Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin Supreme Court leaves ballot boxes in place for February primary.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Hayat Pharmacy to pay $2 million to settle federal fraud lawsuit
The Guardian: Charles Breyer discusses his brother's retirement.
Charles Breyer told the Post his brother “was aware of this campaign. I think what impressed him was not the campaign but the logic of the campaign.
“And he thought he should take into account the fact that this was an opportunity for a Democratic president – and he was appointed by a Democratic president [Bill Clinton] – to fill his position with someone who is like-minded. He did not want to die on the bench.”
Vox: With Barrett on the bench, Supreme Court moving fast on religion cases.
Grid: Private-prison business still booming despite executive order.
The previously confidential document was submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month. In it, GEO Group was quite clear about its overarching strategy: The company plans to use those workarounds, immigration detention contracts and increased reliance on its electronic monitoring business (known as BI Incorporated) to maintain its federal business interests despite Biden’s order.
The New York Times: North Carolina redistricting case involves challenges to which state supreme court justices can hear it.
Marijuana Moment: Voter petitions force Ohio legislature to consider marijuana legalization.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin Supreme Court OKs GOP attorneys for redistricting.
The Hill: NY Attorney General seeks dismissal of Trump's lawsuit trying to block probe.
"Thus far in our investigation, we have uncovered significant evidence that suggests Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit," the attorney general's office wrote.
Border Report: Legislators seek investigation into rogue border patrol units.
“We know they don’t have any legal authority to operate, they are not recognized by the federal law and have been operating in the shadows for 30 years. Congress itself is not aware of them,” she (Andrea Guerrero, executive director of Alliance San Diego) said. “We hope these investigations yield full understanding of extent of scale of cover up units. … We believe these Border Patrol units should be eliminated once and for all.”
WMTV: Voting machine company won't comply with Wisconsin subpoena.
Slate: Racism in criticism of Biden's plan to nominate a Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Milwaukee police sought no-knocks in two-thirds of home drug searches, Marquette investigation shows
First of three stories.
Recent changes affecting the Milwaukee Police Department could severely limit the use of no-knock searches in the city – but won’t completely end the practice.
That’s partly because state, federal and suburban cops conduct a lot of searches in Milwaukee on their own authority. And Milwaukee cops, in some instances, can still ask for no-knock warrants.
Another factor is just how normalized no-knocks became in the War on Drugs, with police saying the element of surprise protects officers and evidence.
As recently as 2019, Milwaukee police investigating drug dealing sought permission to use no-knocks in 77% of their searches, according to an investigation by Marquette University journalists.
And Milwaukee County court commissioners and judges almost always granted those requests (92% approval rate), the research found.
The year 2019 was chosen for this project because it was the most recent year unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic, which hampered law enforcement and court operations.
No-knock applications presented by police sometimes pointed to strong evidence about suspects’ ties to firearms, violent histories, use of video surveillance, and use of guard dogs. In other cases, the evidence was more abstract, referring to the tendency of most drug suspects, but saying little or nothing about the specific suspect at issue.
The Marquette review also found that:
Even before the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission acted last November to limit them, the number of no-knock requests had been declining for two years in Milwaukee. That in part is likely to be attributable to the pandemic, which slowed police activity of all sorts. And out in the field, the actual use of no-knocks in real life – as opposed to just having permission to use one –had fallen close to zero in 2021, according to the Milwaukee Police Department.
The reality, however, is that the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission’s action in November 2021 didn’t completely ban no-knocks, even though the commission said it did.
City police officers working with multi-agency task forces, for example, can still help carry them out if they can convince top Police Department brass that announcing police presence before pushing inside is too dangerous or would harm evidence-gathering. It’s common for MPD officers and other local police to work on these task forces or special units.
And suburban police investigating a drug crime that spills over into Milwaukee face no prohibition on requesting a no-knock for a Milwaukee residence unless their own communities have banned them.
A suburban request came in Dec. 21 – after approval of the no-knock limits – when a police officer from Cudahy working with an FBI task force asked for and got judicial approval for a no-knock near W. Greenfield Ave. and S. 23rd St. in Milwaukee. The officer had evidence the alleged dealers would be armed. The search turned up heroin, cocaine, cash – and a gun, court records show.
