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A. Ch. 51, Mental health

Rock County Department of Human Services v. J.E.B., 2020AP1954-FT, 4/7/21, District 4 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity Good news/bad news. It’s terrific that the court of appeals is going to enforce the new requirement that circuit courts ground their recommitment orders on factual findings tied to a specific standard of dangerousness in §51.20(1)(a)2.a-e. … Read more

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Winnebago County v. A.A.L., 2020AP1511, 3/24/2021, District 2 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity A.A.L. appeals her commitment under ch. 51. She claims the county didn’t give her adequate notice of which statutory forms of dangerousness it intended to prove, and that in any event it didn’t prove any of them. The court of… Read more

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Fond du Lac County v. J.L.H., 2020AP2049, 3/24/21, District 2 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity Wisconsin Stat. § 51.20(1)(a)e. lays out the “fifth standard” for dangerousness; a person can be committed under it if his or her mental illness prevents him or her from understanding the advantages and disadvantages of treatment, and a… Read more

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Bad news, good news on Chapter 51 appeals

The moment Chapter 51 lawyers have been waiting for has . . . been postponed.  This term SCOW was set to decide whether appeals from expired recommitment orders are ever moot. See our post on Portage County v. E.R.R., 2019AP20133. After briefing and oral argument (in which Justice Anne Walsh Bradley did not participate), SCOW… Read more

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Jefferson County v. S.M.S., 2020AP814, 3/11/21, District 4 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity It is blackletter law that the probable cause hearing for a Chapter 51 commitment must be held within a statutorily-prescribed time from the subject individual’s detention or the circuit court must dismiss the proceeding for lack of competency to adjudicate… Read more

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Sauk County v. S.A.M., 2019AP1033, petition for review granted 2/24/21; case activity Issues for review: 1. Whether S.A.M.’s appeal from his recommitment is moot because it expired before S.A.M. filed his notice of appeal. 2. Whether the county failed to meet its burden of proving dangerousness by clear and convincing evidence. 3. Whether S.A.M. was… Read more

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Waukesha County v. E.J.W., 2020AP370, petition for review granted 2/26/21; case activity Issue for review: Section 51.20(11) provides that the subject of a commitment proceeding must demand a jury trial 48 hours in advance of the time set for the final hearing. When the court adjourns the hearing for good cause to appoint new counsel… Read more

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Waupaca County v. K.E.K., 2021 WI 9, 2/9/21, affirming an unpublished COA opinion, 2018AP1887; case activity Waupaca County sought to extend Kate’s initial commitment for one year. The County’s examiner and witnesses agreed that she had not been dangerous during her initial commitment. She had taken her medication and was doing really well. She even… Read more

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