Still no decision in Wisconsin GPS lawsuit

By Dave . . . In March 2019, a federal class-action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court by attorneys Adele Nicholas and Mark Weinberg on behalf of eight people on the registry living in Wisconsin. The suit was a response to a 2017 opinion by then Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel to expand the class of Wisconsin registrants required to wear GPS tracking devices for life.

Individuals convicted of sex offenses on two or more separate occasions were already subject to lifetime GPS monitoring. However, in 2017, Schimel re-interpreted the law to include anyone convicted of more than one count — even if the charges stemmed from only one occasion.

In December 2019, the U.S. District Court dismissed the suit and denied the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction blocking the GPS monitoring. Three of the plaintiffs immediately appealed to the 7th Circuit.

Finally, in September 2020, oral arguments were presented to a panel of 7th Circuit judges. Among other things, plaintiffs’ counsel spoke of the extreme intrusiveness of GPS and that it was imposed after the plaintiffs’ sentences were completed. Also, the State conceded it did not have data to support that the GPS technology served its intended purpose: to reduce future crimes.

What happens next? We wait.

There is no deadline for the 7th Circuit to make its decision. In the meantime, nothing has changed. Plaintiffs — and everyone else affected — still have to abide by the re-interpretation of the “separate occasions” statute.

NARSOL will report more on this as soon as a decision is announced.

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Dave found NARSOL through our website. Now he is NARSOL's contact in Wisconsin, working to help those on the registry understand that they can be their own advocates if they will get involved.

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    • #84056 Reply

      Tim in WI

      Too much presumption.,
      The reliance on North Carolina V Grady 575 US 306(2015) by the plaintiffs here is the crux of hold up IMO. The facts in Grady concerned an offender who’d attacked a child in his own home\residence. The issue was Satellite Based Monitoring in Grady and is not very different in intent, because WI Congress uses and calls it GPS (bracelet). By any name we still describe and discuss the people’s use of the database driven infrastructure. WI GPS Tracking like NC SBM also utilizes restraint on bearer movement by necessitating permissions from gov agents after end of sentence as here.
      Lawyers in Grady successfully argued Gradys’ case on the fact the man had not evidenced violence outside of his own home (MODIS) and therefore the ex-post exposure to North Carolina ‘s SBM, which “actively” searches for and identified Grady’s exact position multiple times( 37-58 times per minute) in his home, and anywhere he went or moved thus was in effect rendering the NC SBM regime continious* search without the necessary prerequisites. Much of the justification for such regimes are psychologically based sex and violence or compulsion (Operand-i in criminal behavioral). Obviously searching a rapist continuously in his own home prevents nothing and given Grady had not been proven the invasion threat by his original wrong doing. I suspect the delay is infact multiple rulings for differences in operandi, and mixed remands to various contexts.and cases.

      On of the problems with the use of ex post law by Congress is the temporal challenges in differing parties because of the fact that different conviction & judgement dates necessarily require different interpretations as persons are situated differently with relevant statute dates and timeframes.

    • #84069 Reply


      This is Wisconsin. I haven’t seen anything ever come out positive for ANY OFFENDER convicted in that State. If they can apply, then change the law at will, and be able to bypass ex post facto laws, i see this as a no win again. As i have said before, and i have been dealing with Wisconsin since my imposed sentence in 1983, they be making money. That to a politician, and job security, is all they want.. more money to get out of gps.

      • #84079 Reply

        Tim in WI

        We truly live in the most socialist governed state in the 50. Judge Rehnquist was raised seeped in such notions because of the environment where and how he was raised. We are all products of our rearing! The founders were seeped in Roman and greek culturs. Wisconsin’s political history and especially Milwaukee’s history is dominated by socialist thought. These people think a database like SOR will aid the protection before attack occurs. Nothing can be further from the truth. Obviously the registries harshly diminish the sovereignty of the sex offender citizen, but make no mistake, the rest of citizens sovereignty went with them. They just didn’t know it!
        Nevertheless it becomes apparent!
        (Insert database exploitation links here.)
        Ad infinitum..

    • #84192 Reply

      John G Foellmi

      Every day that these justices delay in making a decision on this case, which clearly is against WI, just continues to make me and countless other suffer thru the daily regiment of keeping the GPS operating so that we can continue our not so completely normal lives and not return to jail.

      I was discharged in late June 2019 and have had no problems. BUT, I still can’t go downhill skiing, water skiing, swimming , do long sessions in a spa or sauna, or anything where water or ANYTHING can severely affect my GPS. It is a burden to deal and I want it off now. I did my 15 years. Let me do the rest of my years truly free.

    • #84188 Reply


      constantly charging the battery should be worth a lot of money to proponents making that technical service as valuable as the need for monitoring.

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