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Applicability of Interstate Compact on Mental Health, § 51.75. to NGI Commitment

State v. Richard A. Devore, 2004 WI App 87, PFR filed 4/21/04
For Devore: Catherine M. Canright

Issue/Holding: 

¶1 Richard Devore appeals an order denying his motion to be transferred to Minnesota under the Interstate Compact on Mental Health, WIS. STAT. § 51.75. He contends the circuit court erred when it concluded that, as a matter of law, § 51.75 did not apply to individuals found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect (NGI) in accord with WIS. STAT. § 971.17. We conclude that the circuit court correctly determined § 51.75 was inapplicable to NGI defendants like Devore and affirm the order….

¶6 Devore directs us to WIS. STAT. § 51.75(4)(a), which states: “Whenever … it is determined that the patient should receive aftercare or supervision, such care or supervision may be provided in a receiving state.” In § 51.75(2)(a), one definition of “Aftercare” is “conditional release,” and § 51.75(14) states that the Compact should be liberally construed to effectuate its purpose. Devore points out that he is on conditional release and should therefore be allowed to transfer to Minnesota.

¶7 However, the Compact does not define “conditional release.” Whatever it means, however, we conclude that it cannot mean conditional release of an NGI defendant because when the Compact was enacted, neither WIS. STAT. § 971.17 nor conditional release for NGI defendants existed.

¶10 As far as the liberal construction requirement of WIS. STAT. § 51.75(14) is concerned, WIS. STAT. § 971.17’s main objective is protecting the public, not providing treatment to alleviate a defendant’s mental illness. …

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