Fantasy League Update

This week’s flurry of decisions brought points to four of the league’s five teams.  The Gavels of the State Public Defender’s Office tightened their grip on first place with a ten-point performance (briefs and oral arguments in both Winnebago County v. J.M. and State v. Hager), while the Writs moved past the idle Affirmed into second place on the strength of a five-point performance by Pines Bach (brief and oral argument in Deutsche Bank v. Wuensch).  Not only did the Affirmed fall into third place, they had to share this position with the Waivers, who picked up five points from a brief and oral argument by Henak Law Office in State v. McAlister.  Even the Citations joined the action, though the one point that they gained from an amicus brief in Winnebago County v. J.M., furnished by Godfrey & Kahn, was not enough to threaten the other competitors.

Click here for the current standings.

How Justices Vote in Juvenile Defendant Cases

This post examines the supreme court’s handling of juvenile cases over the 25 years from September 1, 1992, through August 31, 2017.  By itself, the phrase “juvenile cases” could refer to a variety of actions, including termination-of-parental-rights proceedings and cases in which juveniles were victims, but we will concentrate on cases pertaining to the trial or punishment of juveniles.[1]  These guidelines yield a total of 22 cases, which I have divided into categories that address the following questions: (1) adult court or juvenile court, (2) constitutional violations, (3) sentence credit, and (4) miscellaneous issues.[Continue Reading…]

Fantasy League Update

The Gavels of the State Public Defender’s Office gained 10 points from this week’s decisions (for briefs and oral arguments in State v. Bell and State v. Grandberry), thereby extending their lead over the second-place Affirmed

Click here for current standings.

Fantasy League Update

The filing of a decision in Shugarts v. Mohr brought five points to the Affirmed (from a brief and oral argument by Kasdorf, Lewis & Swietlik)—nudging them back into second place, one point ahead of the Writs.  Meanwhile, the Citations picked up two points (from an amicus brief and oral argument by Cannon & Dunphy), though this was not enough to lift them out of the cellar.

Click here for the current standings.

Crowd-Sourcing Invitation

This is a monthly reminder to readers to “nominate” any Wisconsin Supreme Court cases from the 2017-18 term that contain surprising aspects.  I will maintain a collection of cases submitted and post them at the end of the summer.  “Surprising aspects” could include (1) decisions featuring odd combinations of justices dissenting or in the majority; (2) arguments in a majority or separate opinion that one might not expect from the author in question; (3) an unusual source in a footnote; (4) a popular-culture reference out of the blue; (5) a humorous passage; (6) a case in which a husband and wife delivered oral arguments on opposing sides; (7) something else unusual about the law firms involved—in short, pretty much anything unexpected.

Please email me your nominations (alan.ball@marquette.edu), as many as you wish, confident in the assurance that I will not reveal the names of nominators or their firms when I display our harvest at the end of the summer.  Please also include a brief explanation (just a sentence or two would likely suffice) indicating the case’s curious feature.  Three nominations are already in hand, and I hope that the collection will continue to grow.

Fantasy League Update

The court did not file any decisions this past week—hence, no change in the standings.

Fantasy League Update

The lone decision filed by the court this past week did not result in any points for the league’s teams—hence, no change in the standings.

The Butler-Gableman Divide: Wisconsin Supreme Court Elections Matter

With the end of Justice Michael Gableman’s term approaching, and the election of his successor just two weeks away, SCOWstats takes this opportunity to explore some of the consequences of his victory over Justice Louis Butler in 2008.  Although discussion of the bitter and controversial campaign faded eventually, the significance of the election did not, for it transformed the supreme court’s voting much more than did the replacement of Justice Wilcox by Justice Ziegler the previous year.  We’ll utilize data for the period 2004-05 through 2014-15—when the court’s membership remained unchanged other than the Butler/Gableman and the Wilcox/Ziegler substitutions—and observe some of the effects that an election can have.[Continue Reading…]

Fantasy League Update

The court did not file any decisions this past week—hence, no change in the standings.

A Sixth Amendment Update for 2015-16 and 2016-17

Last fall’s post on the Fourth Amendment found that (1) these cases have accounted for a growing portion of the court’s output in recent years, and (2) the court’s two newest members (Justices R.G. Bradley and Kelly—especially Justice Kelly) have been more receptive to Fourth Amendment arguments than were the two justices (Crooks and Prosser) whom they replaced.  The second point doubtless goes some way toward explaining why the court has accepted Fourth Amendment arguments in criminal cases more readily during the last two terms than it did from 2008-09 through 2014-15 (although it remains more hostile to such defenses than it was before Justice Gableman joined the bench in 2008-09).

Could something of the sort have happened as well with Sixth Amendment decisions, which reach the court as often as their Fourth Amendment cousins?  These cases focus on a defendant’s right to a fair trial—more specifically, the right (1) to have a prompt and public trial, with an impartial jury, (2) to know the nature of the charges and the identity of one’s accuser, (3) to confront adverse witnesses, (4) to testify and present witnesses on one’s behalf, and (5) to have a competent lawyer.  Today we’ll turn the spotlight on the Sixth Amendment and see if the arrival of Justices R.G. Bradley and Kelly has coincided with developments similar to those summarized above for Fourth Amendment decisions.[1][Continue Reading…]