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  • WisBar News
    December 18, 2018

    Supreme Court Adds Four Cases to the Docket, All Criminal Cases

    WI Supreme Court

    Dec. 18, 2018 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court added four new cases to its docket, all criminal-related cases. One involves jury instructions, another concerns involuntary medication. The two others relate to plea withdrawals and the right to counsel.

    State v. Garcia Jr.

    Nelson Garcia, Jr. sought a new trial after he was convicted of bank robbery, arguing that he had a right to counsel during a line-up and the line-up was unduly suggestive. Two bank tellers had identified Garcia in the line-up, and he was charged.

    Before the line-up, a court commissioner had made a finding of probable cause for arrest and set bail at $50,000. When the commissioner ruled, Garcia argued his Sixth Amendment right to counsel attached, but he was not afforded counsel for the line-up.

    Thus, Garcia argued that the evidence from the line-up, the positive IDs, should have been suppressed. But the appeals court found no Sixth Amendment violation.

    One of the questions the supreme court is asked to decide is whether the Sixth Amendment right to counsel attaches upon a finding of probable cause and the setting of bail. The court may also decide whether the line-up was unduly suggestive and whether a defendant can redeem a right to self-representation after it is waived.

    State v. Cooper

    Tyrus Cooper appealed after he entered a guilty plea to one count of armed robbery. He had moved to withdraw his guilty plea before sentencing, but his motion was denied.

    Cooper argued, in part, that his lawyer committed professional misconduct that prevented him from meaningfully participating in his own defense. Cooper’s lawyer pleaded no contest to misconduct, including misconduct related to Cooper’s case.

    But the appeals court rejected all of Cooper’s arguments for a plea withdrawal. One of the issues for the supreme court’s consideration is whether the circuit court was bound by findings and conclusions in the disciplinary proceeding against Cooper’s lawyer in making a determination about whether Cooper was allowed to withdraw the plea.

    State v. Trammell

    In this case, the supreme court will review whether Wis. Stat. section 805.13(3), relating to jury instructions and verdict conferences, bars defendants from challenging jury instructions not raised during the instruction conference.

    The defendant, Emmanuel Trammell, was convicted of armed robbery and operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent. Trammell argued that the jury instructions misstated the law, confused the jury, and reduced the state’s burden of proof. The appeals court rejected Trammell’s claims and affirmed the judgment of conviction.

    State v. Fitzgerald

    This case bypassed the appeals court for supreme court review to determine whether involuntary medication provisions in Wis. Stat. section 971.14, relating to competency proceedings, are unconstitutional and whether a judge violated the defendant’s due process rights when issuing an order of commitment and involuntary treatment.

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