State v. Elson

In State v. Elson, 60 Wis. 2d 54, 208 N.W.2d 363 (1973), the supreme court upheld the conviction of an attorney who refused to leave a hospital until he saw his client because his vigorous protestations occurred in the ward of a mental hospital, upsetting several patients. The Court upheld a jury verdict which found that an attorney, who refused to leave a mental ward until he saw his client, exhibited conduct that tended to cause or provoke a disturbance. The court noted that numerous patients were gathering in response to the attorney's arguments and refusals to leave the ward. See id. at 60, 208 N.W.2d at 367. Further, a nurse and hospital aide testified that one patient nearby became agitated and began yelling loudly. There was also testimony that several of the patients who gathered to listen to the commotion often strike out when agitated. See id. at 62, 208 N.W.2d at 368. The court relied on this testimony, the effect the attorney's behavior had on patients at the hospital, as the basis for the jury's finding that the behavior tended to cause or provoke a disturbance.