But otherwise in December the new no-knock policy made a difference: no MPD officer requested a no-knock.
Milwaukee County Court Commissioner Barry Phillips approved the no-knock in that Cudahy/ FBI task force case, but he stood out in 2019 in a different way.
Phillips in 2019 showed a willingness to turn down police no-knock requests, a rarity among the 33 judges or court commissioners asked to approve them that year, the Marquette review found. He declined about 20% while handling considerably more search warrant requests than most others. By contrast, in cases handled by other judges or commissioners, only 2% of requests were declined – just three cases in total.
A national anti-no-knock movement flared in early 2020 after Louisville police killed Breonna Taylor during a botched drug raid. In Milwaukee, the debate over no-knocks also was influenced by the killing of Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Rittner in 2019. He was shot while he and other officers were trying to enter a drug suspect’s home with a battering ram while carrying out a no-knock search.
Some in law enforcement see problems with overuse of no-knocks and the dangers the element of surprise carries.
One suburban police chief, South Milwaukee’s William Jessup, sees them fading away. He gives them extra scrutiny in South Milwaukee. That community, along with West Allis and Oak Creek, are the suburbs most involved in doing drug search warrants, based on the review of court records.
“A no-knock doesn’t necessarily make the officer safer,” Jessup said. “There’s probably some benefit in reducing the amount of drugs that are flushed or hidden, but to me that’s negligible.”
In low-level drug cases Jessup’s officers often do “knock and talks” instead of home searches when dealing is suspected. That can yield admissions of guilt, and an end to dealing, in exchange for avoiding imprisonment, he said.
David Budde, a former Milwaukee Metropolitan Drug Unit member and District Attorney chief investigator, helped conduct many no-knock drug raids.
“They’re dangerous – not just to the people inside, but they’re dangerous to us,” Budde said.
Still, both men agreed with a position advanced by top Milwaukee police officials during Fire and Police Commission debate: no-knocks should be an option if risk of injury to police is too high. (Police found firearms or ammunition or both in 45% of drug search warrants in 2019 in the county, according to the Marquette review of 312 cases for which full data was available).
Another former law enforcement official, former Milwaukee County prosecutor Hanna Kolberg, said no-knocks “should be used judiciously and carefully, but there are times where if you take the right tool away, things can happen and maybe worse or better.”
In Madison, majority Republicans in the state Legislature are considering reversing Milwaukee’s ban on no-knocks.
Slate: Irony in the timing of Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement.
And while Breyer was possibly a hopeless romantic—right to the bitter end—about the need for civics, cooperation, mutual respect, and dignity on the bench, he has proved to be the most realistic about assessing the moment in which we now find ourselves: a judiciary committee that may deadlock 11–11 and be saved by parliamentary maneuvers; two Democratic senators who are not all that interested in preserving voting rights; and the prospect that a July retirement might not have afforded the president enough runway to get someone confirmed by November.
Newsweek: Brett Kavanaugh hearings may impact nominee to replace Stephen Breyer.
"I expect Republicans and conservative media to treat Stephen Breyer's replacement with the same level of respect that Democrats and liberal media treated Brett Kavanaugh," said Foundation for Liberty & American Greatness President Nick Adams on Twitter. "It's only fair."
Associated Press: Here are three possible Biden nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Associated Press: Wisconsin Legislature passes tougher penalties for protesters.
Courthouse News Service: No free-speech violation in denying pandemic funding to strip clubs, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals says.
“The problem with plaintiffs’ First Amendment claim and the preliminary injunction here is that Congress is not trying to regulate or suppress plaintiffs’ adult entertainment. It has simply chosen not to subsidize it. Such selective, categorical exclusions from a government subsidy do not offend the First Amendment,” (U.S. Circuit Judge David) Hamilton said.
Marijuana Moment: Wisconsin Republicans announce bill to legalize limited use of medical marijuana.
More than a dozen Republican Wisconsin lawmakers announced on Wednesday that they are filing a bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state.
Sen. Mary Felzkowski (R) and Rep. Patrick Snyder (R) are leading the bicameral effort, though advocates are already skeptical considering how the GOP-legislature has historically resisted and blocked cannabis reform.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin Assembly approves overhauling Milwaukee Fire & Police Commission and barring bans on no-knock warrants.
