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State v. Courtney C. Brown, 2017AP774, petition for review granted 10/15/19 case activity (including links to briefs)

Issues (petition for review)

Whether police unlawfully extended a noncriminal traffic stop beyond its initial purpose?

As explained in our post on the court of appeals’ decision, an officer stopped Brown’s car, noticed he wasn’t wearing a seat belt, and asked him where he was coming from, which Brown answered untruthfully. The officer took Brown’s license, returned to the car to write a seat belt warning, discovered Brown’s history of arrests and convictions for possession with intent and armed robbery, and called (unsuccessfully) for dog sniff. He returned to the car and asked Brown to exit and walk to the squad car and put his hands behind his back. Even though the officer did not feel concern for his safety, he also asked Brown to consent to a search. Brown says he  refused. The officer says he consented. The officer searched him and found drugs. Opinion, ¶¶4-9.

Brown contends that the court of appeal’s decision in his, which approved the stop extension, conflicts with State v. Gammons, 2001 WI App 36, 241 Wis. 2d 296, 625 N.W.2d 623, which reached the opposite conclusion under very similar facts.

Also, like Judge Reilly’s concurrence, Brown argues that two recent SCOW decisions misconstrued Rodriguez v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 1609 (2015) and eliminated 4th Amendment protection against warrantless searches and seizures on the roadway.  After State v. Wright, 2019 WI 45, 386 Wis. 2d 495, 926 N.W.2d 157, and State v. Floyd, 2017 WI 78, 377 Wis. 2d 394, 898 N.W.2d 560, officers don’t need reasonable suspicion that the person is committing a crime before asking him to exit his car and consent to a search. Judge Reilly goes further: this permits law enforcement to extend a stop for other reasons–such as profiling. He notes that courts have made mistakes before (see Dred Scott), and SCOW should admit that it made a mistake in Wright and Floyd. Those cases flipped the “constitutional analysis from a bill of rights that protects the people to a bill of rights that allows the government to search and seize on nothing more than a hunch.” Concurrence, ¶34.

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You know what it is: 53206, a heavily African American neighborhood north of downtown Milwaukee. The New Republic just published an article about how it came to be the “most incarcerated” zip code.    Read it here. 

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State v. Jamie Ellin Grimm, 2019AP789-Cr, District 2, 10/16/19 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication), case activity (including briefs)

When a driver approaches an oncoming car within 500 feet,  §347.12(1)(a) requires her to “dim, depress or tilt” her high beams so that “glaring rays” aren’t directed into the eyes of the approaching driver. It is undisputed that Grimm flashed her beams within 500 feet of an approaching squad car. Read more

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Charging as Sentencing, a recent article by Professor Donald Dripps at the University of San Diego Law School, contends that they are. Consider the possibilities.

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State v. Larry W. Olson, 2018AP1075 & 1076, 10/8/19, District 3 (recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Olson and the state resolved some felony counts with an agreement that he’d plead not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. The court found him NGI and committed him for 19 years, placing him on conditional release immediately. A few weeks later, Olson admitted violating his release conditions by smoking methamphetamine. DHS, which supervises NGI committees, immediately took him into custody. For reasons unknown, it held him for eight days before filing a petition to revoke his supervised release. This, everyone agrees, violated Wis. Stat. § 971.17(3)(e), which says such a petition “shall” be filed within 72 hours of detention (excluding weekends and holidays). The dispute on appeal is what that violation means: the state says there’s no consequence at all; Olson says a late petition is no good and must be dismissed. In legalese, the question is whether the word “shall” is mandatory or directory. Read more

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Dane County v. T.R., 2019AP1336-1338, 10/10/19, District 4 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity

This is a confidential case, so we don’t know what the briefs argue or the record shows. However, it seems the circuit court failed to make the findings essential to its order terminating T.R.’s parental rights to her 3 children, and the court of appeals shored up the decision in  order to affirm. Read more

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A stitch in time saves nine

State v. Marcus Demond Anderson, Sr., 2018AP2016-CR, District 1, 10/8/19 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

At the start of his sentencing hearing Anderson lodged a complaint against his lawyer, which the judge blithely ignored. (¶¶2-4). Do over, says the court of appeals. Read more

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State v. Robert C. Washington, 2018AP1771-CR, District 1, 10/8/19 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Washington was convicted of first degree reckless homicide and first degree reckless injury for shooting his two sons, killing one and injuring the other. He argues his lawyer was ineffective for advising him to plead without discussing possible lesser included offense possibilities and for failing to advocate for him at sentencing. He also argues newly discovered evidence shows the shootings were accidental, not reckless. Read more

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