2017 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 904. Evidence — relevancy and its limits.
904.06 Habit; routine practice.

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 904.06 (2017)

904.06 Habit; routine practice.

(1)Admissibility. Except as provided in s. 972.11 (2), evidence of the habit of a person or of the routine practice of an organization, whether corroborated or not and regardless of the presence of eyewitnesses, is relevant to prove that the conduct of the person or organization on a particular occasion was in conformity with the habit or routine practice.

(2)Method of proof. Habit or routine practice may be proved by testimony in the form of an opinion or by specific instances of conduct sufficient in number to warrant a finding that the habit existed or that the practice was routine.

History: Sup. Ct. Order, 59 Wis. 2d R1, R83 (1973); 1975 c. 184.

Although a specific instance of conduct occurs only once, the evidence may be admissible under sub. (2). French v. Sorano, 74 Wis. 2d 460, 247 N.W.2d 182 (1976).

Use of specific instances evidence is discussed. State v. Evans, 187 Wis. 2d 66, 522 N.W.2d 554 (Ct. App. 1994).

Habit evidence must be distinguished from character evidence. Character is a generalized description of a person's disposition or of the disposition in respect to a general trait. Habit is more specific denoting one's regular response to a repeated situation. However, habit need not be “semi-automatic" or “virtually unconscious." Steinberg v. Arcilla, 194 Wis. 2d 759, 535 N.W.2d 444 (Ct. App. 1995).

The greater latitude given under Davidson for allowing other acts evidence in child sexual assault cases because of the difficulty sexually abused children experience in testifying, and the difficulty prosecutors have in obtaining admissible evidence in such cases was properly applied when the victim, although an adult, functioned at the level of an 18-month-old, having an inability to recount what happened. This greater latitude is not restricted to allowing evidence of prior sexual assaults and was properly applied to allow evidence of pornography viewed by the defendant that helped to demonstrate motive. State v. Normington, 2008 WI App 8, 306 Wis. 2d 727, 744 N.W.2d 867, 07-0382.

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