed into a truck and told a hit man that he wanted his ex-wife and her boyfriend killed. Turns out the hit man was an undercover copy who videotaped their conversation. At trial the State played the video. Fieldman testified that he did not intend for the hit man to actually commit the murders, but he was barred from fully explaining why. He was convicted of soliciting murder for hire, lost his direct appeal, won habeas relief in the Southern District of Illinois, and now the 7th Circuit…
State  v. Catherine Cuskey Large, 2019AP1966-CR, 8/13/20, District 4 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication; case activity (including briefs) The court of appeals correctly affirmed the circuit court’s decision to suppress OWI evidence in this case, where an officer admitted that the New Glarus Police Department’s “protocol” was to administer PBTs on motorists whether they had probable cause for OWI or not. But court of appeals did so by taking a heavy-handed approach to waiver, a rule of administration that appellate courts have the discretion to apply or not. An officer stopped Large for a defective tail lamp on her…
Rock County v. R.J., 2020AP93, 8/13/20, District 4 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity Thank heavens this opinion is not published. R.J’s initial commitment expired before he filed his notice of appeal. According to the court of appeals, R.J. should have sue sponte addressed mootness in his initial brief–before the County ever argued the point. Because R.J. waited to see whether the County would even raise mootness and then addressed the matter in his reply, the court of appeals dismissed his appeal. The court of appeals also made an error of law regarding the “contemporaneous objection” requirement.  Hopefully,…
State v. Tory J. Agnew, 2019AP1785-CR, District 4, 7/30/20 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) The court of appeals affirms the structure of a bifurcated sentence for an unclassified felony to which a sentence enhancer applied, even though the sentence imposed runs afoul of the statutes and prior case law. As Truth-in-Sentencing begins its third decade of existence, we’ve all become familiar with its basic requirements: Prison sentences are bifurcated, consisting of initial confinement (IC) and extended supervision (ES). § 973.01(2)(intro.). The IC term has to be at least one year and can’t be more than…
State v. Christopher J. Vaaler, 2019AP2174, 8/6/20, District 4 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs) An officer pulled Vaaler over in the very early morning for not having his headlights on. Per the court of appeals, Vaaler’s unusual manner of speech, the odor of intoxicants, and the fact of an open beer next to him were enough for the officer to conduct the OWI investigation that ultimately led to Vaaler’s arrest and conviction: One indicia that Vaaler was driving while intoxicated was the odor of intoxicants emanating from Vaaler’s vehicle. See, e.g., State v. Krause,…
State v. William Francis Kuehn, 2018AP2355, 7/28/20, District 1 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Kuehn pleaded to 5 counts of possession of child pornography; 10 more were dismissed and read-in. The court of appeals rejects Kuehn’s three challenges to his conviction and sentence. It holds trial counsel wasn’t deficient in deciding a third-party-perpetrator (Denny) defense wasn’t viable at trial. It says the circuit court properly assessed the $500 per-image surcharge for the 10 images that made up the read-ins. And, it finds not overbroad the circuit court’s imposition of an ES condition that Kuehn…
On July 29, 2020, the court of appeals ordered publication of the following criminal law related cases: State v. Dawn M. Prado, 2020 WI App 42 (striking down implied consent law for unconscious drivers) State v. Mark J. Bucki, 2020 WI App 43 (dog sniff evidence need not be corroborated to be admissible) Winnebago County v. S.H., 2020 WI App 46 (addressing sufficiency of evidence for ch. 51 recommitment hearings)
Michael Gilbreath v. Dan Winkleski, Case No. 19-cv-728-jdp (W.D. Wis. Aug. 4, 2020) Witness credibility was the key issue at Gilbreath’s trial, and his counsel’s failure to present evidence that would have undermined [the complaining witness’s] credibility and bolstered Gilbreath’s defense deprived Gilbreath of a fair trial. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals unreasonably concluded that the failure to present the credibility evidence was a matter of reasonable trial strategy and that the evidence was merely cumulative. Gilbreath is entitled to habeas relief. Habeas wins and ineffective assistance of trial counsel victories are both rare as hen’s teeth, so this…
Danny Wilber v. Michael Thurmer, Case No. 10-C-179 (E.D. Wis., Aug. 4, 2020). It’s said that defendants having meritorious postconviction claims are more likely to win relief on a habeas petition in federal court than on direct appeal in Wisconsin’s appellate courts. This decision could be a poster child for that theory.  On Point last reported on Danny Wilber’s case in 2018 when the court of appeals rejected seven §974.06 claims and affirmed his conviction for 1st degree homicide. Judge Griesbach just granted Wilber’s habeas petition and ordered a new trial. Wilber argued that there was insufficient evidence to…