Supreme Court accepts two new cases

Madison, Wisconsin - January 20, 2009

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has voted to accept two new cases. The Court also acted to deny review in a number of cases. The case numbers, issues, and counties of origin are listed below. Court of Appeals’ opinions/certification memos available online for the newly accepted cases are hyperlinked.

2007AP2584  Zellner v. Herrick
This certification from the District II Court of Appeals involves another appeal arising from the Cedarburg School District’s discharge of teacher Robert Zellner for allegedly viewing pornography on a district-provided computer. In particular, this certification arises out of a request by a private citizen to obtain a transcript of a closed arbitration proceeding connected with Zellner's grievance under the applicable collective bargaining agreement following the termination of his employment.

The Court of Appeals certified the following questions: Is a transcript of a closed arbitration proceeding a public record under Wisconsin’s “public records” law? If the transcript is a public record, must all personal and medical information be redacted before release?

In a previous appeal, Zellner v. Cedarburg School District, 2007 WI 53, 300 Wis. 2d 290, 731 N.W.2d 240, the Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Zellner’s request for an injunction to prohibit the school district from releasing a memorandum and a compact disc containing adult images and internet searches that Zellner allegedly viewed and conducted.

The Supreme Court also has denied Zellner’s request to review a Court of Appeals’ decision affirming the circuit court’s conclusion that “an arbitration panel exceeded its authority when it ordered Zellner to be reinstated in contradiction of public policy that immoral behavior in our public schools is grounds for immediate termination.” See Cedarburg Education Ass’n v. Cedarburg Board of Education, No. 2007AP852. 

2008AP882-CR  State v. Lange
In this case, the state has asked the Supreme Court to review how the standards for determining probable cause should apply to an arrest for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Some background: Maple Bluff Police arrested Mitchell A. Lange for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, second offense, after a car crashed into a utility pole around 2:52 a.m. on Jan. 21, 2007. A police officer, who just got off work, and another officer who was on duty, each reported seeing a white car driving on the wrong side of the road. The on-duty officer visually estimated the car was travelling 15 miles per hour over the speed limit and followed the vehicle with activated overhead lights. At one point, the officer increased her speed to eighty-four miles per hour, but said she was unable to close the distance between herself and the white car. She then saw a cloud of gray smoke up ahead, and when she reached it, she saw a downed utility pole held off the ground by its wires, the white car flipped onto its roof, and Lange lying unconscious on the ground.

Lange moved to suppress the evidence obtained when his blood was drawn following his arrest, arguing police did not have probable cause to arrest him. The trial court denied Lange’s motion. The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that the facts of this case do not establish probable cause to arrest Lange for OWI, and remanding with directions to grant Lange’s motion to suppress.

The state asks the Supreme Court to review whether, as a matter of law, some affirmative proof of the use of intoxicants, such as odor, admission to drinking or a found liquor bottle must be shown for probable cause.

Specifically, the state asks the Supreme Court to review the following issues:
Was there probable cause to arrest for OWI where the defendant was observed by police driving on the wrong side of a four-lane road at speeds over 80 m.p.h. in a 30 m.p.h. zone shortly after “bar time,” and crashed into a utility pole causing his car to flip onto its roof and rendering him unconscious and unable to perform field sobriety tests?
To establish probable cause to arrest for OWI, must the state prove in every case specific “indicia” of intoxicant usage such as odors of intoxicants, the driver’s admission to using intoxicants or the presence of intoxicant containers?  Or, can probable cause be established without such indicia when the totality of the circumstances still support a reasonable inference that the driver was impaired by intoxicants?

Review denied: The Supreme Court denied review in the following cases. Supreme Court review is a matter of judicial discretion, not of right, and will be granted only when special and important reasons are presented. As the state’s law-developing court, the Supreme Court exercises its discretion to consider for review only those cases that fit certain criteria, but these criteria neither control nor fully measure the Court’s discretion (see Wis. Stat. (rule) § 809.62). Except where indicated, these cases came to the Supreme Court via petition for review by the party who lost in the lower court.

2006AP2704  United Coop. v. Frontier
Justice N. Patrick Crooks dissents.

2007AP1989-CR State v. Jones

2007AP2040  Kaufman v. Raemisch

2008AP2067-W Limehouse v. Cir. Ct. for Dane Co.

Fond du Lac
2007AP2742  State v. Thiel
Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson concurs.

2008AP513/1049-CRNM State v. Lale
Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson did not participate.

2007AP1567/68-CR State v. Frazier

2007AP2812-CR State v. Zarm

2007AP2802-CR State v. Copeland

2008AP874  State v. Ruleau

2007AP928-CR State v. Stokes

2007AP1039  State v. Gray

2007AP1311-CR State v. Scott

2007AP1312-CRNM State v. Bush

2007AP1465  Roberts v. Thurmer

2007AP1579-CR State v. Dodds

2007AP1601-CR State v. Barber

2007AP1660  State v. Sebuliba

2007AP2099-CR State v. Mosley

2007AP2124  State v. Claudio

2007AP2334-CR State v. Washington

2007AP2603  Carini v. Acuity
Justice Patience Drake Roggensack dissents.

2007AP2626  State v. Santiago

2007AP2633-CR State v. Adams

2007AP2725-CR State v. Jackson

2007AP2795  State v. Bowers

2008AP157-CRNM State v. Collins

2008AP264  State v. Sprewell

2008AP1217  Walker v. DWD

2007AP852  Cedarburg Education v. Cedarburg Bd.
Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley dissent.

2007AP1850-CR State v. Rogers

2004AP548-W Coleman v. McCaughtry

2007AP2492  Enbridge Energy v. Johnson

2007AP356-CR State v. Schultz

2007AP2349  Krebs v. Village of Slinger

2007AP2602/2008AP819 State v. Ernest J.P.

2008AP660/61 Wood Co. DHS v. Emery K.M.


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