Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s postconviction motion asserting that defense counsel at trial had been ineffective. Appellant was convicted of five crimes relating to her abuse and neglect of her son. Appellant filed a postconviction motion, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support her convictions and that defense counsel at trial had been ineffective. The circuit court denied the motion, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that trial counsel’s performance was not deficient. View "State v. Breitzman" on Justia Law

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Defendant’s consent to a blood draw was not given freely and voluntarily under the Fourth Amendment, and the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule did not apply in this case. Defendant submitted to a blood draw after a law enforcement officer stated the consequences of refusing to submit to a test. The information given to Defendant, however, was not accurate. The circuit court granted Defendant’s motion to suppress the results of the blood test obtained under Wisconsin’s implied consent law. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded to the circuit court to reinstate its order suppressing the evidence, holding (1) the State did not prove by clear and convincing evidence that Defendant’s consent to the blood draw was freely and voluntarily given under the Fourth Amendment and thus valid; and (2) the exclusionary rule’s deterrent effect will be served by suppressing evidence of Defendant’s blood test. View "State v. Blackman" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for possession with intent to deliver non-narcotic controlled substances as a repeat offender, holding that the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress. A search of Defendant’s person revealed illegal drugs in Defendant’s possession. The search was warrantless but allegedly consensual. Defendant filed a motion to suppress, arguing that the officer extended the traffic stop without reasonable suspicion, and therefore, his consent was void. The circuit court denied the motion after a suppression hearing. Defendant filed a postconviction motion arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at the suppression hearing. The circuit court denied the motion. Defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress and the denial of his postconviction motion. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the officer did not extend Defendant’s traffic stop because the request to perform a search of his person was part of the stop’s mission; (2) Defendant was lawfully seized at the time of the request, and Defendant provided his consent to the search freely and voluntarily; and (3) trial counsel did not perform deficiently. View "State v. Floyd" on Justia Law

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Appellant pleaded no contest to operating after revocation, causing death, contrary to Wis. Stat. 343.44(1)(b) and (2)(ar)4. After a hearing, the sentencing court sentenced Appellant to the maximum sentence of six years. Appellant filed a postconviction motion, arguing that section 343.44(2)(ar)4 is ambiguous and unconstitutional. The court of appeals affirmed but remanded the case to the circuit court for resentencing. The Supreme Court affirmed and remanded to the circuit court for a new sentencing hearing, holding (1) any ambiguity in the statutory scheme is clarified by the statutes’ legislative history; (2) the statutory scheme does not violate Defendant’s rights to either due process or equal protection; and (3) section 343.44(2)(b) is mandatory, and the record failed to demonstrate that the circuit court considered the required factors enumerated in the statute. View "State v. Villamil" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The circuit court’s finding that Defendant consented to a blood draw was not clearly erroneous, and Defendant’s consent was voluntary. Defendant was convicted of operating while intoxicated, third offense. Defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress the results of a blood test, arguing that it was an unconstitutional search because he did not consent to having his blood drawn. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under the totality of the circumstances, Defendant voluntarily consented to the blood draw. The dissent argued that neither a driver’s obtaining a Wisconsin operators license nor a driver’s operating a motor vehicle in Wisconsin is a manifestation of actual consent to a later search of the driver’s person by a blood draw. View "State v. Brar" on Justia Law

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Colorado v. Bertine, 479 U.S.C. 367 (1987), does not require officers to follow “standard criteria” when conducting a community caretaker impoundment. Defendant, a suspected in the armed robbery of a bank, was arrested under an outstanding probation warrant. Police officers chose to impound the car in which Defendant was found. Officers then conducted an inventory search of the seized vehicle at the police station, a search that turned up several items held for safekeeping. The State then charged Defendant with armed robbery. Defendant moved to suppress the evidence obtained from the search and seizure of the car. The circuit court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the officers possessed a bona fide community caretaker justification for impounding Defendant’s car; and (2) the warrantless seizure of Defendant’s car after his arrest was constitutionally reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. View "State v. Asboth" on Justia Law

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Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123 (1968), is not violated by the admission of a non-testifying co-defendant’s statements that are nontestimonial. Accordingly, under the circumstances of this case, Defendant’s confrontation rights were not violated. Defendant was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, as a party to the crime and with the use of a dangerous weapon, and attempted first-degree intentional homicide, as a party to the crime with the use of a dangerous weapon. On appeal, Defendant argued that the circuit court’s failure to sever his trial from the trial of his co-defendant and the subsequent admission of his co-defendant’s inculpatory statements violated his rights under Bruton. The Supreme Court held (1) the circuit court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to sever the trials because the co-defendant’s statements were nontestimonial; and (2) the admission of a hearsay statement was harmless. View "State v. Nieves" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court’s order denying expungement of Defendant’s misdemeanor convictions. Defendant pleaded guilty to criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct. After Defendant was discharged from probation the circuit court entered an order denying expungement of Defendant’s record, noting that Defendant failed to fulfill the obligations of his probation. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court also affirmed, holding that the circuit court properly denied expungement because Defendant did not meet the statutory requirements to be entitled to expungement, including the requirement that Defendant had satisfied the conditions of probation. View "State v. Ozuna" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming a circuit court judgment of conviction and order denying Petitioner’s postconviction motion. The court of appeals concluded (1) the circuit court did not err in interpreting the statutory procedure for subpoenaing witnesses in a criminal case; (2) the witness in this case was improperly served a subpoena; and (3) Petitioner did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to argue that the service of the subpoena was proper. The Supreme Court held (1) the circuit court erred in determining that Petitioner improperly served a subpoena on the witness; and (2) because the subpoena was properly served, the court need not address the alternative argument asserting ineffective assistance of counsel. View "State v. Wilson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for failure to protect a child from sexual assault and first-degree sexual assault of a child under thirteen as a party to a crime. Contrary to Defendant’s arguments on appeal, the Supreme Court concluded that Defendant’s convictions were proper, holding (1) Defendant’s convictions were not multiplicitous and thus did not violate double jeopardy because failure to protect a child from sexual assault and first-degree sexual assault of a child under thirteen as a party to a crime are not identical in fact; (2) Defendant failed to overcome the presumption that the legislature intended cumulative punishments for her conduct, given that her conduct consistent of two separate acts; and (3) Defendant’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel was without merit. View "State v. Steinhardt" on Justia Law