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3. Civil Commitments

Langlade County v. D.J.W., 2018AP145-FT, petition for review granted 7/10/19; case activity Issue:  A doctor opined that David (a pseudonym) is unable to care for himself, and therefore dangerous under Wis. Stat. § 51.20(1)(am), because he lost employment and relies on the assistance of the government and his family for income and housing. As a… Read More

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Today Mad in America, a nonprofit that publishes a webzine on science, psychiatry and social justice ran a long article on the dark side of “Assisted Outpatient Treatment” or, as we think of it in Wisconsin, “outpatient recommitments.” Turns out they have a very dark side. Chapter 51 practitioners may find the many studies and… Read More

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Marathon County v. D.K., 2017AP2217, petition for review granted 7/10/19; case activity As our prior post noted, the court of appeals upheld D.K. (or “Donald”)’s commitment against his challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. The supreme court has now agreed to decide whether the testimony of the examining physician, who was the sole witness… Read More

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Waukesha County v. S.L.L., 2019WI66, affirming an unpublished court of appeals opinion, 2017AP1468; 6/12/19; case activity This 4-3 decision is alarming. Waukesha County petitioned to recommit S.L.L., a homeless person, but failed to serve her with notice of the hearing because it had no idea where she was. Since she was not served, she didn’t… Read More

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Portage County v. J.W.K., 2019 WI 54, 5/21/2019, affirming an unpublished order dismissing appeal as moot; case activity Practitioners know that it’s rare to get from final judgment to court of appeals decision on the merits in less than a year. Just the ordinary statutory time frames for appointment of counsel, transcripts, motions or notices… Read More

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Milwaukee County v. D.C.B., 2018AP987, District 1, 5/14/19 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity The court of appeals rejects D.C.B.’s constitutional and procedural challenges to the extension of his ch. 51 commitment. D.C.B. argues the ch. 51 extension statute is facially unconstitutional because it doesn’t require a finding of dangerousness. Because § 51.20(13)(g)3. requires… Read More

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In our ongoing effort to improve On Point, we have begun to edit the index of posts on our Archive page so that it is more user-friendly and easier for readers to find the elusive “Defense wins!” on specific issues. Chapter 51 is our guinea pig. Before, the Chapter 51 index on our Archive lumped… Read More

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Winnebago County v. C.S., 2019 WI App 16; case activity C.S., a mentally ill prisoner committed pursuant to §51.20(1)(ar), challenged the constitutionality of §51.61(1)(g) on its face and as applied because it allowed the government to medicate him against his will without finding him dangerous first. In a published decision, the court of appeals upholds… Read More

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