Justia Wisconsin Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Constitutional Law
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The Supreme Court held that Wis. Stat. 51.61(1)(g), which permits the involuntary medication of an incompetent but non-dangerous inmate, is facially unconstitutional for any inmate who is involuntarily committed based on determinations that he was mentally ill and in need of treatment when the inmate is involuntarily medicated based merely on a determination that the inmate is incompetent to refuse medication. At issue before the Supreme Court was the circuit court's order of extension of commitment, order for involuntary medication and treatment, and order denying C.S.'s postcommitment motion. C.S., who suffered from schizophrenia, was committed while he was an inmate. Because he was determined incompetent to refuse medication pursuant to section 51.61(1)(g) he was the subject of multiple involuntary medication court orders. C.S. was committed not based upon a determination of dangerousness but, rather, on determinations that he was mentally ill and in need of treatment. C.S. argued that section 51.61(1)(g)(3 is unconstitutional when it permits the involuntary medication of any inmate committed under Wis. Stat. 51.20(1)(ar) without a determination that the inmate is dangerous. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that incompetence to refuse medication alone is not an essential or overriding State interest and cannot justify involuntary medication. View "Winnebago County v. C.S." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals rejecting Defendant's assertion that his second criminal prosecution violated the constitutional proscription of double jeopardy, holding that the State's second prosecution of Defendant for sexual assault did not violate the double jeopardy provisions of the Fifth Amendment or Article I, Section 8 of the Wisconsin Constitution. A jury acquitted Defendant of the charge of repeated sexual assault of a child for engaging in sexual intercourse with the victim, M.T., in "late summer to early fall of 2012." Thereafter, paternity tests revealed that Defendant was the father of M.T.'s child. The State subsequently charged Defendant with sexual assault of a child under sixteen years of age occurring "on or about October 19, 2012," the date it was determined the child was conceived. Defendant was convicted. Defendant moved for postconviction relief, asserting that his second prosecution violated the constitutional proscription of double jeopardy. The circuit court denied the motion, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the two cases against Defendant did not involve the "same offense" under the Double Jeopardy Clause. View "State v. Schultz" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court vacating Defendant's 2005 conviction by the Mid-Moraine Municipal Court of operating while intoxicated (OWI) in violation of a City of Cedarburg ordinance, holding that the municipal court had power to adjudicate the allegation that Defendant operated a motor vehicle while intoxicated in violation of a municipal ordinance. When Defendant was again charged with OWI in 2016, Defendant collaterally attacked his 2005 conviction by proving that he had a 2003 OWI conviction in Florida. Defendant argued that, therefore, his 2005 OWI conviction was factually a second offense and outside of the municipal court's limited subject matter jurisdiction. The circuit court reversed, concluding that the 2005 judgment was void for lack of municipal court subject matter jurisdiction. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the 2005 municipal citations invoked the municipal court's subject matter jurisdiction, which was granted by Wis. Const. art. VII, 14; and (2) even if Wisconsin's statutory progressive OWI penalties were not followed in 2005, the municipal court would have lacked competence, not subject matter jurisdiction. View "City of Cedarburg v. Hansen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the circuit court suppressing the victim's identification of Defendant, holding that State v. Dubose, 699 N.W.2d 582 (Wis. 2005), was unsound in principle and is thus overturned and that the State satisfied its burden that the identification was reliable. The identification in this case began with law enforcement showing a single Facebook photo to the victim. Defendant argued on appeal that his suppression motion was correctly granted on the ground that the police utilized an unnecessarily suggestive procedure in violation of his due process rights as explained in Dubose. The Supreme Court overturned Dubose and held (1) due process does not require the suppression of evidence with sufficient indicia of reliability; (2) if a criminal defendant meets the initial burden of demonstrating that a showup was impermissibly suggestive, the State must prove under the totality of the circumstances that the identification was reliable even though the confrontation procedure was suggestive; and (3) under the totality of the circumstances of this case, the State satisfied its burden. View "State v. Roberson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming both Defendant's judgment of conviction and the denial of his motion to suppress, holding that the court of appeals did not err in determining that law enforcement's search of Defendant's pursuant pursuant to 2013 Wisconsin Act 79 was valid. The officer in this case observed Defendant riding a bicycle in violation of a city ordinance. Defendant's movements concerned the officer, and the officer ordered Defendant to stop. The officer proceeded to search Defendant, asserting that had a legal basis to search him under Act 79 because, part, he knew Defendant was on supervision. Defendant was subsequently charged with drug offenses, and the circuit court denied Defendant's motion to suppress. