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a. Constitutional challenges

Winnebago County v. C.S., 2020 WI 33,  reversing a published court of appeals opinion; 4/10/20; case activity This is a BIG case for Chapter 51 lawyers! In a 4-3 opinion, SCOW held that when a court commits a prison inmate under Chapter 51, it cannot order involuntary medication without finding the inmate dangerous first. The… Read More

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Monroe County v. D.J., 2019AP1133, 1/2/19, District 4, (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity Oh, this issue again. Monroe County pursued a Chapter 51 original commitment against D.J. but didn’t say which of the 5 standards of dangerousness it was proceeding under. One doctor opined that commitment was warranted under the 1st or 2nd… Read More

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Sauk County v. R.A.S., 2018AP2253, 10/31/2019, District 4 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity R.A.S. was committed after a ch. 51 jury trial. The county alleged and the court instructed on two forms of dangerousness–those in Wis. Stat. § 51.20(1)(a)2.c. and 2.d.. R.A.S. asked that the verdict form require the jury to agree on… 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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Ozaukee County v. R.T.H., 2018AP1317, 2/27/19, District 2, (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity; Marathon County v. C.M.L., 2017AP2220, 2/26/19, District 3 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity These two, unrelated decisions highlight a recurring due process violation at Chapter 51 hearings. For an original commitment, the county must prove that the person… Read More

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Milwaukee County v. T.L.R., 2018AP1131, 12/4/18, District 1 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication), case activity Here’s an issue of first impression for SCOW. Lessard v. Schmidt, 349 F. Supp. 1078, 1092 (E.D. Wis. 1972) established procedural and substantive due process rights for persons undergoing mental commitments. One of those rights is the right to particularized… Read More

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Langlade County v. D.J.W., 2018AP145-FT, 5/1/18, District 3 (1-judge opinion, eligible for publication), petition for review granted, 7/10/19, reversed, 2020 WI 41; case activity This decision makes you wonder whether §51.20(1)(am), Wisconsin’s recommitment statute, is unconstitutional either on its face or as applied to D.J.W. At D.J.W.’s recommitment hearing a doctor testified about his treatment records… Read More

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Winnebago County v. Christopher S., 2016 WI 1, on certification from the court of appeals, and affirming the circuit court’s orders for commitment and involuntary medication; majority opinion by Justice Gableman, concurrence/dissent by Justice Abrahamson; case activity The provisions of ch. 51 allowing the involuntary mental health commitment of prison inmates without a finding of dangerousness… Read More

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