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Evidence sufficient for disorderly conduct conviction

State v. Samuel Martin Polhamus, 2019AP2339-CR, 1/28/21, District 4 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity

The State charged Polhamus with bail-jumping and disorderly conduct. A jury acquitted on the first charge and convicted on the second. Polhamus appealed pro se and, according to the court of appeals, appeared to argue that the State’s evidence of his alleged disorderly conduct both inside and outside of a bar was insufficient.

Section 947.01 governing disorderly conduct, and the applicable jury instruction require the State to prove: “Number one, the defendant engaged in violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud or otherwise disorderly conduct. Number two, the conduct of the defendant under the circumstances as they then existed tended to cause or provoke a disturbance. Disorderly conduct may include physical acts or language or both.” Opinion, ¶7.

When determining whether evidence satisfies this standard, the court of appeals must view it most favorably to the State and the conviction. State v. Poellinger, 153 Wis. 2d 493, 507, 451 N.W.2d 752 (1990). Unfortunately for Polhamus, video recordings and a bartender’s testimony showed that he was loud, confrontational, and yelling inside the bar. An officer’s body camera showed similar language and conduct outside the bar. The court of appeals thus upheld his conviction.


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