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Wis. Supreme Court: Gratiot man denied right to argue self-defense
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MADISON - A Gratiot farmer was denied his right to argue self-defense at trial for resisting game wardens who forcibly disarmed him at the end of the 2012 deer gun hunting season, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. By a 4-2 vote, with Justice Ann Walsh Bradley not participating, the state's high court concluded that Robert J. Stietz's constitutional right to present a self-defense argument before jurors was erroneously denied by visiting Green County Circuit Court Judge James Beer. "The evidence was sufficient ... because a reasonable fact-finder could have determined that the defendant reasonably believed that the two men who accosted him with weapons on his (uncle's) land ... were not wardens with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; that the defendant reasonably believed that the two men were trespassers hunting illegally," Justice Shirley Abrahamson wrote in the 24-page decision.