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Disorderly conduct — sufficiency of the evidence

State v. Christina V., 2013AP405-FT, District 3, 6/11/13; court of appeals decision (1-judge; ineligible for publication); case activity

The evidence was sufficient to support the trial court’s order adjudicating Christina delinquent of disorderly conduct despite the judge’s comments that what happened in the case was “somewhat of a guess” and that his conclusions were “[m]y best guess” and based on what “I suspect” happened. (¶¶12-13).

Though the trial court found none of the witnesses “all that reliable” (¶10), the basic facts involve Christina and a friend, Lucas, inviting Brown, Christina’s ex-boyfriend, for a drive, during which Christina and Brown got into a heated argument. Brown eventually jumped out of the moving car, either after Christina “flashed” a gun (which she denied) or Lucas “mentioned” the gun in the car out of concern because of the argument. (¶¶3-9). While at one point the judge said he “suspect[ed]” Christina flashed the gun, he ultimately stated “it’s reasonable to believe” she did so. (¶¶12-13). The trial court’s decision was also based on its conclusion that the argument between Christina and Brown was intense enough for Lucas to be concerned about securing the gun. (¶13).

Under the highly deferential sufficiency standard, State v. Poellinger, 153 Wis. 2d 493, 507, 451 N.W.2d 752 (1990), the court of appeals concludes that the trial court did find as a fact that Christina flashed the gun at Brown and that this determination is supported by evidence in the record. It also concludes that the record supports the trial court’s finding that Christina’s actions, and not just Brown’s, caused Lucas to be concerned about the gun. (¶¶18-20).

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Robert R. Henak June 13, 2013, 7:38 am

    The error here appears to be, not insufficiency of the evidence, but that the trial judge explicitly applied the wrong legal standard, denying the defendant the right to a verdict beyond a reasonable doubt.

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