On a voice vote, the Assembly approved Senate Bill 117, which would change how police and fire commissions in Milwaukee and Madison operate. Among other changes, police and firefighters unions would get a say in who sits on those commissions. . . .
As debate stretched into the evening, the Assembly on a 58-34 vote approved Assembly Bill 834, which would prohibit local governments from banning no-knock search warrants. The bill, which next goes to the Senate, would also require Milwaukee to use some of its federal pandemic relief funds on policing.
Milwaukee has banned no-knock warrants and Evers has called for banning them statewide. His stance appears to guarantee he will veto the legislation if it gets to him.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Vos' attorney did not monitor Gableman's compliance on open records.
Associated Press: Legislature makes Wisconsin the 16th state to call for federal constitutional convention.
“We’re setting in motion a process that we cannot control and we do not know the end of,” argued Republican Sen. Roger Roth, of Appleton, the only lawmaker to speak Tuesday. “Using this vehicle to address these issues is setting in motion the possibility to unravel and destroy the Constitution as we know it.”
The Guardian: Oil companies say Maryland consumer protection litigation will impact oil supply.
At a closely watched appeals court hearing to decide whether a lawsuit by the city of Baltimore should be heard in state or federal court, an attorney for BP, Exxon, Shell and other energy firms painted the case as a threat to America’s energy independence.
Kannon Shanmugam, representing the industry, told the court that if the city were to succeed in state court, and win billions of dollars in compensation, that could kill offshore drilling. . . .
Karen Sokol, a law professor at Loyola University who specialises in climate litigation, called the claim one of a number of “scare tactics” deployed by the oil industry as it fights to move the Baltimore case and other cases out of state jurisdictions, where consumer protection and other laws favour the plaintiffs, and into federal courts, where the fossil fuel companies believe they have the advantage.
By Gretchen Schuldt
Darrell Brooks allegedly plowed into a crowd at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, killing six. He was out on $1,000 bail at the time, an amount set too low because of mistakes made by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office and court officials.
That incident has prompted the introduction of a proposed amendment to the state constitution that toughens bail requirements and that likely would result in the pretrial incarceration of many, many more people. And since pretrial incarceration is mostly a local cost, the cost of keeping those people locked up would fall mainly on county taxpayers, not the state.
The amendment is vague, leaving the details up to legislative action after the amendment is ratified.
The state constitution now says "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor shall excessive fines be imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."
The proposed amendment would add the following: "In fixing an amount of bail, the court may take into consideration the seriousness of the offense charged, the previous criminal record of the accused, the probability that the accused will appear in court, and the need to protect members of the community from serious harm, as defined by the legislature by law, or prevent the intimidation of witnesses." (Emphasis added.)
The phrase "serious harm" is deliberately undefined, although the measure makes clear that it goes beyond "bodily harm," a term included in the existing constitution: "All persons, before conviction, shall be eligible for release under reasonable conditions designed to assure their appearance in court, protect members of the community from serious bodily harm or prevent the intimidation of witnesses." (Emphasis added.)
The proposed amendment would simply strike the word "bodily" and the Legislative Reference Bureau makes clear that the word "harm" would apply to "not just serious bodily harm."
The proposed amendment also would do away with the existing requirement that monetary bail be set only when it is required to help ensure that a defendant shows up in court. Instead, the proposal would allow a court to demand cash bail in any criminal case, no matter how minor.
The constitution now reads "Monetary conditions of release may be imposed at or after the initial appearance only upon a finding that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the conditions are necessary to assure appearance in court."
The proposed amendment would change that to "Monetary conditions of release may be imposed at or after the initial appearance.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Appeals court reinstates ballot boxes for Feb. 15 primary.
The New Republic: The case for impeaching Clarence Thomas over his failure to recuse.
So for 20 years, Ginni Thomas has been operating in the white-hot center of far-right activist circles, involved in everything from Obamacare to abortion rights to same-sex marriage to you name it—all issues that have come before her husband. A more honorable man would recuse himself from all such cases or indeed quietly ask his spouse to find another, less incendiary line of work that has no impact on the appearance of her husband’s ethical standards.
The New Republic: Supreme Court to hear affirmative action case.
