Garcia v. State

In Garcia v. State, 73 Wis. 2d 651, 245 N.W.2d 654 (1976), a new trial was required in the interests of justice where a defendant was convicted of discharging a firearm into a building as a party to a crime. See id. at 653. The key evidence supporting the charge was testimony from the building owner, who positively identified Garcia as the person who instructed the gunman to shoot into her home. See id. Garcia denied the accusation and produced an alibi. See id. In a postconviction motion, Garcia offered as a witness the driver of the car involved in the shooting who claimed that Garcia was not present or in any way involved with the shooting. See id. Garcia had known of this testimony before trial but did not want to involve his friends and did not believe that he would be convicted of the charge. See id. The trial court refused to allow the witness to testify. See id. at 654. The Court reversed and remanded the case for a new trial, stating that "the administration of justice is and should be a search for the truth." Id. at 655. The court held that the witness's testimony directly called into question whether the controversy was fully tried. See id. In ordering a new trial, the court noted that the excluded testimony directly contradicted the testimony of the building owner and could have influenced the jury's verdict. See id.