Wisconsin

(information last updated Fall 2017)

Ongoing Projects:

State Project:

“The department [of natural resources] shall establish a stream watch program to encourage volunteer activities of the community . . . to monitor and improve stream quality[.]”  Wisc. Stat. § 23.094.

Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

A person commits trespass by entering the land of another without “express or implied consent[.]”  Wisc. Stat. § 943.13.  However, this prohibition does not apply to “open land,” which is land that is not “in the immediate vicinity[] of a structure or improvement.”  Id.

Other Provisions:

Trespass against “energy provider property,” which is “property that is part of an electric generation, distribution, or transmission system or part of a natural gas distribution system,” including decommissioned nuclear power plants, is a felony.  Wisc. Stat. § 943.143.

Drone Laws:

Drone Law

“No person may interfere or attempt to interfere with lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping with the intent to prevent the taking of a wild animal, or intentionally interfere with or intentionally attempt to interfere with an activity associated with lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping, by . . . [p]hotographing, videotaping, audiotaping, or through other electronic means, monitoring or recording the activities of the person.” The prohibited conduct explicitly includes “using a drone” to carry out these activities.” Wisc. Stat. § 29.083(2).

Stalking Laws:

Criminal Law:

“Whoever meets all of the following criteria is guilty of a Class I felony:

(a)  The actor intentionally engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person under the same circumstances to suffer serious emotional distress or to fear bodily injury to or the death of himself or herself or a member of his or her family or household.

(b)  The actor knows or should know that at least one of the acts that constitute the course of conduct will cause the specific person to suffer serious emotional distress or place the specific person in reasonable fear of bodily injury to or the death of himself or herself or a member of his or her family or household.

(c)  The actors acts cause the specific person to suffer serious emotional distress or induce fear in the specific person of bodily injury to or the death of himself or herself or a member of his or her family or household.”  Wis. Stat. § 940.32(2).

Use of Information:

Although our research is incomplete, these provisions address the use of information collected by citizens.

Explicitly Allows:

The state Department of Natural Resources has been ordered to create a volunteer water quality monitoring group.  See supra “Ongoing Projects.”

Prohibitive by Effect:

However, to be a part of that group, a would-be citizen scientist must “[a]ttend a department-sponsored training and demonstrate requisite skill in . . . monitoring protocol[,]”  Wis. Admin. Code § 192.05, and “register[] with the department.” Wis. Admin. Code § 192.06.

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires certification that “[t]he allegations and other factual contentions stated in the paper have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery.”  Wis. Stat.. § 802.05.

Authentication or Chain of Custody:

“The requirements of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility are satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.”  Wis. Stat. § 909.01.

Expert Testimony:

Daubert standard.  See Wis. Stat. § 907.02(1); In re Commitment of Alger, 858 N.W.2d 346, 365 (2015).

Discussion

Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.