Wisconsin Supreme Court Accepts Two More Cases, Including Question of Probable Cause to Arrest for OWI

Posted on Categories Wisconsin Civil Litigation, Wisconsin Criminal Law & Process, Wisconsin Law & Legal System, Wisconsin Supreme Court

Yesterday the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted to accept two more cases this term, Zellner v. Herrick, no. 2007AP2584, and State v. Lange, 2008AP882-CR.

At issue in Zellner v. Herrick is whether the transcript of Robert Zellner’s closed arbitration proceeding is a “public record” under Wisconsin’s public records law, and if so, whether personal information must be redacted before release of that record.  Zellner is the Cedarburg School District teacher who lost his job for allegedly viewing pornography on a school computer.  The issue of whether the transcript of Zellner’s arbitration proceeding is a public record was certified to the court from the court of appeals.  At the same time as it accepted the certification, the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to hear Zellner’s appeal of the court of appeals decision that affirmed the trial court’s conclusion that an arbitration panel wrongly reinstated Zellner to his position.

Does a police officer have probable cause to suspect a driver is operating a vehicle while intoxicated, when the officer observes a car driving more than 84 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone, on the wrong side of the road, shortly after bars have closed, and then hitting a utility pole and flipping over, leaving the driver unconscious? That is the question in State v. Lange, where the State appeals from the Court of Appeals decision that the police lacked probable cause.

2 thoughts on “Wisconsin Supreme Court Accepts Two More Cases, Including Question of Probable Cause to Arrest for OWI”

  1. Between Lange and the other OWI-probable cause case up for review at WISC right now, maybe it’s time to rethink single-judge appellate review of these kind of cases.

  2. What bothers me most about the Court of Appeals opinion in Lange is that Judge Dykman recommends that the opinion not be published in the official reports. The fact pattern presented in Lange seems like it would occur frequently enough to justify publication and the establishment of a clear rule for use at the Court of Appeals to determine probable cause for OWI when the driver is unconscious at the scene.

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