From the Sunday, December 3, 2013 edition of the La Crosse Tribune -
Kroner, Jr. of Moen, Ehrsam&Kroner, S.C.Suite 200, 201 Main Street, in
La Crosse was
recently named a Super Lawyer in the field of criminal defense practice. Super
Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers in more than 70 practice
areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional
achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent
research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Super Lawyer designation
is limited to not more than 5% of the attorneys in each practice area within Wisconsin. Jim is
one of only two attorneys in this part of Western Wisconsin (La
Crosse, Monroe, Vernon,
Trempealeau and CrawfordCounties) to receive recognition
as a Super Lawyer in the field of criminal defense.
Also, on October 7, 2013, the La Crosse County Bar
Association honored Jim with a plaque recognizing his "Outstanding
Leadership as President of the La Crosse County Bar Association" during
In April, the La Crosse County Bar Association held its annual election. The new officers for the 2012 - 2013 year are the following:
President - James L. Kroner, Jr. of Moen Ehrsam & Kroner, S.C. President Elect - Angela L. Machi of Angela Machi Law Office Secretary - Howard J. Eglash of Bosshard Parke, Ltd. Treasurer - Jessica Kirchner of O'Flaherty Heim Egan & Birnbaum, Ltd.
Congratulations to all of the new officers, especially Moen Ehrsam & Kroner's own Jim Kroner.
Governor Walker recently signed a number of bills that will enact significant changes to Wisconsin laws creating crimes, increasing penalties for certain crimes, and altering procedures and rights in criminal cases. These changes include the following.
2011 Wisconsin Act 266, passed as Senate Bill 104, requires a person who violates certain restraining orders to be monitored by GPS. Act 266 says that if a person violates a domestic abuse or harassment temporary restraining order, and a court finds that they are more likely than not to cause serious bodily harm to the person who applied for the TRO, then the court can order the person to submit to GPS tracking. Act 266 also requires a $200 surcharge which is to be used to fund the GPS tracking program. Act 266 has two effective dates. First, the surcharge provision takes effect on July 1, 2013. The GPS tracking program is effective January 1, 2014.
2011 Wisconsin Act 267, passed as Assembly Bill 269, prohibits contacting victims of domestic violence and witnesses in criminal cases. Act 267 increases the penalty for violations of the 72 hour no contact prohibition in a domestic violence case from the current $1000 civil forfeiture to a misdemeanor. Act 267 also makes it a Class A misdemeanor to contact a witness in a misdemeanor case, and a Class H felony to contact a witness in a felony case. Act 267 does not have a specific effective date, so will apply the day after publication – at most 11 days from today.
2011 Wisconsin Act 268, passed as Assembly Bill 397, creates several new criminal penalties for failing to report certain crimes against children. Act 268 is known colloquially as “Caylee’s Law” after the Caylee Anthony death in 2008 in Florida. Act 268 creates the following crimes and penalties:
Class I felony for failing to report the death of a child under 18.
Class A misdemeanor for failing to report a missing child within 24 hours if under 13, 48 hours if between 13 and 16, or 72 hours for older than 16.
Increase to Class H felony if the child suffers pain or an injury such as a broken bone or stitches
Increase to Class F felony if child suffers permanent disfigurement or permanent or protracted loss of bodily function
Increase to Class D felony if child dies
Act 268 does not have a specific effective date, so will apply the day after publication – at most 11 days from today.
2011 Wisconsin Act 270, passed as Senate Bill 173, allows, in specific instances, access to law enforcement to certain juvenile court records. Act 270 allows access to juvenile court records, excluding medical and psychological records, to law enforcement when they are investigating alleged criminal activity. Act 270 also provides this information, via electronic access to CCAP, for SPD attorneys and staff. Act 270 does not have a specific effective date, so will apply the day after publication – at most 11 days from today.
2011 Wisconsin Act 271, passed as Senate Bill 536, makes six changes to statutes regarding child pornography and trafficking.
1.Extend the statute of limitations from before the victim reaches 24 years of age to 45 years of age.
2.Makes knowingly accessing child pornography a felony.
3.Allows for the involuntary termination of parental rights if a parent is convicted of trafficking a child
4.Prohibits the introduction of evidence of a witness’s prior sexual contact in child enticement, soliciting a child for prostitution, and sexual intercourse with a child who is age 16 or older crimes.
