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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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Wis. Stat. 950.09(2)(a), (2)(c)-(d) and (3) and 950.11 are unconstitutional with respect to judges because they invade two exclusive aspects of judicial authority: the judicial power vested in the unified court system and the disciplinary function vested in the Supreme Court. A formal complaint against Judge William Gabler was submitted to the Crime Victims Rights Board by a crime victim based on the judge’s decision to postpone sentencing in a criminal case. The Board found probable cause to conclude that Judge Gabler violated the complainant’s statutory and constitutional rights by postponing the sentencing. The Board determined that Judge Gabler was subject to the Board’s statutory authority to determined whether he violated the rights of a crime victim under chapter 950 and to impose a remedy. The Board then determined that Judge Gabler violated the complainant’s constitutional right to timely disposition of the case as to which the complainant was a crime victim. The circuit court reversed the Board’s decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, because of its decision holding the statutory scheme unconstitutional as applied to judges, the Board’s decision against Judge Gabler was void. View "Honorable William M. Gabler, Sr. v. Crime Victims Rights Board" on Justia Law

Posted in: Constitutional 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 reversed the decision of the court of appeals, which affirmed the circuit court’s judgment dismissing a lawsuit filed by Petitioners, four golf professionals, against the City of Madison (the City pursuant to the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law (the WFDL). Petitioners filed a lawsuit against the City after the City informed them that it would not be renewing operating agreements with Petitioners to oversee clubhouse operations at certain golf courses. Petitioners alleged that the City failed to comply with the WFDL in ending the City’s relationship with them and seeking damages. The circuit court granted summary judgment to the City, concluding that the relationships between Petitioners and the City did not constitute “dealerships” protected by the WFDL. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the WFDL applies to the City; (2) the relationships between Petitioners and the City are “dealerships” under the WFDL; and (3) Petitioners’ lawsuit is not time-barred, and the City is not immune from the lawsuit. View "Benson v. City of Madison" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Contracts

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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

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The thirty-day period under Wis. Stat. 68.13(1) during which certiorari review may be obtained for a town board’s highway order to lay out, alter, or discontinue a highway begins to run on the date that the highway order is recorded by the register of deeds. In this case, the circuit court granted the town boards’ motions to dismiss Appellant’s petitions for certiorari review of highway orders recorded in Rock and Walworth Counties. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for certiorari review in either Walworth County Circuit Court or Rock County Circuit Court because Appellant’s petitions were filed within thirty days of the dates on which the highway orders were recorded by the registers of deeds. View "Pulera v. Town of Richmond" on Justia Law

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When a defendant follows a circuit court’s instruction to defer filing a request for substitution of a judge until after counsel is appointed, strict compliance with the twenty-day deadline for filing a request for substitution after remittitur is not warranted. Here Defendant made a timely request for substitution of a judge pursuant to Wis. Stat. 971.20(7) after his cases were remitted to the circuit court following the successful appeal of the denial of his Bangert motion to withdraw his pleas and vacate his conviction. The circuit court instructed Defendant that the filing of a motion for substitution should be deferred until after an attorney was appointed. Seventeen days after an attorney was appointed, Defendant’s trial counsel formalized the substitution request. The circuit court denied the postconviction motion. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that Defendant did not timely invoke his right to substitution of a circuit court judge. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded to the circuit court to vacate the judgments of conviction and for a new trial, holding that, under the unique circumstances of this case, Defendant’s motion for substitution of judge was timely filed because the circuit court in essence extended the deadline until after Defendant’s trial counsel was appointed. View "State v. Zimbal" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant appealed his convictions for resisting a law enforcement officer and intentionally pointing a firearm at an officer, arguing that his constitutional right to present a defense was denied by the circuit court’s refusal to instruct the jury on self-defense. The court of appeals affirmed the judgment of conviction. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the circuit court erred in refusing Defendant’s request for a self-defense instruction under the circumstances of this case because there was sufficient evidence supporting the privilege of self-defense; and (2) the error affected Defendant’s substantial rights and was not harmless error. View "State v. Stietz" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The policy and practice of the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) of creating and disseminating criminal history reports in a manner that sometimes indicate that some individuals who are innocent of any criminal activity have a criminal activity violates Petitioners’ constitutional rights. Petitioners challenged the DOJ’s policy and practice of creating and disseminating criminal history reports that wrongly imply that certain individuals have a criminal activity. The circuit court granted judgment in favor of the DOJ. Petitioners argued that Wis. Stat. 19.70 requires the DOJ to correct or supplement its record production when it inaccurately ascribes a criminal history to an innocent person and that the failure to correct inaccuracies violates their right to procedural and substantive due process and their equal protection rights. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that the DOJ’s criminal history search reports violate Petitioners' rights, and Petitioners are to be afforded prospective relief sufficient to protect those rights. View "Teague v. Schimel" on Justia Law