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Notice of Appeal – Unsigned

State v. Marvin C. Seay, State v. Christopher Tillman, 2002 WI App 37


¶1. In these two appeals, the appellants filed unsigned notices of appeal with the clerks of the circuit courts. The issue is whether the failure to sign the notice of appeal deprives this court of appellate jurisdiction. In accord with the recent United States Supreme Court ruling in Becker v. Montgomery, 121 S. Ct. 1801 (2001), we conclude that a person’s failure to sign the notice of appeal does not deprive this court of appellate jurisdiction if the omission is corrected once it is called to the appellant’s attention….¶9. For these purposes, Wis. Stat. § 802.05(1) is identical to Rule 11(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. And, like Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure 3(c)(4), Wis. Stat. § 807.07(1) provides that ‘[i]f it appears … that [an] appeal was attempted in good faith the court may allow any defect or omission in the appeal papers to be supplied, either with or without terms, and with the same effect as if the appeal had been originally properly taken.’ See also Northridge Bank v. Cmty. Eye Care Ctr., Inc., 94 Wis. 2d 201, 203, 287 N.W.2d 810 (1980) (an appellant should be permitted to amend a timely filed notice of appeal under § 807.07(1) to correct an ‘inconsequential’ error in the content of the notice of appeal). All of the federal rules under consideration in Becker have substantially similar counterparts in Wisconsin. Therefore, we conclude that the Supreme Court’s analysis in Becker is persuasive.


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