5.Allows a chief judge to authorize electronic surveillance in sexual exploitation of a child, trafficking of a child, child enticement, use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, and soliciting a child for prostitution crimes.
6.Authorizes compensation to victims of sexual exploitation of a child, incest with a child, use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, soliciting a child for prostitution, and sexual intercourse with a child who is age 16 or older.
Act 271 does not have a specific effective date, so will apply the day after publication – at most 11 days from today. However, any crime committed but not charged before the expiration of the statute of limitations can be charged under the provisions of Act 271.
2011 Wisconsin Act 272, passed as Assembly Bill 209, creates mandatory minimum prison sentences, with some exceptions, for the following crimes:
1.5 years for sexual exploitation of a child
2.5 years for use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime
3.3 years for possession of child pornography
There are two exceptions from the minimum incarceration sentence:
1.If the difference in age between the offender and the victim is less than 48 months.
2.Probation in amount less than the mandatory minimum can be ordered by the judge if the court places on the records the lack of risk to the public.
Act 272 does not have a specific effective date, so will apply the day after publication – at most 11 days from today.
2011 Wisconsin Act 273, passed as Senate Bill 127, provides that the sentencing court must consider whether a crime was convicted in the presence of a child as an aggravating factor if the crime involved domestic abuse. Act 273 does not have a specific effective date, so will apply the day after publication – at most 11 days from today.
2011 Wisconsin Act 276, passed as Senate Bill 350, increases the penalty for repeated domestic abuse offenses. Act 276 allows for a 2 year penalty enhancer if a person commits an act of abuse as newly defined as a “domestic abuse repeater.” Domestic abuse repeater applies if someone is convicted on 2 separate occasions in the prior 10 years of a crime in which the domestic abuse surcharge was imposed and commits a second act of domestic abuse within the 72 hour period following a domestic abuse arrest. Act 276 does not have a specific effective date, so will apply the day after publication – at most 11 days from today.
2011 Wisconsin Act 277, passed as Assembly Bill 217, creates a Class A misdemeanor for impersonating a fire fighter, an emergency medical technician, or a first responder. Act 277 does not have a specific effective date, so will apply the day after publication – at most 11 days from today.
02/06Andrea Hodges (US Bank) – What You Need to Know About Check, ACH & Wire Fraud
02/13Kara Burgos – Economic Loss Doctrine Developments
02/20Jim Naugler – Annual Torts Update
02/27Dan Arndt – Adverse Possession Practice Issues
03/05Judge Dale Pasell – TBA
03/12Judge Gary Sherman (4th District Court of Appeals) – TBA
03/19Jennifer Brown – Family Law Update
03/26Judge Scott Horne - TBA
04/02Mike Ehrsam – Workers Compensation Law Update
04/09Judge William M. Conley (US District Court, West. Dist. of WI) – Advice for Western District Practice
04/16Judge Charles Dykman (4th District Court of Appeals, Ret.) – Annual Appellate Law Update
04/23John Carney (Carney Forensics) – Obtaining Digital Evidence from Cell Phones, Computers and Social Media
04/30La Crosse County Bar Association Elections
REMINDER - All Monday meetings will be luncheon meetings held in the Banquet room of the Waterfront Restaurant & Tavern,
328 Front St. South, in La Crosse.The entrance to the Banquet room is off a parking lot on the north side of the building.As last year, the charge for lunch will be $11 (which includes coffee, tea, or a soft drink, tax and tip).
The La Crosse County Bar Association holds regular meetings most Mondays at noon in the Banquet room of the Waterfront Restaurant & Tavern, 328 Front St. South, in La Crosse.The entrance to the Banquet room is off a parking lot on the north side of the building. The charge for lunch will be $11 (which includes coffee, tea, or a soft drink, tax and tip). While it is not well known you need not be a member of the Association to attend these Monday lunch meetings.
Normally, I can understand a meeting of lawyers might not be all that fascinating for non lawyers. However, most of these noon meetings feature a presentation on topics of general legal interest. If one of these speakers or topics on the schedule this fall piques your interest, feel free to contact Jim Kroner to make arrangements to attend.
