State v. Hanson

In State v. Hanson, 2000 WI App 10, 232 Wis. 2d 291, 302, 606 N.W.2d 278 (Ct. App. 1999), review denied, 234 Wis. 2d 177, 612 N.W.2d 733 (Wis. Apr. 26, 2000), the plea agreement required the State to cap its sentencing recommendation at ten years. In the course of her sentencing remarks, the prosecutor stated that the State was standing by the plea agreement. However, the prosecutor then added: "Having said that, this is an extremely violent case. This is an individual who constitutes a clear and present danger, not only to the two women who have been in intimate relationships with the Defendant, but also to the community at large. I urge the Court to consider all of the information that has been presented to the Court, in fashioning a sentence that is both fair to the Defendant and to the victim." (Hanson, 232 Wis. 2d at 296.) In assessing whether these statements constituted a breach of the plea agreement, we looked to the entire sentencing proceeding to get "the true flavor" of the prosecutor's remarks. The Court held that the prosecutor's "having said that" remark, followed by her negative impressions regarding the defendant, did not breach the plea agreement. See Hanson, 232 Wis. 2d at 303. In conducting that exercise, the Court harmonized the concomitant duties of the prosecutor to abide by the plea agreement and to present relevant sentencing information to the court even if the information is unfavorable to the defendant. See Hanson, 232 Wis. 2d at 301-02.