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Guilty Pleas – Required Knowledge — Elements — Incomplete Advice in Plea Questionnaire Irrelevant Where Plea Court Relies Exclusively on Oral Colloquy

State v. Michael Brandt, 226 Wis.2d 610, 594 N.W.2d 759 (1999), affirming State v. Brandt, 220 Wis.2d 121, 582 N.W.2d 433 (Ct. App. 1998)
For Brandt: Michael J. Fitzgerald & Dean A. Strang.


¶24 Where, as here, a circuit court ignores the plea questionnaire in its colloquy concerning the elements of the crimes, the adequacy of that colloquy rises or falls on the circuit court’s discussion at the plea hearing. In such cases, the adequacy or deficiency of the plea questionnaire is not at issue because it does not constitute the basis on which the plea is accepted.

¶27 In sum, Brandt has failed to make a prima facie showing that the circuit court violated the Wis. Stat. § 971.08 requirement that a defendant’s plea be made voluntarily with an understanding of the nature of the crimes. Because the circuit court did not rely on the incorrect information in the questionnaire, it did not have an obligation to verify the accuracy of that information. Instead, the circuit court conducted a personal colloquy with Brandt describing the correct elements of the crimes and insuring that he understood the nature of the crimes.  Accordingly, we conclude that the circuit court properly denied Brandt’s motion to withdraw his pleas and affirm the court of appeals.


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