While the defendant put his character and credibility at issue by testifying and thus invited rebuttal testimony from the state, testimony that the defendant always stuttered when he lied went too far. The witness presented herself as a human lie detector. The jury is the lie detector in the courtroom. No witness, expert or otherwise, should be permitted to give an opinion that another mentally and physically competent witness is telling the truth. State v. Echols, 2013 WI App 58
, 348 Wis. 2d 81
, 831 N.W.2d 768
Pictures depicting violence were offered to prove the defendant's fascination with death and mutilation, and that trait is undeniably probative of motive, intent, or plan to commit a vicious murder. Dressler v. McCaughtery, 238 F.3d 908
Help Me Doc! Theories of Admissibility of Other Acts Evidence in Medical Malpractice Cases. Gardner. 87 MLR 981 (2004)
Methods of proving character. 904.05(1)
Reputation or opinion.
In all cases in which evidence of character or a trait of character of a person is admissible, proof may be made by testimony as to reputation or by testimony in the form of an opinion. On cross-examination, inquiry is allowable into relevant specific instances of conduct.
(2) Specific instances of conduct.
In cases in which character or a trait of character of a person is an essential element of a charge, claim, or defense, proof may also be made of specific instances of the person's conduct.
Sup. Ct. Order, 59 Wis. 2d R1, R80 (1973); 1991 a. 32
A detective's opinion of a drug addict's reputation for truth and veracity did not qualify to prove reputation in the community because it was based on 12 varying opinions of persons who knew the addict, from which a community reputation could not be ascertained. Edwards v. State, 49 Wis. 2d 105
, 181 N.W.2d 383
When a defendant's character evidence is by expert opinion and the prosecution's attack on the basis of the opinion is answered evasively or equivocally, then the trial court may allow the prosecution to present evidence of specific incidents of conduct. King v. State, 75 Wis. 2d 26
, 248 N.W.2d 458
In order for specific acts of violence to be admissible, "character or a trait of character of a person" must be "an essential element of a charge, claim, or defense." In a homicide case in which a claim of self-defense is raised, character evidence may be admissible as evidence of the defendant's state of mind so long as the defendant had knowledge of the prior acts at the time of the offense. State v. Jackson, 2014 WI 4
, ___ Wis. 2d ___, ___ N.W.2d ___, 11-2698
Self-defense—prior acts of the victim. 1974 WLR 266.
Habit; routine practice. 904.06(1)
Except as provided in s. 972.11 (2)
, evidence of the habit of a person or of the routine practice of an organization, whether corroborated or not and regardless of the presence of eyewitnesses, is relevant to prove that the conduct of the person or organization on a particular occasion was in conformity with the habit or routine practice.
(2) Method of proof.
Habit or routine practice may be proved by testimony in the form of an opinion or by specific instances of conduct sufficient in number to warrant a finding that the habit existed or that the practice was routine.
Sup. Ct. Order, 59 Wis. 2d R1, R83 (1973); 1975 c. 184
Although a specific instance of conduct occurs only once, the evidence may be admissible under sub. (2). French v. Sorano, 74 Wis. 2d 460
, 247 N.W.2d 182
Habit evidence must be distinguished from character evidence. Character is a generalized description of a person's disposition or of the disposition in respect to a general trait. Habit is more specific denoting one's regular response to a repeated situation. However, habit need not be "semi-automatic" or "virtually unconscious." Steinberg v. Arcilla, 194 Wis. 2d 759
, 535 N.W.2d 444
(Ct. App. 1995).
The greater latitude given under Davidson
for allowing other acts evidence in child sexual assault cases because of the difficulty sexually abused children experience in testifying, and the difficulty prosecutors have in obtaining admissible evidence in such cases was properly applied when the victim, although an adult, functioned at the level of an 18-month old, having an inability to recount what happened. This greater latitude is not restricted to allowing evidence of prior sexual assaults and was properly applied to allow evidence of pornography viewed by the defendant that helped to demonstrate motive. State v. Normington, 2008 WI App 8
, 306 Wis. 2d 727
, 744 N.W.2d 867
Subsequent remedial measures.
