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Binding Authority – Law of the Case – Effect of Summary Affirmance

State v. Paul J. Stuart, 2003 WI 73, on certification (subsequently reversed on other groundsState v. Paul J. Stuart, 2005 WI 47)
For Stuart: Christopher W. Rose

Issue/Holding: Supreme court disposition of an earlier appeal via summary order is law of the case as to subsequent appeal; the order resolved a question of law despite failing to state reasons: though an affirmance of a discretionary ruling may not determine a question of law, a reversal necessarily does. ¶27. Nor does it matter that no reasons were stated in the order: “There is nothing that requires this court to state its reasons. The United States Supreme Court has made clear that reasons are not necessary for the law of the case doctrine to apply.” ¶28. Further, the rule relating to the supreme court’s issuance of opinions (§ 751.10) does not require the court to provide a statement of reasons in contrast to the statute governing court of appeals’ decision, § 752.41(1), which does. ¶28.

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