Attorneys Laing and McBride Publish Annual Evidence Chapter

The 2011 edition of the Annual Survey of Wisconsin Law published by the State Bar of Wisconsin CLE Books has recently been released for circulation and this year’s work includes another contribution by Attorneys Dean P. Laing and Patrick G. McBride in the area of evidence. The Annual Survey reviews significant Wisconsin judicial and legislative developments from 2010 and is organized by individual chapters addressing recent developments in a specific area of law. Attorney Laing has been the author or co-author of the “Evidence” chapter of the Annual Survey for the past 23 years and Attorney McBride has been the co-author for the past 10 years.

This year’s chapter on evidence addresses issues regarding the use of expert testimony, including whether the statutory prohibition to the admission of preliminary breath test results was trumped when the results were used as a basis for an expert’s opinion, and whether expert testimony was required at summary judgment in a breach of contract action regarding a computer-services agreement. The Wisconsin courts also determined whether the state could play an edited portion of a child’s video statement during closing argument in a sexual-assault trial without making the child available for cross-examination after showing the video, and whether the state needed to preserve apparently exculpatory evidence consisting of threatening cell-phone voice messages for use by the defendant in establishing the self-defense standard in a homicide trial. In a civil action, the court of appeals considered whether an affiant demonstrated the requisite personal knowledge to establish the admissibility of account statements under the hearsay exception for records of regularly conducted activity.

The “Evidence” chapter summarizes these decisions and others as they impact the development of the law of evidence in Wisconsin. A full copy of the “Evidence” chapter appearing in the Annual Survey can be found here. A copy of the Annual Survey of Wisconsin Law can be obtained through the State Bar of Wisconsin CLE Books at