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Sentencing – Review — Inaccurate Information — Trial Court Disclaimer of Reliance not Controlling

State v. Jeffrey R. Groth, 2002 WI App 299, PFR filed 12/11/02
For Groth: Peter Koneazny, Randall E. Paulson, SPD, Milwaukee Appellate

Issue/Holding: Trial court disclaimer (via postconviction ruling) of reliance on information challenged as inaccurate isn’t binding: rather, appellate court “may independently review the record to determine the existence of any such reliance.” ¶¶27-28. Here, the record shows that this disclaimer “was, at least in part, factually inaccurate” (the sentencing court seemed to adopt a remark by the prosecutor that itself embodied the inaccuracy); and the information — that defendant beat pregnant women “is so heinous that it would be difficult (if not impossible or improper) for any sentencing court to ignore.” ¶¶29-31.

¶34. Accordingly, we conclude that the record establishes both the State’s conceded present inability to discern a factual basis for the information it presented about beating pregnant women and the sentencing court’s apparent, consequential reliance on those allegations in sentencing Groth. Thus, “the integrity of the sentencing process” requires resentencing….

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