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No, not a Wisconsin judge. But if you’re sleepy, this story will wake you up.

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Erwin Chemerinsky, a SCOTUS expert, summarizes the most controversial cases the court will decide this term. First and Second Amendment rights, abortion rights, DACA are all on the agenda. Find out more here.

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State v. A.M., 2019AP475-476, District 1, 1/3/20, (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity

This is A.M.’s pro se appeal from an order terminating her parental rights to her two children. The briefs are confidential, and the court of appeals states that it had difficulty discerning her arguments.  She appears to have argued that she received ineffective assistance of counsel and that the circuit court erred in determining the best interests of her children. Read more

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State ex rel. Wren v. Richardson, 2017AP880-W, 2019 WI 110, affirming a court of appeals unpublished memorandum opinion; case activity (including briefs)

Two weeks ago, we posted “SCOW holds defendants abandoned by counsel to same standards as licensed lawyers,” calling State v. Pope “the most absurd decision this term (still time for worse).” Behold an even more absurd decision: even teenagers who read at 2nd grade level are held to the same standard as licensed lawyers. And, sadly, there’s still time for worse. Read more

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Monroe County v. D.J., 2019AP1133, 1/2/19, District 4, (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity

Oh, this issue again. Monroe County pursued a Chapter 51 original commitment against D.J. but didn’t say which of the 5 standards of dangerousness it was proceeding under. One doctor opined that commitment was warranted under the 1st or 2nd standards. The other doctor specified 2nd or 5th standards. The trial court instructed the jury on all 3 standards. D.J.’s trial counsel didn’t object. And the jury found commitment warranted. Read more

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State v. Antonio L. Bell, 2018AP1593 & 1594, 12/27/19, District 1 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Bell pleaded to two sexual assaults: one of his 9-year-old daughter and one of his 14-year-old stepdaughter. He maintained his innocence but insisted that he would plead to spare them from testifying. After sentencing, he filed postconviction motions alleging his counsel didn’t sufficiently investigate the possibility that the 14-year-old’s boyfriend was the actual perpetrator, and also that there was newly-discovered evidence in the form of a more detailed recantation by the 9-year-old: she now also said it was the boyfriend who’d assaulted her. The circuit court denied both without a hearing, but the court of appeals now says Bell should have a chance to prove his claims. Read more

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State v. Toby J. Vandenberg, 2018AP1810-CR, District 3, 12/23/19 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Vandenberg pled no contest to OWI 7th. The state agreed to cap its sentencing recommendation at four years of confinement and four years of extended supervision. At sentencing Vandenberg’s lawyer, while saying there was “a strong argument there’s a mandatory minimum of three years’ incarceration,” nonetheless argued for probation. (¶¶6-11). Was counsel ineffective for making that argument? Nope. Read more

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State v. James L. Jackson, 2018AP2074, 12/26/19, District 2 (recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Jackson pleaded to the crime of failing to give updated information to the sex offender registry. The information at issue was the fact that he’d created a Facebook account and email address. This ran afoul of Wis. Stat. § 301.45(2)(a)6m., which requires a registrant to turn over (among other things) the “name or number of every electronic mail account the person uses” and “the name and Internet address of every public or private Internet profile the person creates, uses, or maintains.” On appeal, he argues that this provision unconstitutionally burdens his right to engage in anonymous speech. Read more

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