The Supreme Court will hear a major legal challenge to affirmative action in higher education, the justices announced on Monday, foreshadowing the near-certain doom of those policies. The move adds yet another major social and political issue to the court’s docket as it already weighs sweeping decisions on abortion and gun rights. Moreover, it underscores how eager the court’s six-justice conservative majority is to rewrite American constitutional law in its own image, now that it is unencumbered by moderates and liberals.
Salon: Liz Cheney says Newt Gingrich comments show the rule of law unraveling.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the vice-chair of the Jan. 6 committee, called out Gingrich's remarks on Twitter.
"A former Speaker of the House is threatening jail time for members of Congress who are investigating the violent January 6 attack on our Capitol and our Constitution," she wrote. "This is what it looks like when the rule of law unravels."
Washington State Attorney General: Washington State suing Google over secret location tracking.
Google collects data on the location of its users even after consumers turn off “Location History” in their account settings. This deception is profitable for Google. Google’s ability to target ads to users based on information about their locations is critical to the success of its billion-dollar advertising business.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Convicted Pakistani man seeks new trial due to detective's alleged racial bias.
USA Today: Research shows incarceration accelerates aging process.
"Thank God evolution gave us the tendency to be aroused and to flee," University of Iowa professor Mark Berg said. "We still possess that, and we use it occasionally. But if it happens too much, it's very, very unhealthy.
"That's what we think is happening in prison."
Spending time in jail or prison can speed up the aging process by an average of 11 months past someone's actual age, according to DNA research by Berg and his colleagues. Experiencing violence in prison accelerated the aging process by more than two years, according to the study published late last year in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
The Atlanta Voice: Legal analyst discusses Chief Justice Roberts' part in decline of democracy.
“His [Roberts’] opinion purposefully opened the door to all manner of voting rights restrictions,” (Elie) Mystal writes. “When you see lines of Black people waiting hours and hours to vote, you can largely thank John Roberts for these scenes of racism. And he hasn’t gotten nearly enough blame for it.”
NBC: Enforcement of LA's anti-camping ordinance against those experiencing homelessness
As the problem metastasizes, city officials have zeroed in on a new strategy to clear the unsightly encampments even as service providers warn there is not enough temporary or permanent housing for the region’s homeless population.
“The policy of criminalizing homelessness has never worked,” said Georgia Berkovich, director of public affairs at The Midnight Mission, which offers emergency and social services to homeless people. “We need more beds. We need more housing.”
NBC: Airline passenger charged with federal felony after mooning flight attendant and causing other disturbances.
Note: We are crunching Supreme Court of Wisconsin decisions down to size. The rule for this is that no justice gets more than 10 paragraphs as written in the actual decision. The "upshot" and "background" sections do not count as part of the 10 paragraphs because of their summary and very necessary nature. We've also removed citations from the opinion for ease of reading, but have linked to important cases cited or information about them. Italics indicate WJI insertions except for case names, which also are italicized.
The case: Danelle Duncan v. Asset Recovery Specialists, Inc.
Majority: Justice Rebecca F. Dallet (24 pages), joined by Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and Brian Hagedorn and joined in large part by Justice Jill J. Karofsky.
Concurrence: Karofsky (12 pages).
Dissent: Justice Patience D. Roggensack (16 pages), joined by Justices Rebecca Grassl Bradley and Annette K. Ziegler.
We...hold that "dwelling used by the customer as a residence" includes a garage attached to the residential building in which the customer lives....We hold that claims of unconscionability are available only in "actions or other proceedings brought by a creditor to enforce rights arising from consumer credit transactions" and that a non-judicial repossession like the one Defendants performed in this case is not such an action or other proceeding. As a result, Duncan's unconscionability claim must be dismissed.
Danelle Duncan left her car in her parking spot in the garage on the ground floor of her apartment building. When she returned a short time later, the car was gone. She later learned that Defendants – Asset Recovery Specialists, Inc.; Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.; and Greg Strandlie –had entered the garage without her consent and repossessed the car.
Duncan alleges that Defendants violated the Wisconsin Consumer Act by "[e]ntering a dwelling used by the customer as a residence except at the voluntary request of a customer" during the repossession.
