Vol. 77, No. 2, February
Task force forms to avert miscarriages of
Steve Avery spent 17-plus years behind bars for a sexual assault that
he did not commit. With the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project,
codirected by State Bar Criminal Law Section board member Keith Findley,
Avery was finally cleared this year when DNA evidence confirmed another
man committed the crime. What went wrong? How can the criminal justice
system be reformed to avert such miscarriages of justice? That will be
the focus of a newly formed special task force, named for Avery whose
wrongful conviction riveted public attention.
Spearheaded by Rep. Mark Gundrum (R-New Berlin), an attorney and the
chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, the Avery Task Force has a
diverse membership, including judges, criminal defense attorneys,
prosecutors, law enforcement officials from across the state, and
legislators with criminal justice backgrounds. The task force will
review Wisconsin practices and procedures to see what improvements can
be made in the administration of justice.
The task force first met on Dec. 22 and heard testimony from Avery
and his attorneys who pointed to perceived flaws in the way the case was
handled by law enforcement and the district attorney's office. The
speakers cited problems with lineup procedures, lack of information
sharing by law enforcement agencies, and failure to consider as a viable
suspect the man who years later was linked by DNA evidence to the crime.
Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager reviewed the Avery case and
determined that "there is no basis to bring criminal charges or assert
ethics violations against anyone involved in the investigation and
prosecution of the case."
The task force likely will meet again in February and hear from
experts on the problems with eyewitness identification of suspects.
Recommendations for reforming the state's criminal justice system may be
made as early as December 2004.
The task force follows on the heels of a proposal by the State Bar's
Criminal Law Section to create a Justice Commission to study Wisconsin's
criminal justice system, with the goal of enhancing its reliability,
effectiveness, and fairness. Under the proposal, the commission would
draw upon the expertise of various stakeholders and examine wrongful
convictions both in Wisconsin and in other jurisdictions to identify
problems and propose solutions.
Revisor of Statutes Bureau adds old Wisconsin
Acts to Web site
The complete Laws of Wisconsin from 1969 to present and Wisconsin
Statutes from 1989 to present are available at the Revisor of Statutes
Bureau Web site.
"We recently began scanning the 1969 to 1987 statutes and are posting
them to our Web site as they become available," says Deputy Revisor of
Statutes Bruce Hoesly. "It is the intent of the Revisor's Bureau that
editions of the Laws and Statutes, as far back as 1848, will be placed
on the Web, as well as all prior versions of the Wisconsin
Administrative Code, plus the rule orders that create or revise the
codes, currently on file in our office. Documents will be added as we
are able to complete the scanning. There is no definite schedule in
Most documents are produced in either Folio Site Director or Adobe
Acrobat (PDF) formats, or both. Folio Site Director allows users to
access particular statutes or administrative code sections or parts,
perform word searches, or copy text to another file. The PDF format is
best for viewing or printing an entire statute or code chapter, but does
not allow searching in more than one chapter at a time.
In the Folio version of the statutes, all references to old Acts in
the history notes, which start with the 1971 laws, are linked directly
to the appropriate Acts. In the Folio version of the Administrative
Code, history notes contain links to rule orders beginning in 2001 and
links are being added to the Wisconsin Administrative Register, which
beginning in 2001 contain links to the code that has been replaced.
The Revisor of Statutes Bureau edits and publishes the Wisconsin
Statutes and Annotations, prepares revision and corrections bills, edits
and publishes the Wisconsin Administrative Code and Register, and
performs related law publishing and advisory functions.
For more information visit www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb or contact
Hoesly at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (608) 266-7590.