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Involuntary Statement — Procedure for Challenging

State v. Stanley A. Samuel, 2002 WI 34, reversing 2001 WI App 25, 240 Wis. 2d 756, 623 N.W.2d 565

For Samuel: Robert A. Henak

Issue/Holding: Ҧ35. Under Velez, first the defendant must bring a motion to suppress, alleging facts sufficient to show that a statement was involuntary under Clappes and that the police misconduct at issue is egregious such that it produces statements that are unreliable as a matter of law. See Velez, 224 Wis. 2d at 18. If the motion alleges facts which, if true, would entitle the defendant to relief, then the circuit court must hold an evidentiary hearing. Id.; see also State v. Bentley, 201 Wis. 2d 303, 310, 548 N.W.2d 50 (1996). However, if the motion does not allege sufficient facts, the circuit court has the discretion to deny an evidentiary hearing upon a finding that any one of the following circumstances is present: (1) the defendant failed to allege sufficient facts in the motion to raise a question of material fact; (2) the defendant presented only conclusory allegations; or (3) the record conclusively demonstrates that the defendant is not entitled to relief. Velez, 224 Wis. 2d at 17-18.
“¶36. Even where the defendant has not met this initial burden of production and the circuit court has the discretion to deny an evidentiary hearing, in order to properly exercise that discretion, it must ‘carefully consider the record, the motion, counsels’ arguments and/or offers of proof, and the law.’ Velez, 224 Wis. 2d at 17 (quoting State v. Garner, 207 Wis. 2d 520, 534-35, 558 N.W.2d 916 (Ct. App. 1996)). Moreover, when there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant will establish the factual basis at an evidentiary hearing, the circuit court must provide the defendant with the opportunity to develop the record. Id. at 18.
“¶37. In other words, there will be cases where the court cannot properly exercise its discretion in denying an evidentiary hearing without first holding a nonevidentiary hearing on the defendant’s motion to suppress. See Velez, 224 Wis. 2d at 17. The facts that the defendant must establish and the determinations the circuit court must make will be informed by the standard and factors we have identified.”
The state bears the burden of persuasion, by preponderance of the evidence. ¶39.

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