When, after an event, measures are taken which, if taken previously, would have made the event less likely to occur, evidence of the subsequent measures is not admissible to prove negligence or culpable conduct in connection with the event. This section does not require the exclusion of evidence of subsequent measures when offered for another purpose, such as proving ownership, control, or feasibility of precautionary measures, if controverted, or impeachment or proving a violation of s. 101.11
History: Sup. Ct. Order, 59 Wis. 2d R1, R87 (1973).
Evidence of subsequent remedial measures by the mass producer of a defective product is admissible in a products liability case if the underlying policy of this section not to discourage corrective steps is not applicable. Chart v. General Motors Corp. 80 Wis. 2d 91
, 258 N.W.2d 681
Evidence of a remedial change was inadmissible when the defendant did not challenge the feasibility of the change. Krueger v. Tappan Co. 104 Wis. 2d 199
, 311 N.W.2d 219
(Ct. App. 1981).
Evidence of post-event remedial measures may be introduced under both negligence and strict liability theories. D. L. v. Huebner, 110 Wis. 2d 581
, 329 N.W.2d 890
Compromise and offers to compromise.
Evidence of furnishing or offering or promising to furnish, or accepting or offering or promising to accept, a valuable consideration in compromising or attempting to compromise a claim which was disputed as to either validity or amount, is not admissible to prove liability for or invalidity of the claim or its amount. Evidence of conduct or statements made in compromise negotiations is likewise not admissible. This section does not require exclusion when the evidence is offered for another purpose, such as proving bias or prejudice of a witness, negativing a contention of undue delay, proving accord and satisfaction, novation or release, or proving an effort to compromise or obstruct a criminal investigation or prosecution.
Sup. Ct. Order, 59 Wis. 2d R1, R90 (1973); 1987 a. 355
; Sup. Ct. Order No. 93-03
, 179 Wis. 2d xv (1993); 1993 a. 490
While this section does not exclude evidence of compromise settlements to prove bias or prejudice of witnesses, it does exclude evidence of details such as the amount of the settlement. Johnson v. Heintz, 73 Wis. 2d 286
, 243 N.W.2d 815
The plaintiff's letter suggesting a compromise between codefendants was not admissible to prove the liability of a defendant. Production Credit Association v. Rosner, 78 Wis. 2d 543
, 255 N.W.2d 79
When a letter from a bank to the defendant was an unconditional demand for possession of collateral and payment under a lease and was prepared without prior negotiations, compromise, or agreement, the letter was not barred by this section. Heritage Bank v. Packerland Packing Co. 82 Wis. 2d 225
, 262 N.W.2d 109
Communications in mediation. 904.085(1)
The purpose of this section is to encourage the candor and cooperation of disputing parties, to the end that disputes may be quickly, fairly and voluntarily settled.
"Mediator" means the neutral facilitator in mediation, its agents and employees.
"Party" means a participant in mediation, personally or by an attorney, guardian, guardian ad litem or other representative, regardless of whether such person is a party to an action or proceeding whose resolution is attempted through mediation.
Except as provided under sub. (4)
, no oral or written communication relating to a dispute in mediation made or presented in mediation by the mediator or a party is admissible in evidence or subject to discovery or compulsory process in any judicial or administrative proceeding. Any communication that is not admissible in evidence or not subject to discovery or compulsory process under this paragraph is not a public record under subch. II of ch. 19
Except as provided under sub. (4)
, no mediator may be subpoenaed or otherwise compelled to disclose any oral or written communication relating to a dispute in mediation made or presented in mediation by the mediator or a party or to render an opinion about the parties, the dispute whose resolution is attempted by mediation or any other aspect of the mediation.
904.085(4)(a)(a) Subsection (3)
does not apply to any written agreement, stipulation or settlement made between 2 or more parties during or pursuant to mediation.
(c) Subsection (3) (a)
does not prohibit the admission of evidence otherwise discovered, although the evidence was presented in the course of mediation.
A mediator reporting child or unborn child abuse under s. 48.981
or reporting nonidentifying information for statistical, research or educational purposes does not violate this section.
