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COA overlooks procedural bar, State’s failure to file to a response brief; affirms based on well-settled plea withdrawal case law

State v. William J. Buffo, 2022AP1803-4-CR, District IV, 7/13/23, 1-judge decision ineligible for publication; case activity (briefs available)

In another messy pro se appeal, COA overlooks the State’s failure to file a response brief and affirms the circuit court’s “evidently correct” decision.

The procedural history in this case is complicated but largely irrelevant to Buffo’s appeal. In essence, Buffo was convicted of a handful of misdemeanors and has been trying, via all manner of legal stratagems, to overturn those convictions. Notwithstanding the applicability of a potential procedural bar, COA ultimately addresses Buffo’s arguments on the merits and concludes that the circuit court correctly denied relief under well-settled rules governing postconviction motion practice.

First, COA addresses the circuit court’s denial of a postconviction motion seeking plea withdrawal. (¶9). Things get a little difficult to parse out here given the laundry list of allegations, but, essentially, the circuit court correctly concluded that: (1) Buffo’s claims were contrary to the record (¶10); (2) it had properly questioned Buffo about the factual basis for his plea under 971.08(1)(b) (¶12); and (3) Buffo had not adequately pleaded his claim that his plea was “coerced” by various alleged factual considerations. (¶13). Overall, Buffo’s motion did not entitle him to a hearing because he did not allege facts which, if true, would entitle him to relief. (¶15).

Buffo also argues that a follow-up motion asking the court to reopen and dismiss his case due to an alleged speedy trial violation was also incorrectly denied. (¶16). Once again, the court agrees that the circuit court correctly denied the postconviction motion without a hearing, even though it struggles to understand (like this writer) the precise contours of the defense argument. (¶20). Finally, COA adds a lengthy paragraph chastising Buffo for his broad allegations of fraud and deceit levied at all manner of government agents, included the FBI. (¶24)

Thus, despite the failure of the State to fulfill its duties and file even a minimal response brief, COA affirms based on the palpable lack of merit presented in this appeal.

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