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At issue was the proper interpretation of Wis. Stat. 980.09(2), as amended by 2013 Wis. Act 84, which establishes the discharge procedure for a person civilly committed as a sexually violent person pursuant to Wis. Stat. ch. 980. David Hager, Jr. and Howard Carter both filed petitions for discharge from commitment as sexually violent persons. Both petitions were denied. The court of appeals reversed in Hager but affirmed in Carter. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals as to Hager and affirmed as to Carter, holding (1) under Wis. Stat. 980.09(2), circuit courts are to carefully examine, but not weigh, those portions of the record they deem helpful to their consideration of a petition for discharge, which may include facts both favorable and unfavorable to the petitioner; (2) section 980.09(2) does not violate the constitutional right to due process of law as guaranteed by the United States and Wisconsin Constitutions; and (3) Carter’s counsel was not ineffective for failing to challenge retroactive application of Act 84 to Carter. View "State v. Hager" on Justia Law

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In this commitment-extension proceeding the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court’s order denying J.M.’s motion for post-disposition relief in which J.M. claimed ineffective assistance of counsel. The Court answered (1) J.M. had a statutory right to effective assistance of counsel in his Chapter 41 commitment-extension hearing, and the Strickland standard is the correct standard for evaluating a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in a commitment-extension hearing; (2) J.M. did not show that a reasonable probability existed that the result of the proceeding would have been different had his trial counsel’s performance not been allegedly deficient regarding J.M.’s appearance in prison garb; and (3) J.M. did not establish that he was entitled to a new trial on the ground that his wearing of prison garb during the trial so distracted the jury that justice was miscarried, and the circuit court’s conflicting jury instructions did not entitle J.M. to a new trial in the interest of justice. View "Winnebago County v. J.M." on Justia Law

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The circuit court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Defendant’s motion for a new trial without an evidentiary hearing. Defendant was convicted of attempted armed robbery, armed robbery, and possession of a firearm by a felon. During trial, the State presented testimony from two men that Defendant was their accomplice in the robberies. Defendant later filed a motion for a new trial alleging that he had newly discovered evidence represented by the affidavits of three men alleging that the State’s witnesses lied when they testified that Defendant was involved in the subject crimes. The circuit court denied the motion without holding an evidentiary hearing. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the affidavits were merely cumulative evidence and were insufficient to require the circuit court to hold a hearing on the motion for a new trial because they were supported by neither newly discovered corroborating evidence or circumstantial guarantees of trustworthiness. View "State v. McAlister" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The circuit court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Defendant’s motion for a new trial without an evidentiary hearing. Defendant was convicted of attempted armed robbery, armed robbery, and possession of a firearm by a felon. During trial, the State presented testimony from two men that Defendant was their accomplice in the robberies. Defendant later filed a motion for a new trial alleging that he had newly discovered evidence represented by the affidavits of three men alleging that the State’s witnesses lied when they testified that Defendant was involved in the subject crimes. The circuit court denied the motion without holding an evidentiary hearing. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the affidavits were merely cumulative evidence and were insufficient to require the circuit court to hold a hearing on the motion for a new trial because they were supported by neither newly discovered corroborating evidence or circumstantial guarantees of trustworthiness. View "State v. McAlister" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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At issue in this foreclosure case was whether presentment by a party’s attorney of an original, wet-ink note endorsed in blank is admissible into evidence and enforceable against the borrower without further proof that the holder had possession at the time the foreclosure action was filed. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals’ summary disposition reversing the circuit court’s foreclosure judgment against Defendant in favor of Bank. Bank produced a note at trial, and the circuit court concluded it was the original note executed by the borrower. The court of appeals concluded that the issue of possession of the original note had to be proven at trial and that Bank was required to present testimony from a witness with personal knowledge who could verify possession of the note by Bank up to the moment Bank presented the note to the circuit court. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that presentment to the trier of fact in a mortgage foreclosure proceeding of the original, wet-ink note endorsed in blank establishes the holder’s possession and entitles the holder to enforce the note. View "Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. v. Wuensch" on Justia Law

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At issue in this foreclosure case was whether presentment by a party’s attorney of an original, wet-ink note endorsed in blank is admissible into evidence and enforceable against the borrower without further proof that the holder had possession at the time the foreclosure action was filed. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals’ summary disposition reversing the circuit court’s foreclosure judgment against Defendant in favor of Bank. Bank produced a note at trial, and the circuit court concluded it was the original note executed by the borrower. The court of appeals concluded that the issue of possession of the original note had to be proven at trial and that Bank was required to present testimony from a witness with personal knowledge who could verify possession of the note by Bank up to the moment Bank presented the note to the circuit court. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that presentment to the trier of fact in a mortgage foreclosure proceeding of the original, wet-ink note endorsed in blank establishes the holder’s possession and entitles the holder to enforce the note. View "Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. v. Wuensch" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court’s decision rejecting Defendant’s motion to vacate his judgments of conviction and requesting a new trial, holding that Defendant was not entitled to a new trial. In his motion, Defendant argued that his first trial, which resulted in convictions for the sexual assault of two victims, was unfair because the State shifted the burden of proof and distorted the jury’s credibility determinations and that the jury based its verdict in part on inadmissible evidence. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of the motion, holding (1) the State’s trial commentary was not improper; and (2) there was no reasonable probability that redacting the challenged evidence would have changed the result of the trial. View "State v. Bell" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for carrying a concealed and dangerous weapon, in violation of the Concealed Carry Statute, Wis. Stat. 941.23(2). In convicting Defendant, the trial court rejected Defendant’s argument that because his conduct was in compliance with the Safe Transport Statute, Wis. Stat. 167.31(2)(b), his conviction was precluded under the Concealed Carry Statute. The court of appeals affirmed, ruling that compliance with the Safe Transport Statute does not preclude conviction for a violation of the Concealed Carry Statute. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Concealed Carry Statute and Safe Transport Statute are not in conflict; and (2) the Concealed Carry Statute is not unconstitutionally vague. View "State v. Grandberry" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment to Plaintiffs’ underinsured motorist (UIM) carrier, Allstate Property and Casualty Co. (Allstate), holding that the court of appeals erred in concluding that Plaintiffs failed to provide Allstate with timely notice of the UIM claim and that they failed to rebut the presumption that Allstate was prejudiced by the untimely notice. Specifically at issue in this case was whether the court of appeals misinterpreted the UIM policy’s “proof of claim” provision as a “notice of accident” provision. The Supreme Court held (1) the operative event triggering the notice requirement in Plaintiffs’ UIM is the tender of the tortfeasor’s underlying policy limit, not the accident itself; (2) Wis. Stat. 631.81(1) does not apply to the UIM policy provision at issue; and (3) therefore, Plaintiffs provided Allstate with timely proof of their UIM claim as required by the policy. The Court remanded the case to the circuit court for further proceedings. View "Shugarts v. Mohr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the City of Oshkosh in this action challenging the special assessment imposed by the City following the reconfiguration of a traditional traffic light intersection into a roundabout. The Court held (1) the term “special benefits” in Wisconsin’s eminent domain statute has the same meaning in Wisconsin’s special assessment statute, and the City’s admission that special benefits are non-existent in the context of an earlier eminent domain proceeding constitutes relevant evidence in a later challenge to the special assessment; and (2) the court of appeals erred in concluding that Plaintiff failed to overcome the presumption of correctness afforded the City’s special assessment and to establish sufficient genuine issues of material fact. The Court remanded the case to the circuit court for a trial. View "CED Properties, LLC v. City of Oshkosh" on Justia Law