Duncan bought her car from a dealership and financed the purchase with a loan. The loan, which created a security interest in the car, was later assigned to Wells Fargo Bank. After Duncan defaulted on the loan, the Wisconsin Consumer Act provided the bank with two ways to take possession of the car. It could either obtain a judgment for return of the car by filing a replevin action or follow the statutory process for a nonjudicial repossession. Wells Fargo pursued the latter option and hired Asset Recovery Specialists, owned by Greg Strandlie, to repossess Duncan's car.
At that time, Duncan lived in a multi-story, multiunit apartment building. The ground floor of the building is made up entirely of parking for residents and includes at least 56 parking spaces. Duncan leased a parking space in the garage under an agreement separate from her apartment lease. To access the residential floors and apartments from the garage, or to enter the garage on foot from the outside, residents must use keys. To drive into the garage, residents must use a garage door opener.
When Strandlie and one of his employees arrived to repossess Duncan's car, however, they found the garage door open. They went in, located Duncan's car, and towed it away. Neither Strandlie nor the employee interacted with Duncan at the time. A maintenance worker was in the garage at the time of the repossession and did not object.
Duncan filed this case in circuit court alleging, among other things, that Defendants violated Wis. Stat. § 425.206(2)(b) when they entered the parking garage to repossess her car and that Defendants' conduct during and after the repossession was unconscionable in violation of Wis. Stat. § 425.107(1).
To determine whether the repossession was proper, we must therefore answer a single question: Did Defendants enter "a dwelling used by [Duncan] as a residence" when they repossessed her car from the first-floor parking garage of her apartment building?....
Although "dwelling" is undefined in the Wisconsin Consumer Act, it is a common word and the parties generally agree on its ordinary, dictionary definition. "Dwelling" typically refers to "a building or other shelter in which people live." In other words, a dwelling is a building in which at least one person lives.
That definition is consistent with the use of "dwelling" elsewhere in the statutes at the time the Wisconsin Consumer Act was adopted in 1971. The word "dwelling" appears twice in the Act and was defined in a subsequent administrative rule.
That rule specifies that..."dwelling" includes "any garage, shed, barn or other building on the premises whether attached or unattached...."
Based on that definition, Duncan's "dwelling" includes the parking garage, because it is located in the building in which she lives. The remaining question then is whether the phrase "used by the customer as a residence" nevertheless excludes the garage.
Despite the parties' general agreement on the common meaning of "dwelling," they offer competing readings of the phrase "used by the customer as a residence." Defendants assert that a "residence" is the place where a person "actually lives." They conclude that "used by the customer as a residence" limits "dwelling" to only the parts of the building that are also "integral parts" of a residence; for example, the areas in which a person might sleep, eat, cook, or shower. Because Duncan did not sleep, eat, cook, or shower in the garage, Defendants claim that they could lawfully enter the garage because it was not used by Duncan as a residence. In contrast, Duncan suggests that "used by the customer as a residence" simply distinguishes her particular dwelling from all other dwellings. She therefore acknowledges that Defendants would not have violated (the law) if they had repossessed her car from the parking garage of a different apartment building, or while it was parked in a friend's open garage.
We agree with Duncan's interpretation and conclude that "used by the customer as a residence" distinguishes the customer's dwelling from all other dwellings....
We turn next to Duncan's claim of unconscionability pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 425.107(1). We begin with the language of the statute: "With respect to a consumer credit transaction, if the court as a matter of law finds that any aspect of the transaction, any conduct directed against the customer by a party to the transaction, or any result of the transaction is unconscionable, the court shall, in addition to the remedy and penalty authorized in sub. (5), either refuse to enforce the transaction against the customer, or so limit the application of any unconscionable aspect or conduct to avoid any unconscionable result." The statute enumerates a number of different factors the court may consider pertinent to determining whether a transaction, conduct directed against the customer, or the result of the transaction are unconscionable... [U]pon a finding of unconscionability a customer may recover statutory and actual damages....
We agree with the federal courts that the law bars a customer from bringing a claim of unconscionability...except in response to "actions or other proceedings brought by a creditor."...
[W]e conclude that a nonjudicial repossession...is not one of the "actions or other proceedings brought by a creditor" contemplated....
I agree that Defendants violated Wis. Stat. § 425.206(2)(b) by entering Duncan's "dwelling" and concur in the court's ultimate mandate. I disagree, however, with the conclusion that a customer can never raise unconscionability as a defense to a non-judicial repossession. Because the applicable statutes plainly permit an unconscionability defense, I respectfully concur.
