Among the many useful titles published by the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Criminal Defense Manual may be one of the most helpful you’ll find. Reader surveys by the State Bar suggest the Manual is considered one of their most valued resources by Bar members. Our own library use statistics bear this out, as well, with this title having circulated 328 times and browsed 110 times since the 1996 edition was first published.
A look at the Manual’s table of contents highlights the range of topics covered:
1. Criminal Procedure Outline and Checklists
2. Organizing the File
3. Conducting the Initial Interview
4. Analyzing the Case
5. Bringing Pretrial Motions
6. Negotiating a Plea
7. Preparing for Trial
8. Preparing for Sentencing
9. Postconviction Proceedings
10. Handling Public Defender Cases
Each chapter provides an extensive overview of the law, checklists outlining important procedures, plus commentary and instructions for filing the necessary forms.
The Wisconsin Criminal Defense Manual is updated on an annual basis to keep you current with changes in the law and practice. The highlights listed below are but a sample from the Manual’s “Summary of Developments” prepared by the State Bar.
Some important changes which were part of the original 5th edition revisions in 2011 include:
- a prosecutor’s failure to tie a specific act to each count alleged might be grounds for a motion to dismiss (Sec. 5.27);
- new forms for a motion for testing by the State Crime Laboratory and an order for testing, with commentary and instructions, were added (Sec. 5.39, Forms 5.39A, 5.39B);
- suppression of evidence may be available as a remedy for a statutory violation even if the statute does not specifically provide for this remedy (Sec. 5.44);
- a form for a motion to prohibit consideration of a prior conviction, with commentary and instructions, was added (Sec. 5.48, Form 5.48A);
- lifetime supervision for serious sex offenders is discussed (Sec. 8.12);
- discussion of good-time credit (Sec. 8.31).
A couple of notable legislative changes which were part of the 2012 supplement:
- the Wisconsin Legislature modified the procedures for release to extended supervision based on an extraordinary health condition (Sec. 1.60, 8.14, 9.23);
- the Wisconsin Legislature enacted the “castle doctrine,” entitling a defendant to certain presumptions when the defendant alleges that he or she acted in self-defense in his or her dwelling, motor vehicle, or place of business (Sec. 4.7).
The 2013-2014 supplement update includes these recent developments:
- discussion of the generally accepted practice of how to file and serve written motions and notices (Sec. 5.19);
- in 2013, the Court of Appeals decided under what circumstances officers can search vehicles incident to arrest (Sec. 5.45);
- discussion of what it means to breach a plea bargain (Sec. 6.7);
- in 2011, the Wisconsin Supreme Court explained the circumstances under which the court can modify a sentence based on a new factor (Sec. 9.14);
- a new appendix with court fees and surcharges has been added (App. D).
The print version of the Wisconsin Criminal Defense Manual is on Reserve at: KFW2975 D483. An online version is available via the Law Library Database List under the heading “Books Unbound.” Law students may register for free access to this title and many other useful State Bar titles through the State Bar’s Law Student Associates Program. Law instructors may use their State Bar id/password to gain online access, and members of the public simply need to ask the Reference Librarian for access.
Submitted by Eric Taylor, Evening Reference Librarian on January 22, 2014
This article appears in the categories: Law Library