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Justice on Wheels brings Supreme Court to Bayfield County

Madison, Wisconsin - September 12, 2016

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will head north to hear oral argument at the Bayfield County Courthouse on Oct. 26 as part of its Justice on Wheels outreach program.

Bayfield is the 27th county outside Dane County where the Supreme Court has held oral argument since the Justice on Wheels program began in 1993. Justice on Wheels gives people outside the Madison area, including students, teachers, and the general public an opportunity to observe the Court at work, without having to travel to the state Capitol.

During oral argument, lawyers present the strong legal reasons for the Court to decide in their client's favor. Justices have an opportunity to respond or ask questions directly of the lawyers during carefully timed presentations.

Local attorneys from the Ashland-Bayfield County Bar Association will take a few minutes prior to each argument to introduce the audience to some of the legal issues being considered, the process used to decide a case, and the role of the courts in interpreting the law. Only cases that present novel legal questions of statewide importance are accepted for review by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court differs from a trial court in that it focuses more on questions of law and lower court decisions, rather than the facts of a particular case.

Seats to watch the Court's hearings are free and open to the public, but space is limited. Reservations are recommended and may be made by calling the Court at (608) 266-1298 or e-mailing Sara Foster, by Oct. 14. The Bayfield County Courthouse is located at 117 E. Fifth St., Washburn.

Argument in each case is expected to last about an hour, with attorney-provided introductions starting at approximately 9:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. A brief description of each case is listed below. Additional information is available on the Wisconsin court system's website at www.wicourts.gov/supreme/sc_oralargs.jsp.

Prior to hearing the cases, at 8:45 a.m., the Court will open its visit with a welcome ceremony attended by local judges, other elected officials and community and tribal leaders, among others.

Since 1993, Justice on Wheels has brought the Wisconsin Supreme Court to the following counties: Brown, Eau Claire, Marathon, Milwaukee, La Crosse, Douglas, Rock, Kenosha, Sauk, Dodge, Oneida, Outagamie, Portage, Racine, Fond du Lac, Walworth, Waushara, St. Croix, Winnebago, Iowa, Washington, Columbia, Green, Sheboygan, Waukesha and Grant.

Below is a brief summary of some of the issues involved in each case to be heard by the Wisconsin Supreme Court at the Bayfield County Courthouse, 117 E. 5th St., Washburn, Wisconsin on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. Educational materials for teachers, students and others who are interested in learning about the judicial branch of government can be found on the Wisconsin court system website at: www.wicourts.gov/courts/resources/index.htm

9:30 a.m.
2015AP158-CR    State v. Mattox
Supreme Court case type: Certification
Court of Appeals: District II
Circuit Court: Waukesha County, Judge Jennifer Dorrow
Long caption: State of Wisconsin, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Rozerick E. Mattox, Defendant-Appellant.

Issue presented: This certification examines issues relating to the confrontation clause of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Wisconsin Supreme Court reviews whether a defendant's constitutional rights were violated when the state introduced at trial a toxicology report of a deceased victim together with a medical examiner’s testimony, based in part on the report, where the author of the report did not testify and was not made available for examination by the defendant. The Supreme Court considers the case in light of U.S. Supreme Court decisions and in light of potentially conflicting decisions of the Court of Appeals.

11 a.m.
2014AP2376    Brenner v. National Casualty Co.
Supreme Court case type: Petition for Review
Court of Appeals: District I
Circuit Court: Milwaukee County, Judge Richard S. Sankovitz, affirmed
Long caption: Russell T. Brenner and Donna Brenner, Plaintiffs-Respondents-Respondents, v. National Casualty Company and Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., Defendants-Appellants-Petitioners, Amerisure Mutual Insurance Company, Garland Brothers Joint Venture and Garland Brothers, Inc., Defendants, Charter Manufacturing Co. and Ace American Insurance Company, Defendants-Respondents.

Issue presented: This case, arising from a dispute over liability for a worksite accident, examines the rule of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware), and an exception to that rule as expressed in Restatement (Second) of Torts §§ 352 and 353.

2 p.m.
2015AP202-CR    State v. Denny
Supreme Court case type: Petition for Review
Court of Appeals: District II
Circuit Court: Ozaukee County, Judge Joseph W. Violand, reversed
Long caption: State of Wisconsin, Plaintiff-Respondent-Petitioner, v. Jeffrey C. Denny, Defendant-Appellant-respondent.

Issues presented:

  • Did the Court of Appeals misapply State v. Moran, 2005 WI 115, 284 Wis. 2d 24, 700 N.W.2d 884, when it held that a defendant seeking post-conviction DNA testing of “relevant” evidence under Wis. Stat. § 974.07(2) need not demonstrate that the physical evidence “contains biological material or on which there is biological material” as provided under subparagraph § 974.07(6)(a)2.?
  • In reviewing a motion for DNA testing at state expense under Wis. Stat. § 974.07(7)(a), must a circuit court always assume that a DNA test result will be exculpatory?
  • In assessing whether it is “reasonably probable” that a defendant would not have been convicted if exculpatory DNA results had been available, should a circuit court apply a newly discovered evidence standard?
  • Did the circuit court erroneously exercise its discretion under Wis. Stat. § 974.07(7)(a) when it found that the jury would have convicted Jeffrey C. Denny even if exculpatory DNA results were present?

Tom Sheehan
Court Information Officer
(608) 261-6640

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