The unconscionability defense codified in Wis. Stat. § 425.107 entitles a customer to additional relief "if the court as a matter of law finds that any aspect of the transaction, any conduct directed against the customer by a party to the transaction, or any result of the transaction is unconscionable." I agree with my colleagues that this defense is subject to the scope provision (by law), and as such is only available in response "to actions or other proceedings brought by a creditor to enforce rights arising from consumer credit transactions" (emphasis added). I further agree that a non-judicial repossession is not an "action." We diverge, however, on whether a non-judicial repossession constitutes a "proceeding."
"Proceeding" is neither specially defined nor technical and therefore carries its "common, ordinary, and accepted meaning."...
The Oxford English Dictionary's leading "Law" definition for "proceeding" broadly includes "[a] legal action or process." That breadth is mirrored in another dictionary's "proceeding" definition: "A course of action; a procedure." (American Heritage Dictionary) These broad dictionary definitions match comprehensive judicial definitions of "proceeding." Several courts have recited the Words and Phrases definition that "proceeding" is "a very comprehensive term" generally meaning "a prescribed course of action for enforcing a legal right."
Taken together, the dictionary and judicial definitions of "proceeding" as well as that word's usage in common parlance converge on one, comprehensive common, ordinary, and accepted meaning: a legally prescribed process for enforcing a legal right.
Applying the common, ordinary, and accepted meaning of "proceeding," I conclude that "other proceedings" includes a non-judicial repossession. A non-judicial repossession is a legally prescribed process for enforcing a legal right. The statute prescribes the initiating notice, the 15-day wait period, and the prohibitions against both "breach[ing] of the peace" and entering "a dwelling used by the customer as a residence." It matters not that the legislature made a policy decision to cut out the expense and time of litigation. Nothing in that policy choice indicates a simultaneous desire to foreclose a customer in Duncan's position from even requesting judicial scrutiny of unconscionable creditor conduct. Quite the opposite. The legislature directs us to "liberally construe and appl[y]" the entire Act to "protect customers against . . . unconscionable practices by merchants." Put simply, the statutorily prescribed non-judicial repossession process to enforce a creditor's right to collateral plainly constitutes an "other proceeding brought by a creditor to enforce rights arising from [a] consumer credit transaction" under (the law.)
Before concluding that Duncan can bring her unconscionability claim here, I address one last wrinkle. At common law, unconscionability claims arose defensively. That is precisely the posture Duncan is in here, albeit not in the traditional sense. Duncan raises unconscionability as a defense to Defendants enforcing their right to repossess her car. Had that repossession commenced via a replevin action, Defendants would have filed a complaint and Duncan would raise unconscionability in her answer or some post-judgment filing if the unconscionable conduct occurred during or after the repossession. But a non-judicial repossession dispenses with these traditional pleadings. Therefore, Duncan can raise unconscionability only in her own complaint....
I conclude that Duncan could raise an unconscionability defense to Defendants' non-judicial repossession. Here, however, her allegations do not as a matter of law rise to the level of unconscionable. Therefore, I concur in the court's ultimate mandate and join all but (five paragraphs) of the majority/lead opinion.
The majority opinion follows the errant lead of the court of appeals. Instead of interpreting "dwelling" within the structure of the statute in which it appears, e.g., "used by the customer as a residence," and instead of relying on Danelle Duncan's own statements that she never lived or resided in the apartment building's garage, the majority opinion ignores a plain-meaning analysis of (the law). Rather, it patches together a hodgepodge of theories in order to affirm the court of appeals. Because I conclude that the plain meaning of (the law) does not apply to the apartment building's garage, which Duncan shared with many others and has said in two court proceedings that she has never lived or resided in, I would reverse the court of appeals and affirm the summary judgment granted by the circuit court. Therefore, I respectfully dissent from the majority opinion.
After her car was repossessed, Duncan sued the towing company, its owner, and the Wells Fargo.
