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April/May 2020 publication list

On May 27, 2020, the court of appeals ordered the publication of the following cases decided in April and May (as there was no April publication list): Read more

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State v. Donald Simon Mullen and County of Waukesha v. Donald Simon Mullen, 2019AP1187 & 2019AP1188, 5/20/20, District 2 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Mullen pulled his car into a bar parking lot around 1:30 a.m. and a passing officer took interest. He pulled into the lot also, and parked behind and to the left of Mullen’s parked vehicle–Mullen had exited and was standing near the closed bar’s front door. The officer pointed at Mullen an “extremely high intensity spotlight” which serves a “disabling function”–preventing the illuminated person from seeing an approaching officer–and approached him on foot, asking where he was coming from. Was Mullen seized by the time he responded in an incriminating way? Read more

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State v. Tammy Genevieve Hardenburg, 2019AP1399-CR, 5/27/20, District 1; case activity (including briefs)

At Hardenburg’s OWI trial, the court admitted three blood test reports by three different analysts, but only one of them testified. Hardenburg argued that the testifying analyst served as a conduit for the opinions by the other two in violation of the confrontation clause. She claimed trial counsel was ineffective for not (a) trying to prevent the admission of the second and third analysts’ conclusions, and (b) objecting to the first analyst’s testimony about their conclusions. The circuit court denied Hardenburg’s motion without a hearing. The court of appeals reversed: Read more

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Lawyers appointed to take State Public Defender cases are often asked to transfer their client files to successor counsel. SCOW just suspended one lawyer’s license for 5 months partly because he failed to turn over a client file, which hampered successor counsel’s representation. Read OLR v. Peter J. Kovac. This is a good reminder that our clients depend upon prompt responses to these requests.

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State v. Adam W. Vice, 2018AP2220-CR, 5/19/20, District 3 (recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

This is a “recommended for publication”, split court of appeals opinion where the State lost in a child sexual assault case. In other words the State will surely petition for review, and SCOW will take it. Applying State v. Davis, 2008 WI 71, 310 Wis. 2d 583, 751 N.W.2d 332, the majority held that the defendant’s polygraph test and the confession were two discrete events, but based on the facts of this case, the confession was involuntary. The dissent by Judge Hruz would hold the confession voluntary. Read more

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On May 22, the supreme court issued new orders addressing trial and appellate court operations as the state begins to “re-open” from the restrictions aimed to limit the spread of Covid-19. Read more

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State v. Angel Mercado, 2018AP2419-CR, petition for review of a published decision granted 5/19/20; case activity

Issues (from the State’s petition for review):

1.  Did the court of appeals contravene §901.03(1)(a) when it directly reviewed Mercado’s forfeited challenges to the admission of the victims’ forensic interview videos into evidence?

2.  Did the circuit court court properly admit the victims’ forensic interview videos into evidence at trial?

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State v. Troy R. Lasecki, 2018AP2340-CR, 5/19/20, District 3 (recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Wonders never cease. The State charged Lasecki with 2 counts of failure to return security deposits to tenants in violation of Wis. Admin Code. §ATCP 134.06(2) and §§100.20(2) and 100.26(3)(2013-3104). Lasecki proceeded pro se at trial, and a jury convicted  on both counts. His appeal drew amicus briefs from the Apartment Ass’n for Southeastern Wisconsin, the Univ. of Wis. Law School and from the Attorney General  about whether the statute and code criminalized the failure to return rent. Answer: “yes.” but Lasecki won anyway because the jury instructions were erroneous and the court erred in ordering restitution above the victim’s pecuniary losses. Read more

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