WI Court of Supreme Court
Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. Oscar C. Thomas
Case No.: 2020AP000032-CR
Officials: Patience Drake Roggensack, J.
Focus: Postconviction Motion – Evidentiary Burden
The court of appeals affirmed the circuit court’s judgment of conviction for first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree sexual assault, and false imprisonment, and its denial of Thomas’s postconviction motion.
The Supreme Court accepted two issues for review. First, whether Thomas’s confession of sexual assault was corroborated by a significant fact, and the court concludes it was. This opinion is the majority opinion for the discussion of corroboration. Second, whether the cross-examination of Thomas’s expert witness by use of a Wisconsin Crime Lab Report (“the Report”) that was not in evidence and whose author did not testify violated Thomas’s confrontation right.
The Supreme Court holds (1) the State sufficiently corroborated Defendant’s confession of sexual assault; and (2) the State improperly used the report’s content for its truth during closing arguments, but the circuit court’s error in permitting this argument was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.