Nude Baby Photos at the Center of Controversy

Taking photos of kids when they’re young and as they grow up is a parent’s greatest joy. From the time they’re born, most kids are carefully photographed at every semi-major life event. Most photos are concentrated during the first three or so years of the child’s life. It’s not uncommon for some of these photos to show the child either partially nude or fully nude.

Obviously, it is illegal to possess or manufacture child pornography, but current Wisconsin law protects parents by allowing them to have and take nude baby photos of their children. This exception to the law has been around for many years, but State Representative John Jagler is claiming the exemption is too broad.

In his appeal for more restrictive laws Jagler tells a story of a Wisconsin man who secretly recorded his daughter while she was nude. The man was a registered sex offender and was being monitored, but because of the current language of the law police were not able to make an arrest.

The main reason the man was not arrested is that the content of the video was not overtly sexual, and this is an area Jagler wants to address. The exemption for parents, “would still be there, but it would say if your intent or use of these photos is for sexual gratification…that gives prosecutors a tool that they can use to charge.”

This proposal would create a fair amount of grey area, and Jagler acknowledges that. He insists he isn’t going to break down your front door and take all your baby photos. The goal of the proposed new law is to give law enforcement the ability to go after people who are acting outside of the intent of the exemption.

The bill hasn’t been voted on yet, so only time will tell if changes will actually be made.

Wisconsin Strip Search

As part of a large settlement deal involving multiple cases, Milwaukee city officials have proposed paying $5 million to 74 African-Americans who are suing the city for what they claim to be unlawful strip searches.

These strip searches and body cavity searches were conducted by police officers looking for drugs. The city stated the proposed settlement is by no means an admission of liability, but City Attorney Grant Langley said he recommends the settlement because “it’s in the city’s best interest to manage risks involved in a reasonable and responsible manner.”

The proposal has been approved by a judiciary committee and then got a final approval from the Common Council and Mayor Barrett.

In the wake of this controversial court battle, strip and body cavity searches have become a hot topic in the news. State laws and police protocol require approval from high ranking officers before any cavity or strip search is conducted.

Strip Search

Officers can pat down any suspect during an investigation, but if the officer has reason to believe the suspect is hiding weapons, drugs, or any other contraband in a private area such as inside their underwear or bra, the officer must request a strip search.

This request must be approved by a captain or an officer of higher rank. Two officers who are the same gender as the suspect, must do the search in a private location. Under no circumstances can the search be videoed.

Cavity Searches

Cavity searches have even more restrictions and regulations than strip searches. Police officers are not allowed to conduct a cavity search, only doctors are allowed to perform body cavity searches. Before the cavity search is started, the officer must get a warrant.

Strip and cavity searches must be done in the proper way. This right is granted to every American through the fourth amendment. If you think you have been the victim of any kind of unlawful search or seizure call the lawyers at Huppertz & Powers.

The Plight of Steven Avery

The movie and TV streaming service, Netflix, has forever changed our society. By crushing movie rental giant Blockbuster, going to a brick and mortar store to rent movies is now a thing of the past. Netflix has now even started to produce their own shows and movies, with hits like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Now Netflix has cast their influential spotlight on an event that shook our beloved state of Wisconsin to the core. Steven Avery

The documentary series Making a Murderer details the life of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin native from Manitowoc County. Avery grew up in a tight-knit blue-collar family, with little money and little education. Throughout his life he had several run-ins with law enforcement for everything from burglary to animal cruelty, but in 1985 he would be charged with a crime more heinous than anything else he’d ever been accused of.

Avery was charged with sexually assaulting a prominent woman in the community. Penny Ann Beernsten was out running along the Lake Michigan shoreline and was apprehended by an unknown man who forced her into a wooded area and sexually assaulted her.

Avery was swiftly arrested and convicted. He spent 18 years in prison until DNA evidence exonerated him of the crime. Once released, he announced that he would be suing the state for wrongful imprisonment. If Avery won he would receive $36 million from the state.

A year after he was released from prison Avery was charged with the murder of Teresa Halbach, a photographer who had disappeared after taking photos for Avery’s car. Avery claimed he was set up by law enforcement to prevent him from winning his pending civil case. Despite speculation and conspiracy theories, Avery was convicted and is now serving a life sentence at Waupun Correctional Institution.

