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24. Suppression of evidence

How to beat the “harmless error” rap

For the 2015 SPD conference, Judge Sankovitz and Attorneys Rob Henak and Melinda Swartz prepared an excellent outline on a problem that plagues many defense lawyers on appeal.  They have a great issue. They win it, but then the court of appeals or supreme court finds the error harmless.  This detailed, well-researched outline walks you… Read More

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State v. Zoltan M. Peter, 2014AP1589-CR, 1/1/15, District 2 (1-judge opinion; ineligible for publication); click here for briefs and docket Peter was found guilty of operating a motor vehicle with a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in his blood. He moved to suppress the marijuana that the police seized from his car, arguably… Read More

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State v. Eduardo Ivanez, 2013AP1901-CR, 2/26/15,  District 1 (not recommended for publication); click here for briefs Ivanez appealed his conviction for 1st-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse on the grounds that statements he made to the police should have been suppressed and the admission of those statements impelled him to testify that he killed… Read More

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State v. Trenton James Dawson, 2013AP834-Cr, District 1, 12/3/13 (not recommended for publication); case activity This decision points up a problem in Wisconsin case law: How does an appellate court analyze “harmless error” in a situation where the trial court denies a motion to suppress a defendant’s confession, which then causes him to plead guilty… Read More

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State v. Xavier J. Rockette, 2005 WI App 205 For Rockette: Timothy A. Provis Issue/Holding: Issue/Holding: Trial court’s error in refusing to order suppression of statement was harmless under § 971.31(10), under following circumstances: ¶27      We conclude that the result in this case would have been the same beyond a reasonable doubt even if the… Read More

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State v. Jerome G. Semrau, 2000 WI App 54, 233 Wis. 2d 508, 608 N.W.2d 376 For Semrau: John D. Lubarsky, SPD, Madison Appellate Issue: Whether (assumed) erroneous refusal to suppress evidence was harmless on appeal following guilty plea, under Wis. Stat. § 971.31(10). Holding: Strength of admissible evidence, apart from unsuppressed evidence, placed Semrau… Read More

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State v. Tonnie D. Armstrong, 223 Wis.2d 331, 588 N.W.2d 606 (1999), reconsideration denied, 225 Wis.2d 121, 591 N.W.2d 604 (1999) For Armstrong: Steven A. Koch and Seymour, Kremer, Nommensen, Morrissy & Koch Issue/Holding: Armstrong pleaded guilty, with suppression issues (admissibility of oral statements) preserved as matter of law under Wis. Stat. § 971.31(10). The… Read More

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