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Restitution challenge forfeited

State v. Michael S. Coleman, 2019AP1999-CR, District 4, 1/30/20 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Coleman appealed the restitution ordered for the damage he did to a squad car by striking his head against the cage inside and kicking the door. (¶2). But his challenges are forfeited for failure to raise them in the circuit court.

¶6     On appeal, Coleman argues that the restitution award was excessive given that the police continued to use the squad car for six months from the time it was damaged to the time it was repaired, and that the damage resulted only “from a person banging his head on the car.” However, as the State notes, Coleman failed to argue before the circuit court that the officer’s testimony regarding the cost to repair the squad car was unreasonable, on any basis. By failing to adequately raise or develop this argument in the circuit court, Coleman has forfeited it, and I reject it on that basis. See State v. Eugene W., 2002 WI App 54, ¶13, 251 Wis. 2d 259, 641 N.W.2d 467 (To preserve an issue for appeal, a party must raise it “with sufficient prominence such that the [circuit] court understands that it is called upon to make a ruling.”); Townsend v. Massey, 2011 WI App 160, ¶25, 338 Wis. 2d 114, 808 N.W.2d 155 (“[T]he forfeiture rule focuses on whether particular arguments have been preserved, not on whether general issues were raised before the circuit court.”)

¶7     For the first time in his reply brief, Coleman argues that the six-month period between the time the squad car was damaged to the time it was repaired “raises questions about the connection between the crime and the damages.” Coleman’s argument fails because he does not point to any evidence suggesting that the squad car incurred additional damage during that time other than the damage that [Lieutenant] Potocki testified to at the hearing. I also reject this argument because “[i]t is a well-established rule that we do not consider arguments raised for the first time in a reply brief.” Bilda v. County of Milwaukee, 2006 WI App 57, ¶20 n.7, 292 Wis. 2d 212, 713 N.W.2d 661.

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