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State’s failure to respond to defense argument results in reversal of conviction

State v. Charles David Sislo, 2015AP73-CR, 7/6/16, District 3 (1-judge opinion; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Wow! This “defense win” is gift wrapped for appellate lawyers. Sislo appealed the circuit court’s denial of his motion to suppress the fruits of his arrest, arguing that the police had no probable cause to arrest him even considering the collective knowledge doctrine. The State’s response brief apparently “mischaracterized” Sislo’s argument, and this did not sit well with the court of appeals:

¶12 The State fails to acknowledge, much less respond to, Sislo’s argument that the record fails to show that law enforcement’s collective knowledge sufficiently demonstrated probable cause. Thus, it is unrefuted in this appeal that there was no evidence that Sislo used E.L.’s account information without permission, and that this omission is fatal to a probable cause determination. See Charolais Breeding Ranches, Ltd. v. FPC Sec. Corp., 90 Wis. 2d 97, 109, 279 N.W.2d 493 (Ct. App. 1979) (unrefuted arguments are deemed conceded). Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of conviction and direct the circuit court to grant Sislo’s suppression motion.


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