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Binding Authority – Published Wisconsin Court of Appeals Opinion

State v. Steven G. Walters, 2003 WI App 24, reversed on other grounds, 2004 WI 18
For Walters: Jenelle L. Glasbrenner, David A. Danz

¶25. We cannot ignore the arguments offered by the State at the trial court level at both the motion to exclude before Judge Race and the motion for reconsideration before Judge Carlson. We are troubled by the district attorney’s arguments that a trial court is free to ignore published decisions of the court of appeals. Walworth County District Attorney Phillip Koss argued on numerous occasions, and the trial court implicitly agreed, that Richard A.P. was “obviously” wrongly decided and need not be followed. While the district attorney may think that Richard A.P.was an “obviously” wrong decision and contrary to nationwide precedent, it is the law. Our supreme court has upheld the tenets of Richard A.P. in Davis.¶26. Officially published opinions of the court of appeals have statewide precedential effect. Wis. Stat. §§ 752.41(2), 809.23; see also Cook v. Cook, 208 Wis. 2d 166, 186, 560 N.W.2d 246 (1997). Lower courts are bound by the precedent of our published decisions and the decisions of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, whether the lower courts agree with the law or not. A district attorney who may disagree with the law is still obligated to follow it.

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