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§ 948.31, Interference with Child Custody/Abduction: Construction of Elements

State v. Stanley A. Samuel, 2001 WI App 25, 240 Wis. 2d 756, reversed, other grounds2002 WI 34
For Samuel: Robert R. Henak

Issue: Whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain conviction for interference with child custody, § 948.31(2) and abduction, § 948.30(1)(a).

Holding:

¶38      We adopt the State’s construction.  So long as the defendant has had a hand in physically removing the child from the parents’ possession, the defendant has taken the child away.  This physical removal can be accomplished by driving the child away in a vehicle.  The act of asportation means more than just shutting the door behind you.  Driving away in a vehicle is part of the continuous act of physical removal.  Samuel was directly involved in facilitating Tisha’s physical removal by driving her away from the house and from the area.  The evidence is sufficient.

(Same analysis applies to abducting, ¶39.)

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