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Unfair Prejudice, § 904.03 – Jury Exposure to Proof of Element of Prior Conviction for “Violent Crime” on Stalking Trial

State v. Michael A. Sveum, 2009 WI App 81, affirmed on other grds., 2010 WI 92
For Sveum: Robert J. Kaiser, Jr.


¶43      Sveum was convicted of aggravated stalking based on his 1996 stalking conviction. Proof of this particular aggravated stalking crime requires proof of a previous conviction for a violent crime or a stalking crime involving the same victim pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 940.32(3)(b). Sveum argues that the circuit court erred by admitting evidence of his prior stalking conviction after he had agreed to stipulate to the conviction. The legal basis for Sveum’s argument is difficult to discern, but he relies on State v. Alexander, 214 Wis. 2d 628, 571 N.W.2d 662 (1997), a case holding that a defendant’s prior drunk driving convictions should not have gone to the jury, even though proof of the prior convictions was necessary to prove the drunk driving charge at issue in that case. Whatever persuasive value Alexandermay have had in a stalking case was put to rest in State v. Warbelton, 2009 WI 6, ¶40, __ Wis. 2d __, 759 N.W.2d 557. In Warbelton, also a stalking case, the court expressly declined to apply Alexander and held thatAlexander applies only to drunk driving prosecutions. Warbelton, 2009 WI 6, ¶¶3, 46, 61. We are bound by Warbelton.

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