Attorneys Laing and McBride Publish Annual Evidence Chapter

The 2010 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 2009 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 22 years and Attorney McBride has been the co-author for the past nine years. This year’s chapter on evidence addresses issues regarding the admissibility of intercepted communications under the Wisconsin Electronic Surveillance Control Law and whether the one-party consent exception applies when both the intercepting person and the person consenting to the intercept are law-enforcement officers; and whether other acts evidence relating to a confidential informant’s observations on the day before the execution of a no-knock search warrant based on those observations was, nevertheless, admissible at trial to combat the defendant’s claim that he acted in self-defense when he shot a police officer who entered his home while executing the warrant.

The Wisconsin courts also addressed the admissibility of a computer-generated animation, which purported to illustrate the combined testimony of various witnesses regarding how the alleged crimes occurred, through the trial testimony of a non-expert witness who had no personal knowledge of the underlying facts and had not visited the crime scene. In a civil action, the court of appeals examined whether a defendant, who had invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and refused to testify regarding non-corporate liability exposure during the three-year discovery period before trial, should be permitted to withdraw the prior invocation and waive the privilege to testify during the last week of trial regarding issues that he had previously hidden from discovery.

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