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State v. Nathaniel Lee Mattson, 2019AP201-CR, 6/16/20, District 3 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Mattson pled guilty to domestic battery and disorderly conduct and moved to withdraw his pleas after sentencing. Argued that he did not realize that the decision as to whether accept a plea or go to trial was exclusively his. And during the colloquy the circuit court did not inform him of that fact. Read more

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Fond du Lac v. S.N.W., 2019AP2073, 6/17/20, District 2 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity

We detect the unmistakable odor of SCOW bait. One of two court appointed medical experts failed to submit his examiner’s report within 48 hours before the final hearing for an original commitment of a prisoner. S.N.W. argued that this violation deprived the circuit court of competence to adjudicate the case. Alternatively, if the court retained competency, the report had to be excluded. The court of appeals disagreed. Who needs expert reports 48 before trial? Not defense lawyers striving to defend their clients’s rights. They can just wing it. This decision is at odds with several unpublished opinions and thus sets up a good petition for review. Read more

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State v. Alfonzo C. Loayza, 2018AP2066-CR, petition for review of a per curiam opinion granted 6/16/20; case activity

Issue (from the State’s petition for review):

It is well established that a DOT record is competent proof of a defendant’s prior conviction and can therefore be used to enhance the defendant’s sentence. It is also  well established  that a defendant may challenge the existence of a  conviction listed on a DOT record. But currently, there is no accepted procedure for how a defendant should challenge the existence of a conviction listed in a DOT record and what burden he must satisfy to make a DOT record so unreliable that it no longer qualifies as competent proof of the conviction.

Do the lack of a judgment of conviction for a prior offense and other documents that “support the inference” that the conviction does not exist render a Wisconsin DOT driving record that lists the conviction so unreliable that it is no longer competent proof of the conviction? Read more

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State v. K.L.G., 2019AP658, District 1, 6/16/20 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity

What a bummer. K.L.G. moved to suppress an officer’s identification of him made after she looked up his booking photo from a previous incidence. The circuit court granted the motion and dismissed. The State appealed, and the court of appeals reverses. Read more

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State v. Michelle Greenwood, 2019AP248, 6/9/20, District 3 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication) case activity (including briefs)

Greenwood was pulled over for going 81 when the speed limit was 70. The officer testified her eyes were glassy and bloodshot and that her pupils were quite dilated, and did not constrict quickly when he shined his flashlight on them. Per the court of appeals, this was good enough to continue to detain her after the speeding was addressed in order to investigate suspected marijuana intoxication. Read more

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State ex rel. Milton Eugene Warren v. Michael Meisner, 2020 WI 55, 6/11/20, reversing and remanding an unpublished order of the court of appeals, 2019AP567; case activity (including briefs)

Seven years ago, the supreme court decided State v. Starks, 2013 WI 69, 349 Wis. 2d 274, 833 N.W.2d 146. That opinion contained a couple of erroneous statements about the procedure for raising claims that postconviction counsel was ineffective. Both parties moved for reconsideration of these statements, which the court inexplicably denied more than a year later. Now with this decision, the court unanimously cleans up the misstatements in Starks, and gives the defendant his day in court. Read more

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State v. Duanne D. Townsend, 2019AP787, 6/9/20, District 1 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Good news: the court of appeals reversed a circuit court decision denying Townsend’s §974.06 motion without a hearing. Townsend now gets a one on his claims for ineffective assistance of postconviction and trial counsel. Bad news: the court of appeals botched the issue of whether Townsend was denied his 6th Amendment right to determine his own defense under McCoy v. Louisiana, 138 S Ct. 1500 (2018). As noted in our post on McCoy, SCOW needs to square that decision with Wisconsin case law. Read more

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Detecting mens rea in the brain

A group of researchers wanted to find out whether, using brain-imaging technology and AI, they could examine human brain activities and distinguish between an intentional and a reckless state of mind. Given that criminal law punishes defendants more harshly for acting with intent, it’s a good thing the answered turned out to be “yes.” The paper will be published soon in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, but you can read it here.

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