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Circuit court’s Ch. 51 decision appropriately relied upon expert report that was based upon hearsay

Walworth County DHS v. M.M.L., 2014AP2845, 7/15/15, District 2 (one-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

The court of appeals affirms the involuntary commitment for M.M.L. under § 51.20(1)(a)2.c., which requires evidence of impaired judgment based on recent acts or omissions showing a substantial probability that she would physically impair or injure herself or others. It rejects her challenges to the sufficiency of evidence and the testifying examiner’s references to  hearsay he relied on when forming his opinion.

The sufficiency claim is quickly dispatched: The court-appointed examiner who testified said M.M.L. met the standard. End of story. (¶¶11-12). As to the examiner’s references during his testimony to hearsay statements from M.M.L.’s family members—statements that were contained in her medical records—the court rejects M.M.L.’s challenge to those references for three reasons: The circuit court didn’t rely on the hearsay statements in reaching its decision (¶16); under § 907.03 the examiner could rely on the hearsay statements in M.M.L.’s treatment and detention records in forming his opinion (¶17); and the examiner’s conclusions were based not only on the facts in M.M.L.’s detention and treatment records, including the opinions of other doctors, but also upon his own personal observations of M.M.L. (¶18).

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