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Due Process – Notice of Charge – Sufficient to Allege Elements, Specific Acts Unnecessary

State v. Janet A. Conner, 2009 WI App 143, PFR filed 9/28/09
For Conner: J. Steven House

Issue/Holding: An information alleging the elements of stalking, § 940.32(2m)(b), but not the acts allegedly establishing the “course of conduct,” provided adequate notice of the charge; court rejecting argument that Connor deprived of notice of “time frame in which the crime allegedly occurred.”

State v. Kaufman, 188 Wis. 2d 485, 492, 525 N.W.2d 138 (Ct. App. 1994), distinguished, as involving crime for which state had discretion to charge as either continuous or single offense(s) and that information therefore didn’t notify Kaufman she would have to prepare a defense to a continuing offense, ¶32:

¶33      The present situation is different. Here, a course of conduct is an element of the charged offense, not a charging option within the State’s discretion. The law does not require that the information specify with particularity upon which dates the course of conduct occurred, and Conner provides no authority for such a requirement. The supreme court has stated that “[i]n drafting an information the state should not have to spell out every act which would comprise an element of the crime ….” Wilson v. State, 59 Wis. 2d 269, 275-76, 208 N.W.2d 134 (1973). Instead, allegations of the elements of the crime charged will suffice. Id. at 276.


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