Child sex assault conviction stands
MADISON The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday declined to hear the appeal of a town of Lafayette man convicted of one count of first-degree sexual assault of a 4-year-old girl and 20 counts of possession of child pornography of the 4-year-old as a repeat offender.
Leon L. Laudie, 50, now an inmate in the Green Bay Correctional Institution where he is serving a life sentence without parole, appealed his convictions claiming Walworth County Judge James Carlson erred in allowing prosecutors to introduce at trial a videotaped statement by the victim.
Laudie also contended Carlson erred when he denied a motion to suppress a statement Laudie gave to police.
The case was appealed to District 2 Court of Appeals. That court agreed with Carlson that the victim “had an understanding of the importance of telling the truth.” The appeals court also noted the child’s statement was corroborated by the nude photos of the victim on Laudie’s home computer, including photos showing sexual contact he had with her.
The appeals court also agreed with Carlson that Laudie was not in custody for Miranda purposes when he gave his statement to police in a squad car.
“We are satisfied that a reasonable person in Laudie’s position would not believe him or herself to be in custody at the time of the squad car statement,” the appeals court wrote in its Dec. 14, 2011 decision.
“Even if the circuit court had erred in admitting the statement, such an admission would constitute harmless error,” the appeals court said.