In 2005, Michael Belleau was civilly committed as a “sexually violent person,” after serving prison time for sexually assaulting children. When released in 2010, Wisconsin law required him to wear a GPS monitoring device for the rest of his life. Recently, a federal appeals court upheld the state law, reversing a lower court.
Oct. 30, 2015 – Tabitha A. Scruggs was convicted for burglary, and the court imposed a $250 DNA surcharge on her at her sentencing. Scruggs filed a motion asking for the $250 DNA surcharge to be vacated, as she felt it was punitive and violated the ex post facto clauses of the U.S. and Wisconsin Constitutions.
Gladys Vogel and her grandson, Steven Baumgard, jointly purchased a new Toyota Corolla for $22,500. But Vogel put down the lion’s share, $20,000. Police later impounded the car. Recently, a state appeals court overturned a forfeiture order against Vogel, concluding that forfeiture against her would be constitutionally excessive.
Mistakenly believing that Richard Houghton was violating the law while driving with a missing front license plate and a dangling air freshener and GPS system slightly obstructing his view, police made a traffic stop and uncovered marijuana in a subsequent vehicle search. Recently, the state supreme court upheld the search.
Hatem Shata, an Egyptian national, argued that his lawyer gave him bad advice when he said a guilty plea would trigger a “strong chance” of deportation instead of telling him deportation was a certainty. Recently, the state supreme court ruled that counsel’s advice was not deficient, rejecting Shata’s request for a plea withdrawal.
May 20, 2015 – For anyone who needs a refresher on how a case gets to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the author provides a primer on petitions for review and bypass, certification, and original jurisdiction in this state’s highest court.
Ralph Armstrong spent almost 30 years in prison before a new trial was ordered in his murder-rape case, which was later dismissed. Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that Armstrong can pursue his civil lawsuit against the prosecutor and crime lab techs, accused of destroying evidence in bad faith.