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Issue-Preservation: Suppression of Evidence – Sufficiency of objection

State v. Lucian Agnello, 226 Wis.2d 164, 593 N.W.2d 427 (1999), reversing unpublished decision
For Agnello: Jerome F. Buting & Pamela Moorshead, Buting & Williams

Issue/Holding: On a motion to suppress statement, counsel’s bare relevancy objection to an inquiry into the statement’s truthfulness is held sufficient to preserve a Rogers v. Richmond/Jackson v. Denno objection. This holding is summed up by the following passages:

¶12 There is no question that Agnello’s objection was not as specific as it could have been. The addition of a short phrase, such as “the truthfulness of a confession has no bearing on voluntariness,” would have gone a long way to eliminate any confusion over the nature of the objection. However, we have never required an objection to be as specific as possible to be effective. All that we have required of a party is to object in such a way that the objection’s words or context alert the court of its basis. Corey J.G., 215 Wis. 2d at 405. In this instance, the context of the objection and the status of the law in this area gravitate toward a conclusion that Agnello has preserved this issue for appeal….¶15 While judges are by no means expected to have at the fore of their minds the dispositive principles of every legal issue, the parties can reasonably expect the judge to appreciate those issues that are commonplace without substantial assistance by the litigants. Heims v. Hanke, 5 Wis. 2d 465, 471, 93 N.W.2d 455 (1958), overruled on other grounds, Butzow v. Wausau Memorial Hospital, 51 Wis. 2d 281, 187 N.W.2d 349 (1971); see also Champlain v. State, 53 Wis. 2d 751, 758-59, 193 N.W.2d 868 (1972). That expectation reasonably increases when, as is the case with Goodchild hearings, the inquiry is limited in scope and the possible issues are finite in number

 

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