As part of its proceedings, the district court found there "are no living quarters, places to sleep, cook, eat, watch television, use a restroom or bathe or shower in the garage area, [and that] Duncan admits that she has never lived or resided in the garage." The court made various other findings relative to her federal claim and then granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment in part. It dismissed her federal claim and any portion of her state claims against Wells Fargo that was based on alleged unlawful retention of Duncan's personal property.
Duncan sued in circuit court and lost. She appealed and won.
Although, "dwelling" is not defined in regard to portions of statutes that set out provisions that relate to Wisconsin consumer transactions, I note that findings of the earlier trial courts who considered this dispute provide the factual context in which we interpret "dwelling," as that term appears in § 425.206(2)(b).
For example, the circuit court found that the apartment building's garage contained spaces for more than 50 cars, with no tenant having a right to exclude others, which the circuit court also found was in contrast to single-family homes where there is a right to exclusive control over the garage. Duncan agreed that she did not have the right to exclude others from the apartment building's garage. Therefore, she could not bring suit for criminal trespass to dwellings or for trespass to land which she tried to do before filing in federal district court.
It is undisputed that Duncan does not sleep in the garage. The district court found that there "are no living quarters, places to sleep, cook, eat, watch television, use a restroom or bathe or shower in the garage area, [and that] Duncan admits that she has never lived or resided in the garage....
[I]n order to fit within the structure of (the law) the apartment building's garage must be the place where Duncan actually lives – where she resides. She has admitted that she never lived or resided in the apartment building's garage, and the district court and the circuit court both so found. Instead, she rented a parking space in a garage shared by other residents and maintained by a third-party apartment owner. Therefore, based on the plain meaning of the statute that the legislature enacted, and undisputed material facts, I conclude that the apartment building's garage where Duncan parked her car is not a "dwelling" within the meaning of § 425.206(2)(b).
The court of appeals' decision avoids a plain-meaning interpretation of (the statute) to seek a different result than a plain-meaning interpretation will permit. The majority opinion's use of (administrative code) is less direct than that of the court of appeals, but nevertheless it employs (administrative code) to support its analysis. Furthermore, the majority opinion's hodgepodge of definitions totally ignores the structure of § 425.206(2)(b) which limits "dwelling" according to how the customer uses that space. Again, it appears the majority opinion did so...to obtain a result that the plain meaning of the words the legislature enacted will not permit.
Wisconsin State Journal: Appeal and request for stay of order rejecting ballot drop boxes
“(Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren) says that drop boxes are illegal under Wisconsin law because they’re not mentioned in the statute, but telephones aren’t mentioned in the Bible and nobody thinks that means they are evil and sinful,” (attorney Jeffrey) Mandell said Thursday. “Absentee drop boxes that are secure and properly monitored are an entirely reasonable way for municipal clerks to accept absentee ballot returns. There’s nothing in the state that says to the contrary.”
Wearegreenbay.com: State Assembly passes bills on vaccine tampering, teenagers' work hours, and gun rights.
The Washington Post: Tennessee couple tried to become foster parents but were denied because they’re Jewish, lawsuit says.
On Wednesday, the Rutan-Rams, along with six others, sued the Department of Children’s Services and its commissioner, Jennifer Nichols, claiming it violated the couple’s rights to religious freedom and equal protection in the Tennessee Constitution by using state funds to support agencies that discriminate based on religious beliefs.
“It’s infuriating to learn our tax dollars are funding discrimination against us,” Gabriel Rutan-Ram said in a news release from the Tennessee chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “If an agency is getting tax money to provide a service, then everyone should be served — it shouldn’t matter whether you’re Jewish, Catholic or an atheist. We’re all citizens of Tennessee, regardless of our religion.”
The Hill: U.S. Supreme Court finds that defendant's right to confrontation was violated.
Marijuana Moment: Biden's marijuana-policy promises still unfulfilled.
Contrary to Biden’s campaign pledges, cannabis has not been federally decriminalized, people remain in federal prison over non-violent marijuana offenses and the plant has yet to be rescheduled under the Controlled Substances Act. Of the cannabis promises that Biden made while running for president, just one has been met so far: the government has continued to let states implement marijuana reform mostly without federal intervention, though ongoing lack of clarity from the administration has caused continuing complications for the industry and consumers.
In one of the more notable positive developments to come out of the Oval Office, however, Biden did sign an infrastructure bill last year that contains language meant to help promote marijuana research.
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