Justia Wisconsin Supreme Court Opinion Summaries
Sanders v. State of Wis. Claims Bd.
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the circuit court affirming the decision of the State Claims Board awarding Appellant $25,000 in compensation after finding Appellant was innocent of a crime for which he was imprisoned, holding that Wis. Stat. 775.05(4) does not compel the Board to make a finding regarding adequacy.Appellant pled no contest to first-degree intentional homicide and spent approximately twenty-six years in prison. After his second guilty plea was vacated Appellant petitioned the State Claims Board for compensation, seeking more than $5.7 million. The Board awarded the maximum under Wis. Stat. 775.05(4). Appellant sought judicial review, arguing that the Board should have made a finding regarding the adequacy of the amount awarded. The circuit court affirmed, but the court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals grafted onto the statute a process the legislature did not sanction. View "Sanders v. State of Wis. Claims Bd." on Justia Law
State v. A.G.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court denying Father's motion to withdraw his plea of no contest to one of two grounds alleged in the State's petition to terminate Father's parental rights to his daughter, holding that Father knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently pled no contest.In its termination petition under Wis. Stat. 48.415 the State claimed both that Father's daughter remained a child in continuing need of protection or services (CHIPS) and that Father failed to assume parental responsibility for his daughter. Father pled no contest to the continuing CHIPS ground. Thereafter, Father filed a motion for plea withdrawal. The circuit court denied the motion, but the court of appeals reversed on the grounds that the State lacked evidence establishing the validity of the plea. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Father knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently pled no contest to the continuing CHIPS ground for terminating his parental rights; and (2) therefore, the court of appeals erred in permitting Father to withdraw his plea. View "State v. A.G." on Justia Law
Posted in: Family Law
State v. Green
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the trial court denying Defendant's motion to dismiss the case against him with prejudice after a mistrial was declared, holding that retrial would not violate Defendant's right against double jeopardy.Defendant was tried on one count of trafficking of a child. During trial, the trial court declared a mistrial on the basis that certain evidence was improperly admitted. Thereafter, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that retrial would violate his right under the Fifth Amendment, as incorporated against the states by the Fourteenth Amendment, to be free against double jeopardy. The trial court denied the motion. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court exercised sound discretion in ordering a mistrial based on manifest necessity and that retrial will not violate Defendant's Fifth Amendment right against double jeopardy. View "State v. Green" on Justia Law
Walworth County v. M.R.M.
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court denying Appellant's demand for a jury trial before Walworth County extended his involuntary commitment for twelve additional months, holding that Waukesha County v. E.J.W., 966 N.W.2d 590 (Wis. 2021), applied retroactively to Appellant's case and that the denial of Appellant's jury demand was erroneous.Following a mental health crisis, Appellant was involuntarily committed and forcibly medicated for six months. Walworth County later sought to extend Appellant's commitment for twelve months. Appellant filed a jury demand at least forty-eight hours prior to his rescheduled final hearing date, but the circuit court denied the jury demand as untimely. Thereafter, the Supreme Court decided E.J.W., which held that a jury demand is timely filed if it is filed at least forty-eight hours before a rescheduled final hearing. Appellant appealed, arguing that E.J.W. applied retroactively. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) E.J.W. applies retroactively; and (2) under the circumstances of this case, the proper remedy for the circuit court's denial of Appellant's jury demand was not remand but reversal. View "Walworth County v. M.R.M." on Justia Law
Wis. Property Taxpayers, Inc. v. Town of Buchanan
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court declaring the Town of Buchanan's transportation utility fee (TUF) to be a property tax subject to the Town's levy limit, holding that funds raised for utility districts under Wis. Stat. 66.0827 are property taxes subject to municipal levy limits.After the circuit court concluded that the money raised for the district fund was subject to the Town's property tax limit Appellants appealed, arguing that the TUF was unlawful. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Town did not follow the lawful procedures that a municipality must follow for funding public improvements because the imposition of property taxes over the Town's levy limits required the consent of the Town's voters and because nothing in the statutes permitted the Town to bypass those levy limits for the purpose of imposing a TUF on property owners in the municipality. View "Wis. Property Taxpayers, Inc. v. Town of Buchanan" on Justia Law