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court's finding of fact that the officer had knowledge of Defendant's supervision status prior to conducting the warrantless search at issue in this case was not clearly erroneous; (2) corroborated tips of an unnamed informant may be considered in the analysis of the totality of the circumstances; and (3) under the totality of the circumstances, the officer in this case had reasonable suspicion that Defendant was committing, was about to commit, or had committed a crime. View "State v. Anderson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court's judgment granting Defendant's motion to suppress a test of Defendant's blood sample, holding that the State lawfully obtained the blood sample. A police officer arrested Defendant for driving under the influence. Defendant gave the officer permission to take a sample of her blood to determine its alcohol concentration. Before the sample was tested, however, Defendant revoked her consent and demanded the immediate return or destruction of her blood sample. Defendant's blood sample was nevertheless tested. The circuit court granted Defendant's motion to suppress, concluding that Defendant's revocation of consent made the test unconstitutional. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the State performed only one search in this case when it obtained a sample of Defendant's blood, and that search ended when the State completed the blood draw; (2) a defendant arrested for intoxicated driving has o privacy interest in the amount of alcohol in that sample; and (3) therefore, the State did not perform a search on Defendant's blood sample when it tested the sample for the presence of alcohol, and as a result, Defendant's consent to the test was not necessary. View "State v. Randall" on Justia Law

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In this original action brought by Plaintiffs, two licensed teachers and two school board members, against the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) arguing that, prior to drafting or promulgating an administrative rule, the SPI and DPI must receive written approval from the governor as required by statute, holding that the gubernatorial approval requirement for rulemaking is constitutional as applied to the SPI and DPI. The SPI and DPI argued that the statutory requirement of gubernatorial approval was unconstitutional as applied because, pursuant to Wis. Const. art. X, 1, no other officer may be placed in a position equal or superior to that of the SPI with regard to the supervision of public instruction. The Supreme Court held that it was of no constitutional concern that the governor is given equal or greater legislative authority than the SPI in rulemaking because when the SPI, through the DPI, promulgates rules, it is exercising legislative power that comes not from the constitution from from the legislature. View "Koschkee v. Taylor" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the circuit court declaring the Wisconsin Legislature's December 2018 extraordinary session unconstitutional, enjoining enforcement of all legislation passed during the session, and vacating eighty-two appointments during the session, holding that extraordinary sessions do not violate the Wisconsin Constitution. The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin brought this suit arguing that the extraordinary session was unconstitutional. The circuit court agreed and issued a temporary injunction enjoining the enforcement of the three Acts passed during the session and vacating all eighty-two appointments. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court's order, holding that the extraordinary session was constitutional and that the circuit court invaded the province of the Legislature in declaring the session unconstitutional, enjoining enforcement of the Acts, and vacating the 82 appointments. The Court remanded the matter to the circuit court with directions to dismiss the League's complaint. View "League of Women Voters of Wisconsin v. Evers" on Justia Law

Posted in: Constitutional Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court denying Defendant's motion to withdraw his guilty plea, holding that the disciplining of Defendant's attorney for professional misconduct that included his handling of Defendant's defense did not prove that counsel had provided ineffective assistance. Defendant pleaded guilty to a single count of armed robbery as a party to a crime. Before sentencing, Defendant asked to withdraw his plea due to ineffective assistance of counsel. The circuit court denied the motion. While Defendant's appeal was pending, the Supreme Court decided a disciplinary case brought against Defendant's counsel and disciplined the attorney for professional misconduct. On appeal, Defendant argued that his attorney's discipline for his misconduct in handling Defendant's defense is proof to establish the deficiency of his counsel. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the record did not demonstrate that the professional misconduct of Defendant's attorney prevented Defendant from receiving effective assistance of counsel, and therefore, the circuit court did not erroneously exercise its discretion in denying Defendant's motion. View "State v. Cooper" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the order of the circuit court denying Petitioner's postconviction motion to withdraw his guilty plea, holding that the circuit court's plea colloquy was not defective under Wis. Stat. 971.08 or State v. Bangert, 389 N.W.2d 12 (Wis. 1986). Petitioner argued that the plea colloquy was defective because the circuit court failed sufficiently to explain, and he did not understand, the constitutional rights he would be waiving by entering a plea, and therefore, he did not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily enter his plea. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that Petitioner failed to meet his burden to demonstrate that the plea colloquy was defective so as to entitle him to the relief requested, and this Court declines to exercise its superintending authority to require circuit courts to advise a defendant of each constitutional right being waived by pleading guilty. View "State v. Pegeese" on Justia Law