2010 Wisconsin Code
Chapter 946. Crimes against government and its administration.
946.12 Misconduct in public office.

946.12

946.12 Misconduct in public office. Any public officer or public employee who does any of the following is guilty of a Class I felony:

946.12(1)

(1) Intentionally fails or refuses to perform a known mandatory, nondiscretionary, ministerial duty of the officer's or employee's office or employment within the time or in the manner required by law; or

946.12(2)

(2) In the officer's or employee's capacity as such officer or employee, does an act which the officer or employee knows is in excess of the officer's or employee's lawful authority or which the officer or employee knows the officer or employee is forbidden by law to do in the officer's or employee's official capacity; or

946.12(3)

(3) Whether by act of commission or omission, in the officer's or employee's capacity as such officer or employee exercises a discretionary power in a manner inconsistent with the duties of the officer's or employee's office or employment or the rights of others and with intent to obtain a dishonest advantage for the officer or employee or another; or

946.12(4)

(4) In the officer's or employee's capacity as such officer or employee, makes an entry in an account or record book or return, certificate, report or statement which in a material respect the officer or employee intentionally falsifies; or

946.12(5)

(5) Under color of the officer's or employee's office or employment, intentionally solicits or accepts for the performance of any service or duty anything of value which the officer or employee knows is greater or less than is fixed by law.

946.12 - ANNOT.

History: 1977 c. 173; 1993 a. 486; 2001 a. 109.

946.12 - ANNOT.

Sub. (5) prohibits misconduct in public office with constitutional specificity. Ryan v. State, 79 Wis. 2d 83, 255 N.W.2d 910 (1977).

946.12 - ANNOT.

Sub. (3) applies to a corrupt act under color of office and under de facto powers conferred by practice and usage. A person who is not a public officer may be charged as a party to the crime of official misconduct. State v. Tronca, 84 Wis. 2d 68, 267 N.W.2d 216 (1978).

946.12 - ANNOT.

An on-duty prison guard did not violate sub. (2) by fornicating with a prisoner in a cell. State v. Schmit, 115 Wis. 2d 657, 340 N.W.2d 752 (Ct. App. 1983).

946.12 - ANNOT.

Sub. (3) is not unconstitutionally vague. It does not fail to give notice that hiring and directing staff to work on political campaigns on state time with state resources is a violation. A legislator's duty under this section may be determined by reference to a variety of sources including the Senate Policy Manual, applicable statutes, and legislative rules and guidelines. The Senate Policy Manual and senate guidelines restricted political campaigning with public resources. State v. Chvala, 2004 WI App 53, 271 Wis. 2d 115, 678 N.W.2d 880, 03-0442. Affirmed. 2005 WI 30, 279 Wis. 2d 216, 693 N.W.2d 747, 03-0442. See also State v. Jensen, 2004 WI App 89, 272 Wis. 2d 707, 684 N.W.2d 136, 03-0106. Affirmed. 2005 WI 31, 279 Wis. 2d 220, 694 N.W.2d 56, 03-0106.

946.12 - ANNOT.

Sub. (3) regulates conduct and not speech and is not subject to an overbreadth challenge under the 1st amendment. Legislators or their employees are not prohibited from doing or saying anything related to participation in political campaigns so long as they do not use state resources for that purpose. Legitimate legislative activity is not constrained by this statute. The line between "legislative activity" and "political activity" is sufficiently clear to prevent any confusion as to what conduct is prohibited under this statute. State v. Chvala, 2004 WI App 53, 271 Wis. 2d 115, 678 N.W.2d 880, 03-0442. Affirmed. 2005 WI 30, 279 Wis. 2d 216, 693 N.W.2d 747, 03-0442. See also State v. Jensen, 2004 WI App 89, 272 Wis. 2d 707, 684 N.W.2d 136, 03-0106. Affirmed. 2005 WI 31, 279 Wis. 2d 220, 694 N.W.2d 56, 03-0106.

946.12 - ANNOT.

Enforcement of sub. (3) against a legislator does not violate the separation of powers doctrine. Enforcement does not require the courts to enforce legislative rules governing the enactment of legislation. Rather, the courts are asked to enforce a penal statute that relates to the duties of a legislator. A court may interpret an internal legislative rule to determine criminal liability if, when applied to the facts of the specific case, the rule is not ambiguous. State v. Chvala, 2004 WI App 53, 271 Wis. 2d 115, 678 N.W.2d 880, 03-0442. Affirmed. 2005 WI 30, 279 Wis. 2d 216, 693 N.W.2d 747, 03-0442. See also State v. Jensen, 2004 WI App 89, 272 Wis. 2d 707, 684 N.W.2d 136, 03-0106. Affirmed. 2005 WI 31, 279 Wis. 2d 220, 694 N.W.2d 56, 03-0106.

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