State v. Debrow
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing Defendant's conviction for second-degree sexual assault on the grounds that the circuit court erroneously exercised its discretion in denying Defendant's motion for mistrial, holding that the circuit court properly exercised its discretion in denying Defendant's request for a mistrial.At issue was whether the circuit court abused its discretion in denying Defendant's motion for a mistrial after a witness stated during his testimony about his suspicion of Defendant that he "looked on CCAP" - a term that stands for consolidated court automation programs, which makes information about circuit court and appellate court cases available to the public. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendant's mistrial motion. View "State v. Debrow" on Justia Law
Posted in: Criminal Law
State v. Killian
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court's order dismissing a criminal complaint against Defendant as barred by double jeopardy, holding that neither double jeopardy, issue preclusion under the Double Jeopardy Clause, or common law issue preclusion barred the present prosecution.The first criminal case against Defendant ended in a mistrial intentionally provoked by the prosecutor. Thereafter, Defendant argued that double jeopardy, and, in the alternative, issue preclusion barred the State from prosecuting the instant case. The circuit court granted relief, concluding that Defendant was in jeopardy of being convicted of the offenses now charged. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the present prosecution did not place Defendant in jeopardy for any of the same offenses; and (2) issue preclusion did not bar the instant prosecution. View "State v. Killian" on Justia Law
Greenwald Family Ltd. Partnership v. Village of Mukwonago
In this special assessment appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court's dismissal of the Village of Mukwonago as a defendant due to improper service of a notice of appeal, holding that Petitioner's failure to comply with Wis. Stat. 66.0703(12)(a) required dismissal of this action.Petitioner challenged the special assessment district created by the Village in 2019 alleging jurisdiction pursuant to section 66.0703(12). The Village filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the circuit court lacked subject matter jurisdiction or competency to proceed because Greenwald did not serve a written notice of appeal on the Village clerk. The circuit court granted the motion, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Wis. Stat. 801.14(2) did not apply in this case; and (2) the plain meaning of section 66.0703(12)(a) mandates service of written notice on the Village clerk, and because Greenwald did not accomplish this requirement, dismissal was warranted. View "Greenwald Family Ltd. Partnership v. Village of Mukwonago" on Justia Law
5 Walworth, LLC v. Engerman Contracting, Inc.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals in this insurance dispute over damages allegedly caused by the poor construction of an in-ground pool, holding that this Court overrules the portions of Wisconsin Pharmacy Co. v. Nebraska Cultures of California, Inc., 876 N.W.2d 72 (Wis. 2016), stating that "property damages" must be to "other property" for purposes of determining an initial grant of coverage in a commercial general liability (CGL) policy.Due to the damages caused by the cracking of Homeowner's pool, Homeowner was forced to demolish the entire pool structure and construct a new one. Two insurers on appeal had issued CGL policies to the pool's general contractor, and a third insurer issued a CGL policy to the supplier of the pump mix used for the pool's construction. All three insurers sought a declaration that their policies did not provide coverage to Homeowner. The Supreme Court held, under the circumstances of this case, that none of the insurers were entitled to summary judgment and accordingly remanded the cause back to the circuit court for further proceedings. View "5 Walworth, LLC v. Engerman Contracting, Inc." on Justia Law
State v. Williams-Holmes
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court denying Petitioner's petition for postconviction relief in this challenge to a condition of extended supervision and probation that prohibited Petitioner from living with any women or unrelated children without the permission of the court, holding that the circuit court erred by denying Petitioner's request to transfer the approval power to the Department of Corrections (DOC) without clarifying how the imposed condition was lawful.In denying Petitioner's postconviction motion to transfer the authority to regulate Defendant's residential placements to DOC the circuit court concluded that the DOC's practices were "incompatible with the program of probation envisioned by the court." The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court "all but said it intended to administer [Defendant's] condition through case-by-case oversight, which it cannot do." The Court remanded the cause to the circuit court for it to clarify how the imposed condition was consistent with the law or to modify its order accordingly. View "State v. Williams-Holmes" on Justia Law
Posted in: Criminal Law