State v. Jeremy J. Hanson, 2001 WI 70, 244 Wis. 2d 405, 628 N.W.2d 759, reversing unpublished decision of court of appeals
For Hanson: James B. Connell
Issue: Whether a guilty or no contest plea waives the right to challenge the defendant’s status as an habitual traffic offender, and the right to challenge the HTO sentencing penalty as unauthorized.
¶21. Section 973.13 requires Wisconsin courts to declare a sentence void ‘[i]n any case where the court imposes a maximum penalty in excess of that authorized by law.’ § 973.13 (emphasis added). In an analogous context, our court of appeals concluded that the command of § 973.13 allowed a defendant to challenge a faulty repeater sentence despite the existence of an otherwise effective procedural bar. State v. Flowers, 221 Wis. 2d 20, 22-23, 586 N.W.2d 175 (Ct. App. 1998)….
¶22. As in Flowers, to allow the imposition of a criminal penalty where none is authorized by the legislature, simply on the basis of waiver, would ignore the dictate of § 973.13. We thus reach the merits of Hanson’s challenge and determine whether any basis existed for the imposition of a criminal sentence.