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No-Merit Report – Defendant’s Right to Access PSI

State v. Michael J. Parent, 2006 WI 132, on certification
For Parent: William E. Schmaal, SPD, Madison
AppellateAmicus: Meredith J. Ross & William E. Rosales

Issue/Holding:

¶30      We reject Parent’s contention that Wis. Stat. § (Rule) 809.32(1)(d) confers an unqualified right for a no-merit appellant to access personally the PSI report. …¶31      But neither are we persuaded by the State’s argument, which would place the onus on the defendant to demonstrate a “substantial need” for the PSI report without knowing (or recalling) its contents. …

¶35      We conclude that permitting a defendant in a no-merit appeal access to the PSI report is consistent with the design and purpose of the no-merit procedure. …

¶43      Accordingly, under Wis. Stat. §  972.15(4m) (2005-06), we conclude that a defendant subject to the no-merit procedure may view a copy of the PSI report but may not keep a copy of it. This opportunity to view the report must be meaningful; the defendant should have sufficient time to conduct a thorough review of the document and, if the defendant has made a timely request to view the PSI report, the viewing should occur soon enough to give the defendant time to incorporate material from the PSI report in the defendant’s response to the no-merit report.

¶45      Consistent with the requirements of Wis. Stat. § 972.15(3), we hold that a defendant subject to a no-merit appeal must notify the circuit court of the defendant’s desire to view the PSI report to permit the judge to review the PSI report and to redact as the judge deems appropriate identifying information of persons who provided information for the report and information that may be confidential under other law not discussed here. The circuit court’s exercise of discretion is limited under the statute to redacting, as it deems appropriate, identifying information of persons who provided information and information that may be confidential under other applicable law. Under § 972.15(4m) (2005-06), the circuit court may not deny altogether the defendant’s request to view a copy of the PSI report.

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