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WESCL, §§ 968.27 – .37 — Unilateral Public Disclosure Not Authorized – Complaint Containing Such Disclosure Should Be Sealed

State v. Kevin Gilmore, 201 Wis. 2d 820, 549 N.W.2d 401 (1996), affirming, 193 Wis. 2d 403, 535 N.W.2d 21 (Ct. App. 1995)
For Gilmore: Robert R. Henak


We hold that while WESCL does not authorize the State’s unilateral public disclosure of intercepted communications in a criminal complaint, the State may incorporate intercepted communications in a complaint if the State files the complaint under seal with the circuit court. The State did not file the complaint in this case under seal, and accordingly we conclude that it has violated WESCL.Because we so hold, we must also address the question of the appropriate sanction for such a violation. The defendant contends that the illegally intercepted communications should be stricken from the State’s complaint. We conclude, however, that under the circumstances of this case WESCL does not authorize suppression of the contents of a legally intercepted communication. The statute reserves the remedy of suppression for illegally intercepted communications. At this stage of the proceedings no argument has been made that the State’s interception of the communications at issue was illegal. We therefore remand the cause to the circuit court with instructions to reinstate the original complaint under seal and for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


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