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Wisconsin Supreme Court

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Voter ID Law Ruled Constitutional

Thu, 07/31/2014

Madison Teachers, Inc. et al. v. Scott Walker: A controversial case that is a continuation of an ongoing attempt by different groups to prove the unconstitutionality of the Wisconsin’s voter ID law. The law, passed in 2011, requires that voters show photo ID when they cast their ballots in elections. The federal judge struck down the law, stating that it is unconstitutional.


: The Supreme Court of Wisconsin voted in a 5-2 decision to uphold the voter ID law, affirming that the law is constitutional and thus overturning the federal judges ruling. However, the law is viewed as being void (or at least legally blocked) because of the federal court rulings that have struck down the requirement for voters to show identification.

Read the full decision here

Just how Public does a “Public Trial” need to be?

Fri, 07/18/2014

State v. Seaton: After Seaton was convicted by a jury trial, he appealed the decision on the basis that his 6th Amendment rights were violated because his trial was not public enough. During his trial, the judge had asked the public to leave the court room in order to make room to accommodate the large jury panels.


The Supreme Court of Wisconsin upheld the ruling of the lower court by dismissing Seaton’s appeal. The Court ruled that the 6th Amendment’s proscribed right to a public trial extends to voir dire and that, during his trial, Seaton could have brought up this complaint and been accommodated. Since they did not, they adequately waived their right to an open, public trial.

Read the full decision here

Contract with Care – You’re Responsible for Your Hires

Thu, 06/12/2014

Brandenburg v. Luethi: Luethi hired an independent herbicide contractor to spray his property. The over-spray resulted in permanent damage to 79 trees on his neighbor Brandenburg’s property. Luethi argued that he could not be liable for the negligence of the independent contractor who did not spray with care.


The Supreme Court ruled that Luethi can be held liable for the actions of the contractor he hired if Luethi did not exhaust all his means in order to make sure, and clarify with his contractor what was expected of him and what would cause harm to his neighbors. The case was remanded for further proceedings to determine if Luethi fulfilled this duty. This decision sets the precedent that an individual is responsible for the actions of the professionals they hire.

Read the full decision here

Factoring in the Character of a Victim

Wed, 01/22/2014

State v. Jackson: Jackson was convicted of 2nd degree homicide and during his defense, he moved to present evidence that his victim had a reputation for being violent and having committed violent acts.


The Supreme Court of Wisconsin ruled that the courts should dismiss the evidence of victim’s character and deny the defendant’s motion to have the character evidence factored into the ruling. Since the victim’s character was not known by the defendant at the time the crime took place, it cannot be used to support a claim of acting in self-defense.

Read the full decision here