In an action or proceeding distinct from the dispute whose settlement is attempted through mediation, the court may admit evidence otherwise barred by this section if, after an in camera
hearing, it determines that admission is necessary to prevent a manifest injustice of sufficient magnitude to outweigh the importance of protecting the principle of confidentiality in mediation proceedings generally.
Sup. Ct. Order No. 93-03
, 179 Wis. 2d xv (1993); 1995 a. 227
; 1997 a. 59
; 2005 a. 443
; Sup. Ct. Order No. 09-12
, 2010 WI 31, 323 Wis. 2d xvii; 2011 a. 32
Judicial Council Note, 1993: This section creates a rule of inadmissibility for communications presented in mediation. This rule can be waived by stipulation of the parties only in narrow circumstances [see sub. (4) (b)] because the possibility of being called as a witness impairs the mediator in the performance of the neutral facilitation role. The purpose of the rule is to encourage the parties to explore facilitated settlement of disputes without fear that their claims or defenses will be compromised if mediation fails and the dispute is later litigated.
The focus of sub. (3) (a) is on the courts and on judicial proceedings. It directs the courts not to admit certain communications into evidence and excludes those same communications from discovery. The statute is applied when the communications are sought to be introduced or discovered in court, not when they are originally made during mediation. Dyer v. Waste Management of Wisconsin, Inc. 2008 WI App 128
, 313 Wis. 2d 803
, 758 N.W.2d 167
"Otherwise discovered" in sub. (4) (c) means discovered outside of mediation, not discovered outside the bounds of formal civil discovery. By its terms, sub. (4) (c) is intended to prevent a party from making pre-existing, unprivileged information privileged, simply by communicating in the course of a mediation. Dyer v. Waste Management of Wisconsin, Inc. 2008 WI App 128
, 313 Wis. 2d 803
, 758 N.W.2d 167
Payment of medical and similar expenses.
Evidence of furnishing or offering or promising to pay medical, hospital, or similar expenses occasioned by an injury is not admissible to prove liability for the injury.
History: Sup. Ct. Order, 59 Wis. 2d R1, R93 (1973).
Offer to plead guilty; no contest; withdrawn plea of guilty.
Evidence of a plea of guilty, later withdrawn, or a plea of no contest, or of an offer to the court or prosecuting attorney to plead guilty or no contest to the crime charged or any other crime, or in civil forfeiture actions, is not admissible in any civil or criminal proceeding against the person who made the plea or offer or one liable for the person's conduct. Evidence of statements made in court or to the prosecuting attorney in connection with any of the foregoing pleas or offers is not admissible.
Sup. Ct. Order, 59 Wis. 2d R1, R94 (1973); 1991 a. 32
When an accused entered into a plea agreement and subsequently testified at the trials of other defendants, and when the accused later withdrew the guilty plea and was tried, prior trial testimony was properly admitted for impeachment purposes. State v. Nash, 123 Wis. 2d 154
, 366 N.W.2d 146
(Ct. App. 1985).
Statements made during a guilty plea hearing are inadmissible for any purpose, including impeachment, at a subsequent trial. State v. Mason, 132 Wis. 2d 427
, 393 N.W.2d 102
(Ct. App. 1986).
A defendant's agreement to sign a written confession, after being told by the district attorney that the state would stand silent regarding sentencing if the defendant gave a truthful statement, was not the result of plea negotiations but negotiations for a confession, and therefore was not inadmissible under this section. State v. Nicholson, 187 Wis. 2d 687
, 523 N.W.2d 573
(Ct. App. 1994).