10/03Jim McNeilly – Bankruptcy Issues
10/10Christopher Ahmuty & Larry Depuis – ACLU of Wisconsin
10/17Western WI Federal Judge William Conley – TBA
10/24Dan Dunn – Issues in Collection Practice
10/31Judge Todd Bjerke – La Crosse County Veteran’s Court
11/07Joe Veenstra – TBA
11/14Phil Addis – Representing Clients before local Municipalities
11/21District Attorney Tim Gruenke – TBA
11/28Mary Jo Werner – Annual Tax Law Update
12/05Dan Arndt – Representing Clients in Adverse Possession Cases
Last week, Governor Walker signed a law causing Wisconsin to join 48 other states in allowing people in Wisconsin (residents and non-residents) to legally carry firearms that are concealed. While this practice is common in other states, Wisconsin's new law leaves Illinois as the only state not allowing some form of legal concealed carry.
Between now and November 1, 2011 - when the law takes effect - people desiring to exercise their new right to concealed carry, not to mention businesses and other places open to the public where such persons might frequent, need to understand what the law allows and does not. Unfortunately, the details are too complicated for this post.
While I encourage you to contact one of the attorneys at Moen Ehrsam & Kroner for advice particular to your specific situation, general information about the law from the State Bar of Wisconsin can be reviewed here . The National Rifle Association also provided a bit more detailed summary of the law here.
As this post is written, we know what is in the budget repair bill passed by the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly, but we don't know for sure what will become law because Governor Walker has not announced what items he may seek to eliminate (or modify) using Wisconsin's formidable line item veto. Pending any surprises, here are highlights, or lowlights, of what the legislation does concerning legal issues Moen Ehrsam & Kroner S.C. is likely to face for clients.
The change that will affect the most people is probably the decision to increase the jurisdictional limit for small claims cases to $10,000. This new limit is set to take effect on July 1, 2011. Under previous law, the highest amount of money that could be awarded as a judgment in small claims court was $5,000. Doubling the amount of money possible to be awarded will make it practical to pursue many more cases in small claims court than was previously the case.
This is good because small claims court generally provides people with a venue to get their disputes resolved quicker and with less formal procedures, meaning that it is cheaper than having to proceed with a regular lawsuit. On the other hand, increasing the limits means people may have substantially more money at risk in a small claims case, making it increasingly risky to handle a small claims case without an attorney (as many people used to do). This increased limit of $10,000 does not apply to claims for personal (bodily) injury.
The legislature also authorizes bail bondsmen to conduct business in Wisconsin. In the past, no one could be in the business of collecting a fee to post bond for someone accused of a crime. The person accused, or family or friends, had to come up with the cash to post bond if cash bond was required. As part of its business friendly agenda, Wisconsin now allows bail bondsmen to collect a fee (expected to be about 10% of the amount of cash bond required by the court) to post bond for a defendant.
On the surface, this seems like a win / win proposition. Defendants can get out by posting less bond than previously required, the bond business gets to make money (from the fees) and the Court has a good solvent party to collect the entire bond from if the defendant does not show up for court or otherwise violates the conditions of his bond. However, it is not clear the picture will be so rosy.
Now, most defendants are released on a signature bond without having to post cash at all. Fears are that signature bonds will disappear. There are also concerns about "bond inflation." Will Judges who used to require $1,000 cash bond on a given set of facts now increase their bond decision to $10,000 knowing a defendant can get out by posting only 10%? Moreover, when a defendant posts cash now, that money is refunded in full at the end of the case (unless used to pay fines, etc). Money paid to a bail bondsman is gone forever.
Finally, what happens if a person who has paid a bail bondsman fails to appear? The bail bondsman has to pay the Court the full amount of the bond. But the bail bondsman does not then just write off the loss as the cost of doing business. No, the bail bondsman goes hunting for the defendant so he can "arrest" the defendant and cart him back to the Court to get the bond paid back. States that allow bail bondsmen have a rich history of abuses by bail bondsmen engaged in the process of "arresting" their customers. They break down doors, engage in gun fights and high speed chases, and do whatever they deem necessary to attempt to get their money back.
I fear the legislature made a mistake by adding this law authorizing bail bondsmen to the budget bill where it might become law without going through the public hearings and debates needed to adequately consider all the pros and cons of this change. It remains to be seen whether this legislation is, on balance, a good idea.