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Plea Colloquy

WI Court of Appeals – District IV

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. Victoria L. Conley

Case No.: 2019AP902-CR

Officials: BLANCHARD, J.

Focus: Plea Colloquy

Victoria Conley entered a plea of no contest to a single count of disorderly conduct as a criminal offense. She now appeals the judgment of conviction and an order denying her motion for postconviction relief. In the postconviction motion, Conley challenged her plea under WIS. STAT. § 971.08 and State v. Bangert, 131 Wis. 2d 246, 389 N.W.2d 12 (1986). Specifically, Conley relied on § 971.08(1)(a), which provides in pertinent part that the plea-taking court must “determine that the plea is made voluntarily with understanding of the nature of the charge.” She argued that she did not understand the nature of the crime at the time of the plea, resulting in a manifest injustice.

After holding an evidentiary hearing on the motion, the circuit court rejected Conley’s argument, finding that Conley understood the nature of the crime. I assume without deciding that Conley is correct that the plea colloquy taken by the circuit court was defective because the court failed to establish Conley’s understanding of the nature of the crime. However, I conclude that the State showed by clear and convincing evidence that Conley entered her plea knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently and that the circuit court did not clearly err in later finding, based on the entire record, that at the time of her plea Conley understood the nature of the crime. I also reject a difficult-to-follow argument by Conley focusing on the concept of duplicity. Accordingly, I affirm.

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Derek A Hawkins is trademark corporate counsel for Harley-Davidson. Hawkins oversees the prosecution and maintenance of the Harley-Davidson’s international trademark portfolio in emerging markets.

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