Although a relatively low-level felony charge in Wisconsin, battery to a juror charges are incredibly serious. Prosecutors and judges are likely to consider these charges aggravated, as they strike at the very foundation of the criminal justice system. For these reasons, battery to a juror charges frequently attract media attention. It’s for all these reasons that hiring a top criminal defense attorney is of crucial importance moving forward.
At Van Severen Law Office, S.C., we focus 100% of our resources on defending individuals facing serious charges throughout Wisconsin. This focus frequently includes violent charges, and certainly includes battery to a juror charges. Our aggressive, smart approaches to defending individuals frequently yields positive results, even when facing serious charges.
Finally, we offer free consultations to all potential clients. During that free consultation, you’ll meet with one of our criminal defense attorneys about your case. We’ll discuss potential strategies for your case, you can ask questions, and we’ll determine whether moving forward makes sense. To schedule a consultation, call us at (414) 270-0202.
Battery to jurors is prohibited in section 940.20(3) of the Wisconsin Statutes. The law states:
Battery to jurors. Whoever intentionally causes bodily harm to a person who he or she knows or has reason to know is or was a grand or petit juror, and by reason of any verdict or indictment assented to by the person, without the consent of the person injured, is guilty of a Class H felony.
Battery to jurors is a Class H felony. That means that upon conviction for the offense, you face a maximum penalty of 6 years in prison, $10,000.00 in fines, or both. This is obviously a significant penalty, as a prison sentence is possible.
Secondly, there’s an important component to this charge that we should discuss off the bat: battery to a juror charges aren’t simply the result of beating up some random juror. Instead, the battery to the juror must occur because of “any verdict or indictment” approved by the juror. Similarly, attacking a juror regarding a verdict they did not agree with does not satisfy this statute.
Finally, while some statutes require different levels of bodily harm (great bodily harm vs. bodily harm), this charge simply requires bodily harm. This is the lowest level of harm required in criminal statutes in Wisconsin.
Most criminal charges in Wisconsin are accompanied by jury instructions. Jury instructions are documents that break down a charge into separate parts, or elements. Importantly, the government must prove all the elements of a criminal charge before the defendant can be convicted.
Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 1232 requires:
As we discussed in the previous paragraph, the definition of bodily harm is certainly important here. The jury instruction defines bodily harm as “physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.” It’s important to recognize that pain, by itself, is enough to satisfy this requirement. Bruises, cuts, or other injuries are not required to satisfy the definition of bodily harm.
This is one of the reasons we offer free consultations. While we can discuss issues we frequently encounter in criminal cases in this article, an actual conversation will lead to more definite answers. At that consultation we can begin figuring out what winning your case means, how likely that result is, and how to achieve it.
But one of the issues that quickly pops out regarding this charge is the requirement that the bodily harm occur in connection with the juror’s affirmative finding regarding a verdict or indictment. Without some kind of circumstantial evidence supporting this element, it will likely be difficult for the government to prove a case against you. Simply attacking someone who was a juror in a case against you may be difficult for the government to prove (but certainly still subjects you to other charges, like misdemeanor battery or substantial battery).
Finding that additional evidence could involve police use of search warrants. They’ll like want a statement from you (do not give one). They may attempt to use subpoenas to obtain telephone or internet data. All of these things are possible, but they’re also potential bases for pre-trial motions. Preserving these motions is important for your attorney – do not agree to police searching your property or your devices.
Your first task is to avoid consenting to police searches. Your second one is to hire the best criminal defense lawyer you can afford. Fortunately for you, Van Severen Law Office, S.C. is a law firm comprised of some of the best criminal defense attorneys in Milwaukee. We’ve defended violent charges before, we’ve dealt with jurors before, and we may be able to help.
We offer free consultation to potential clients. At that consultation, we can begin talking about your case and determine how we’re able to help. If we’re a match, we will proceed defending you. Contact us immediately at (414) 270-0202 and let’s start fighting.