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Binding Authority – Power to Overrule Court of Appeals, Limited to Supreme Court

State v. Miyosha White, 2004 WI App 237, PFR filed 12/1/04
For White: Leonard Kachinsky


¶7 Here, however, we must first determine whether interpretation of WIS. STAT.§ 973.01(3g), the ERP statute, is governed by Lehman, a decision of this court interpreting the nearly identical language of WIS. STAT. § 973.01(3m), the CIP statute. If Lehman controls the interpretation of both parts of § 973.01, we are constrained by our prior decision; this court does not have the power to overrule, modify, or withdraw any language from that opinion. Cook v. Cook, 208 Wis. 2d 166, 189-90, 560 N.W.2d 246 (1997). Despite its division into districts, the court of appeals functions as a unitary court and must speak with one voice. In re Court of Appeals, 82 Wis. 2d 369, 371, 263 N.W.2d 149 (1978). Even if we were to disagree with Lehman, we would thus be limited to signaling our disfavor rather than correcting any perceived error. Cook, 208 Wis. 2d at 190.…

¶12. Many of the points White raises were addressed in Lehman.4 We recognize that reasonable minds might disagree over whether the contested language in Wis. Stat. § 973.01(3m) and 3(g) is ambiguous, but this court has already spoken on the issue. If White wishes to challenge that determination, he must address his argument to the only court with the power to modify or overrule Lehman, the supreme court.

Also: State v. Victor K. Johnson, 2004 WI 94, ¶¶17-18; State v. Andre Bolden, 2003 WI App 155, ¶¶9-10.

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