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Circuit court order “setting parameters” for future filings upheld

State v. William J. Buffo, 2023AP302 & 2023AP303, 8/31/23, District 4 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

This pro se appeal stems from two criminal cases, but the opinion concerns an order from the circuit court that set “parameters for Buffo’s future filings.” In short, the circuit court entered an order that barred Buffo from filing any further motions and required any potentially “legally-valid” postconviction motions to be screened by a “Dane County judge” before any filing from Buffo would be accepted. While noting that it could dismiss Buffo’s arguments on appeal as undeveloped, the court reaches the merits and upholds the circuit court’s order.

Prior to the court’s order, Buffo had multiple appeals pending in these same cases, the circuit court had previously denied (1) a fifty page motion regarding conditions of probation that inclued 109 pages of attachments, (2) motions to withdraw his pleas that totaled 76 pages, and (3) various letters requesting dismissal of his cases that consisted of more than 249 pages of documents. (Op., ¶4). Access to the court is a constitutional right, but the right is “neither absolute nor unconditional.” See Village of Tigerton v. Minniecheske, 211 Wis. 2d 777, 785, 565 N.W.2d 586 (Ct. App. 1997). A court may restrict a litigant’s access to court “when the litigant has engaged in a patter of frivolous litigation.” (Op., ¶9).

Here, the court finds that the circuit court properly exercised its discretion to “narrowly strike a balance between Buffo’s access to the courts, the taxpayer’s right not to have repetitive litigation become an unwarranted drain on their resources, and the public interest in maintaining the intergrity of the judicial system.” Further, the court takes Buffo’s failure to file a reply brief as a concession to the state’s arguments on appeal. (Op., ¶10-11).


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