Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals denying Defendant's petition for a supervisory writ in which Defendant argued that an automatic stay in his case began upon the circuit court's entry of a involuntary medication order rather than upon filing a notice of appeal but vacated the circuit court's order for involuntary medication, holding that the order was constitutionally insufficient. The circuit court ordered Defendant to be involuntarily medicated to restore his competency to stand trial on a felony charge. After the Supreme Court released its decision in State v. Scott, 914 N.W.2d 141 (Wis. 2018), subjecting involuntary medication orders to an automatic stay pending appeal, the circuit court stayed its involuntary medication order. Defendant petitioned the court of appeals for a supervisory writ and challenged the constitutionality of Wis. Stat. 971.14 based on its incompatibility with Sell v. United States, 539 U.S. 166 (2003). The Supreme Court held (1) the court of appeals did not err in denying Defendant's petition for a supervisory writ; and (2) the standard for ordering involuntary medication set forth in section 971.14(3)(dm) and (4)(b) is unconstitutional to the extent it requires circuit courts to order involuntary medication based on a standard that does not comport with Sell. View "State v. Fitzgerald" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court answered a question certified to it from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, holding that Wis. Stat. 943.10(1m)(a)-(f) identifies alternative means of committing one element of the crime of burglary under section 943.10(1m), and therefore, a unanimous finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt as to a locational alternative in subsections (a)-(f) is not necessary to convict. Defendants pleaded guilty to violations of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1) and, based on their previous Wisconsin burglary convictions, were classified as armed career criminals and sentenced to a mandatory minimum of fifteen years' imprisonment under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e)(1). Before the Seventh Circuit, Defendants asserted that because the locational alternatives in section 943.10(1m)(a)-(f) provide alternative means of committing one element of the crime of burglary, the Wisconsin burglary statute was too broad to fall within the definition of burglary as a predicate violent felony under the ACCA. The Seventh Circuit then certified a question of Wisconsin state law to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court answered that the legislature intended that section 943.10(1m)(a)-(f) set forth alternative means of committing one element of burglary and not elements of distinct crimes and remanded the cause to the Seventh Circuit. View "United States v. Franklin" on Justia Law

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, holding that, as a matter of first impression, Miranda warnings are not required at John Doe proceedings. Appellant was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant's Sixth Amendment right to confrontation was not violated because his John Doe testimony regarding the statement of his estranged wife to police was not offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted; (2) Appellant's claim that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the admission of his John Doe testimony because he was not read all of the Miranda warnings failed because the law was unsettled as to whether Miranda warnings were required at the John Doe proceedings; and (3) Miranda warnings are not required at John Doe proceedings. View "State v. Hanson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming a jury verdict convicting Defendant of armed robbery and operating a vehicle without the owner's consent and affirming the denial of Defendant's motion for postconviction relief, holding that the court of appeals properly denied Defendant's appeals. Specifically, the Court held (1) Defendant waived his right to object to the use of Wis JI-Criminal 140 by failing to object to its use at the jury instruction and verdict conference; (2) Wis JI-Criminal 140 does not unconstitutionally reduce the State's burden of proof below the reasonable doubt standard; and (3) discretionary reversal under Wis. Stat. 751.06 was not warranted under the facts of this case. View "State v. Trammell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal 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

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals summarily denying as untimely Appellant's petition for habeas corpus seeking reinstatement of his right to file a direct appeal, holding that neither the language of Wis. Stat. 809.51 nor principles of equity require a habeas petitioner to allege timeliness in the petition. Without ordering a response from the State, the court of appeals concluded that Appellant's nine-year delay in filing his petition caused prejudice. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) State ex rel. Smalley v. Morgan, 565 N.W.2d 805 (Wis. Ct. App. 1997), abrogated in part by State ex rel. Coleman v. McCaughtry, 714 N.W.2d 900 (Wis. 2006), which imposed a "prompt and speedy" pleading requirement on habeas petitioners, is overruled; (2) any equitable concerns regarding substantial delays, such as the delay in the instant case, are properly raised by the State asserting the defense of laches and establishing prejudice resulting from the delay; and (3) Appellant had a right to have his petition considered without the court of appeals imposing a non-existent timeliness requirement as a basis for denying the petition ex parte. View "State ex rel. Lopez-Quintero v. Dittmann" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals dismissing J.W.K.'s appeal challenging the sufficiency of the evidence extending his commitment, holding that J.W.K.'s sufficiency challenge was moot. J.W.K. was originally committed in February 2016 for six months under Wis. Stat. 51.20. In July 2016, Portage County filed a petition seeking to extend J.W.K.'s commitment for twelve months. The circuit court found the statutory dangerousness standard was satisfied and extended J.W.K.'s commitment for twelve months. J.W.K. filed a notice of appeal. Thereafter, in 2017, the County filed a petition seeking another twelve-month extension of J.W.K.'s commitment, which the circuit court granted. The court of appeals dismissed J.W.K.'s appeal as moot. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that reversing the expired 2016 order for insufficient evidence would have no effect on subsequent recommitment orders because later orders stand on their own under the language of section 51.20. View "Portage County v. J.W.K." 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 Appellant's motion for early termination of probation, holding that the circuit court did not have inherent authority to grant Appellant's motion for early termination of probation. Appellant argued that, notwithstanding the requirements of Wis. Stat. 973.09(3)(d), which direct the circuit court how it may modify a person's period of probation and discharge the person from probation, circuit courts have the inherent authority to reduce or terminate a term of probation, and the statue could not take that right away. The State countered that Appellant was not eligible for early termination of his probation because he did not meet the requirements of section 973.09(3)(d). The circuit court denied the motion, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Wisconsin courts do not have the inherent authority to reduce or terminate a period of probation. View "State v. Schwind" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court's order granting Defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained during a search of Defendant's vehicle during a traffic stop, holding that none of the officer's questions or actions violated the Fourth Amendment. Defendant was charged with unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon. The weapon was discovered in the glove compartment of Defendant's vehicle during a traffic stop. In his motion to suppress, Defendant argued that the police violated the Fourth Amendment by asking Defendant whether he had a weapon in the vehicle, asking whether he held a permit to carry a concealed weapon, and verifying whether Defendant had a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon. The circuit court granted the motion to suppress, concluding that the officer unlawfully extended the traffic stop by asking whether Defendant had a weapon in the vehicle and whether he had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendant's Fourth Amendment rights were not violated. View "State v. Wright" 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 Defendant's motion to withdraw his plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect (NGI), holding that a circuit court is not required to inform an NGI defendant of the maximum possible term of civil commitment at the guilt phase. Defendant's motion to withdraw his NGI plea was based on the circuit court providing inaccurate information to him concerning the maximum period of civil commitment should he prevail on his affirmative defense to his criminal charges. The court of appeals affirmed the circuit court's denial of Defendant's motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, for two reasons given in this opinion, a circuit court is not required to inform an NGI defendant of the maximum possible term of civil commitment at the guilt phase. View "State v. Fugere" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law