Making a Murderer shines a bright light on a dark spot in our society. Even when law enforcement has the best intentions, mistakes can happen. Steven Avery served 18 years for a crime he did not commit, but thanks to his dedication he was freed for a short time. The lawyers at Huppertz & Powers have a dedication that is unmatched by any criminal defense attorney in Wisconsin.

New Internet Sex Crimes Bill

A bill has been introduced that would allow Wisconsin law enforcement to have more resources to fight internet sex crimes against children. The bill is called Alicia’s Law, named after a survivor of an abduction and sexual assault, Alicia Kozakiewicz, and is authored by Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, and Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, and Attorney General Brad Schimel.

Kozakiewicz was abducted when was 13 and is now a popular advocate for internet safety and missing persons.

The bill will do two things: provide a dedicated source of funding for the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force and allow the state Attorney General to subpoena internet providers.

Funding

If the bill is passed anyone convicted of a crime in Wisconsin will be required to pay an internet crimes against children surcharge. The charge will be $20 for misdemeanors and $40 for felonies. It is estimated that these surcharges will create $2.2 million in funding.

While the bill has support on both sides of the aisle, some have voiced concerns that this kind of surcharge is an unreliable source of income.

Subpoena

Under this bill the state Attorney General will have the power to issue an administrative subpoena to get information from internet providers. This kind of leverage will allow police to use IP addresses to track down people committing internet sex crimes against children. With information like this law enforcement can quickly decide who has the proper jurisdiction to take the case.

Lawmakers are expected to act swiftly on this bill and send it to the governor’s desk as soon as possible.

Domestic Violence in Wisconsin

There are several factors that need to meet in order for a crime to be considered domestic violence (or domestic abuse) in the state of Wisconsin. First the crime must be committed against a family member or fellow household member. Next the defendant must inflict injury, pain, fear, or sexual assault on the victim.

Domestic violence carries a harsher penalty than other crimes in some states, but domestic violence in Wisconsin does not have harsher penalties.

Getting Arrested for Domestic Violence

Anytime a police officer suspects domestic violence has occurred, the officer must take the defendant into custody. In order for the officer to have reasonable grounds for an arrest there must be evidence that:

  • continued abuse is likely
  • physical injury to the victim occurred
  • the defendant is the predominant aggressor

Once the defendant is arrested they cannot be released until they have seen a judge or posted bail. Regardless of how fast the defendant is released from custody, they cannot have any contact with the victim for 72 hours after the arrest. This means the defendant cannot go to the victims residents or have a 3rd party contact the victim. The only exception to this rule is if the victim signs a waiver.

Victims of domestic violence can file for a restraining order against the defendant, which will extend the 72 hour no contact period. If the defendant violates the terms of the restraining order they will be arrested again.

If you have been charged with domestic violence, you need to get legal help as soon as possible. The Wisconsin domestic violence lawyers at Huppertz & Powers have the experience needed to defend clients accused of domestic violence.

Wisconsin Probation Rules

Getting out of prison and trying to re-enter society isn’t always easy. Readjusting to life outside of the prison routine presents many challenges. One of the hardest parts of readjusting is knowing what you can and can’t do while you’re on probation. Here’s a helpful list of Wisconsin probation rules.

First you should understand that the state of Wisconsin doesn’t actually assign anyone probation. Wisconsin uses a system known as “extended supervision.” For the most part extended supervision works a lot like probation, with a few key differences. With extended supervision if you’re convicted of breaking the rules of your supervision you might have to serve the rest of your sentence in jail.

Voting

Convicted felons are not allowed to vote in Wisconsin unless the felon has been restored to civil rights. The only way for a felon to have their civil rights restored is to no longer be under supervision.

Traveling

In order to leave the state of Wisconsin you need to get permission from your agent. You can get a travel permit from your agent for up to 15 days. Under no circumstances can you leave the country while under supervision.

Cars

Buying, selling, trading or operating a car all need to be approved by your agent.

Guns

Convicted felons have a lifelong ban on possessing a firearm and or ammunition. A ban may also be enforced for people convicted of certain violent crimes and drug crimes. Even after you are no longer under supervision you may still be banned from firearms depending on where you live, so it’s best to check with your agent and or local district attorney.

There are many other Wisconsin probation rules, but the best rule of thumb is to always check with your agent and or attorney if you ever have any questions. The Wisconsin probation violations attorneys at Huppertz & Powers can be a great resource for anyone who has been accused of violating their probation.

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