Full(er) Disclosure: Wisconsin Invigorates the Brady Rule

Rugby player hiding ball under his shirtA Warren Court cornerstone has been “remastered and upgraded,” as they say, by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a case that has riled the waters nationally. In Brady v. Maryland (1963), the Warren Court held that prosecutors must disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense. No hiding the ball. Over fifty years of case law, however, has occluded the rule with sundry conditions and qualifications that obscure its modest disclosure provision. More time is spent describing the ball than looking for it.

In State v. Wayerski (2019 WI 11), the Wisconsin Supreme Court scraped off Brady’s barnacles, overruled fifty years of precedent, and held that prosecutors must provide the defense with any information that is exculpatory or impeaching  — even if the defense could have found it as easily as the prosecutor. (more…)

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Daubert Has “Teeth” (and a Pulse)

The first published case on Wisconsin’s (relatively) new rule on expert opinion testimony has emerged at long last. In 2011 the legislature replaced Wisconsin’s decade’s-old approach with the federal “Daubert rule,” a rule rejected by state appellate courts on several occasions. The old rule left disagreements among experts mostly to the trier of fact, provided the witnesses had suitable specialized knowledge that could assist in fact finding. The current Daubert rule unctuously anoints trial judges as “gatekeepers” responsible for ensuring that only “reliable” expert opinions are put before juries. Many critics, me included, thought the old rule served the same purpose quite well. In State v. Giese, 2014 WI App 92, the court of appeals wisely signals that the new rule is mostly compatible with the older approach.  (more…)

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Paul Dacier (L ’83) Assumes Presidency of the Boston Bar

Paul Dacier
Paul Dacier (Boston Globe)

An important part of professionalism is, well, participating in the profession. The Law School has a rich record of alumni and faculty involvement in most walks of the profession, including leadership positions in local and state bar associations. Many alumni have also been recognized for their outstanding work as lawyers.

Paul Dacier (Arts ’80; L ’83) is part of this distinguished cohort. In 2013 Paul has garnered well-deserved recognition for his legal work on behalf of EMC Corp., while also serving as the President of the Boston Bar Association (BBA) for 2013-14. Indeed, the Boston Globe reports that Paul is the first general counsel to assume the BBA’s presidency in its over 250 year history.

Paul is general counsel for EMC, a $20 billion, publicly traded corporation with over 60,000 employees and a legal department of over 100 lawyers. EMC is one of the nation’s leading corporations specializing in information storage (“the cloud”) and related technology. Under Paul’s direction, the legal department has successfully defended EMC’s position in high-visibility patent litigation and developed innovative approaches to mergers and acquisitions. The National Law Journal recently named EMC’s legal department as the Boston Legal Department of the year (August 2013).


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Crime, Art, Sports, and Judge De Sanctis: An Update

De SanctisLast September, the Law School hosted a lecture by the Hon. Fausto Martin De Sanctis, a distinguished federal judge from Brazil. A former fellow at the Federal Judicial Center in Washington D.C. (2012), Judge De Sanctis has spearheaded Brazil’s efforts to crackdown on international and domestic money laundering, among other crimes. In his lecture, Judge De Sanctis described how museum-quality art served as a medium for laundering cash that left only a scant trail for investigators to follow. It is, he said, an international problem that cries for international solutions.

Judge De Sanctis has now published a book on this intricate topic, Money Laundering Through Art: A Criminal Justice Perspective (Springer, 2013).Central to Judge De Sanctis’s argument is the need to lift the secrecy that shrouds many art transactions. While art dealers proclaim the need for confidentiality and the cultivation of a mystique, law enforcement contends that this same secrecy facilitates crime and fraud. The complexities of these crimes, including references to Judge De Sanctis and his (then forthcoming) book, were recently canvassed by the New York Times in a May 2013 story. (See link)


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Legal Education’s Loss and the Problem with CLE

Late last week David Hass, Wisconsin’s Director of Judicial Education, died unexpectedly. For 16 years Dave coordinated an innovative variety of excellent programs that updated judges on important developments while deepening their understanding of core legal principles. Dave was a warm, gracious man who will be missed.

Dave’s passing is an opportunity to reflect briefly on the sharp contrast between continuing education for judges and lawyers. My modest observations are informed by nearly thirty years of teaching to both groups and by my current perspective as chair of the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners, which regulates continuing lawyer education (CLE).


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