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§ 940.32(2m)(b), Stalking – “Course of Conduct” Acts: Timing, Admissibility

State v. Janet A. Conner, 2009 WI APP 143, PFR filed 9/28/09
For Conner: J. Steven House

Issue/Holding:

¶19      We conclude that the seven year time restriction specified in Wis. Stat. § 940.32(2m)(b) requires that only the final act charged as part of a course of conduct occur within seven years of the previous conviction, and does not restrict by time the other acts used to establish the underlying course of conduct element of sub. (2). [10] In the present case, there is no dispute that the final act charged, the keying of the Gainors’ vehicle, occurred within seven years of Conner’s previous conviction, and the jury properly considered the entire history of acts undertaken by Conner against James, showing a continuity of purpose, to establish Conner’s course of conduct. [11]

Issue/Holding: Evidence relating to prior acts allegedly committed by Connor against the stalking complainants was admissible to prove an element (“course of conduct”); and, because “course of conduct is not a status element,” Connor’s stipulation to the prior conviction embodying these acts didn’t preclude the state from proving the acts, ¶¶23-27.

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