State v. Rachwal

In State v. Rachwal, 159 Wis. 2d 494, 465 N.W.2d 490 (1991), the judge failed to directly ask the defendant whether his prior offense existed, and the defendant never specifically acknowledged the offense. However, the conviction was upheld because, during the plea colloquy, the judge specifically drew the defendant's attention to the repeater allegation in the complaint and advised the defendant of the increased penalty he would face under the repeater provision. The defendant said he understood. See Rachwal, 159 Wis. 2d at 502-03. The supreme court concluded that the defendant admitted the repeater allegation, but observed that the circumstances "approach the absolute bare minimum ...." Id. at 513. It further warned that, "in the future, it may be that his plea of guilty or no contest would not constitute an admission, e.g., if the judge does not conduct the questioning as did the judge here so as to ascertain the defendant's understanding of the meaning and potential consequences of such a plea." Id. at 512.