Section 908.01 (4) (b) deals with admissions by a party as a general rule, but admissions incidental to an offer to plead are a special kind of party admission: they are impossible to segregate from the offer itself because the offer is implicit in the reasons advanced therefor. Section 904.10 trumps s. 908.01 (4) (b) because it excludes only this particular category of party admissions and therefore is more specialized than the latter statute. State v. Norwood, 2005 WI App 218
, 287 Wis. 2d 679
, 706 N.W.2d 683
When the defendant's plea-bargaining relationship with the state was ongoing and still in flux at the time he testified at a codefendant's preliminary examination, his subsequent refusal to continue to cooperate with the state following the preliminary-examination testimony permitted the state to not make either the proposed reduction in the charge or the proposed sentencing recommendation, but it did not make admissible the preliminary-examination testimony because the plea-bargaining process was still ongoing. State v. Myrick, 2013 WI App 123
, ___ Wis. 2d ___, ___ N.W.2d ___, 12-2513
This section trumps other evidence rules if they conflict. State v. Myrick, 2013 WI App 123
, ___ Wis. 2d ___, ___ N.W.2d ___, 12-2513
Evidence that a person was or was not insured against liability is not admissible upon the issue whether the person acted negligently or otherwise wrongfully. This section does not require the exclusion of evidence of insurance against liability when offered for another purpose, such as proof of agency, ownership, or control, or bias or prejudice of a witness.
Sup. Ct. Order, 59 Wis. 2d R1, R97 (1973); 1991 a. 32
Statement of injured; admissibility; copies. 904.12(1)(1)
In actions for damages caused by personal injury, no statement made or writing signed by the injured person within 72 hours of the time the injury happened or accident occurred, shall be received in evidence unless such evidence would be admissible as a present sense impression, excited utterance or a statement of then existing mental, emotional or physical condition as described in s. 908.03 (1)
Every person who takes a written statement from any injured person or person sustaining damage with respect to any accident or with respect to any injury to person or property, shall, at the time of taking such statement, furnish to the person making such statement, a true, correct and complete copy thereof. Any person taking or having possession of any written statement or a copy of said statement, by any injured person, or by any person claiming damage to property with respect to any accident or with respect to any injury to person or property, shall, at the request of the person who made such statement or the person's personal representative, furnish the person who made such statement or the person's personal representative, a true, honest and complete copy thereof within 20 days after written demand. No written statement by any injured person or any person sustaining damage to property shall be admissible in evidence or otherwise used or referred to in any way or manner whatsoever in any civil action relating to the subject matter thereof, if it is made to appear that a person having possession of such statement refused, upon the request of the person who made the statement or the person's personal representatives, to furnish such true, correct and complete copy thereof as herein required.
This section does not apply to any statement taken by any officer having the power to make arrests.
Sup. Ct. Order, 59 Wis. 2d R1, R99 (1973); 1991 a. 32
Postaccident Statements by Injured Parties. LaFave. Wis. Law. Sept. 1997.
Information concerning crime victims. 904.13(2)
In any action or proceeding under ch. 938
or chs. 967
, evidence of the address of an alleged crime victim or any family member of an alleged crime victim or evidence of the name and address of any place of employment of an alleged crime victim or any family member of an alleged crime victim is relevant only if it meets the criteria under s. 904.01
. District attorneys shall make appropriate objections if they believe that evidence of this information, which is being elicited by any party, is not relevant in the action or proceeding.
History: 1985 a. 132
; 1995 a. 77
Communication in farmer assistance programs. 904.15(1)(1)
Except as provided under sub. (2)
, no oral or written communication made in the course of providing or receiving advice or counseling under s. 93.51
or in providing or receiving assistance under s. 93.41
is admissible in evidence or subject to discovery or compulsory process in any judicial or administrative proceeding.
904.15(2)(a)(a) Subsection (1)
does not apply to information relating to possible criminal conduct.
(b) Subsection (1)
does not apply if the person receiving advice or counseling under s. 93.51
or assistance under s. 93.41
consents to admission or discovery of the communication.
A court may admit evidence otherwise barred by this section if necessary to prevent a manifest injustice.
History: 1997 a. 264
Health care reports. 904.16(1)(b)
"Regulatory agency" means the department of regulation and licensing [safety and professional services] or the division within the department of health services that conducts quality assurance activities related to health care providers.
NOTE: The correct agency name is shown in brackets. Corrective legislation is pending.
Except as provided in sub. (3)
, the following may not be used as evidence in a civil or criminal action brought against a health care provider: