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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4 Thoughts to “Still no decision in Wisconsin GPS lawsuit”

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  1. William Gerald Bennett

    I have been on the registry for 20 years following a plea agreement NOT to have to register… no sooner did I sign the written negotiated plea agreement and they registered me the same day anyways… I have spoke to every attorney I have ever had about this and they all claim it is outside the scope of their representation…they don’t care what is legal in Wisconsin… or even if a higher court rules in our favor… they do whatever they want…

  2. William Gerald Bennett

    In Packingham v. North Carolina (2016) The United States Supreme Court struck down any law or supervision rules that interfere with a registrants ability to utilize social media as long as the defendant did not use the internet to facilitate their offense… but wouldn’t you know Wisconsin doesn’t care what the highest court in the land says as my agent still directed me to shut down all of my social media accounts…

  3. William Gerald Bennett

    The craziest part of this entire GPS equation is that regardless how much time any defendant may serve on GPS monitoring there is still no sentence credit provision toward the completion of anyone’s sentence… The department currently determines hours in your residence as well as hours out as well as where each individual is allowed to go… so if any individual is “locked down” in their residence for any amount of hours everyday, they still receive zero sentence credit toward service of their sentence… while an individual who is placed on ankle monitoring for Huber receives sentence credit for everyday served… can anyone say “equal protection” because to say non registrants get credit while registrants do not is severely demonstrative of legal bias to an otherwise similarly situated class in terms of anyone required to wear monitoring equipment…

  4. Marlin Scott

    It would be good if several in North Carolina banned together an filed a simular class action case. I have long wanted to get in on the action because of the life-time sentence of GPS. How can the Reasonableness clause be applied for one class of offenders but not for others being subjected to life-time SBM? And how would a person without the financial capability become involved in lobbying for changes in these laws?