Opinion by Justice Crooks, with Justices Prosser and Ziegler
¶4 ... we hold as follows: first, that the circuit court did not erroneously exercise its discretion in admitting the expert opinion testimony of Attorney David Cohen that LaCount had engaged in a securities transaction; second, that the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to support LaCount's conviction for securities fraud; third, that the circuit court did not err by allowing into evidence the results of the search of GP&L's [Gates, Paul & Lear, L.L.C.] office; and, fourth, that the circuit court's finding that LaCount was a habitual criminal did not violate LaCount's right to a jury trial on that issue.
Concurrence by Justice Bradley, with Chief Justice Abrahamson, and Justice Butler
¶60 As the majority notes, LaCount has utterly failed to establish that any particular piece of evidence was seized from his personal office as opposed to being seized from another place in GP&L's offices. He has therefore failed to establish that he had a reasonable expectation of privacy in any record.
¶62 Rather than ending its inquiry with the determination that LaCount has failed to meet his burden, the majority makes several unnecessary and problematic determinations...
Concurrence by Justice Roggensack
¶72 ... I write separately to point out the following: (1) it was an erroneous exercise of discretion to permit an expert witness, Cohen, to define "investment contract," which is a legal term of art, because explaining the law to the jury is the exclusive province of the circuit court; (2) it was also an erroneous exercise of discretion to permit Cohen to testify that LaCount committed an element of the crime——here, the sale of a security in the form of an investment contract. However, because I also conclude that the circuit court's errors were harmless, a new trial is not warranted. ...
Criminal Law / Procedure: Securities Fraud - Expert Legal Opinion - Execution of Search Warrant at Business Office - Determination of Habitual Criminality by Court, Supreme Court Digest, by Prof. Daniel D. Blinka and Prof. Thomas J. Hammer, Wisconsin Lawyer, August 2008
Attorneys can testify as expert witnesses: Testimony regarding definition of security was properly admitted, by David Ziemer, Wisconsin Law Journal, June 16, 2008
Oral argument Audio, January 16, 2008
(see earlier post on grant of review)