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COA: no subject-matter jurisdiction to address 20-years-past probation extension

State v. James Edward Olson, 2018AP1987, 9/17/18, District 1 (one-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Olson says that the DOC extended his probation by six months without notice to him, and he shouldn’t have to pay the fees associated with those six months. The court of appeals has two problems with this claim: the record contains an order for the extension, apparently signed by him, and his probation ended in 1997.

That last part means, pursuant to State v. Bell, 122 Wis. 2d 427, 362 N.W.2d 443 (Ct. App. 1984), that there’s no procedural mechanism by which Olson can bring his claim. Wis. Stat. § 974.06 doesn’t help, because Olson isn’t in any form of custody related to his long-past conviction, so he’s out of luck.

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Tom Aquino September 23, 2019, 9:40 am

    I think this is an example of a pro se defendant not quite framing the issues correctly, and the courts not doing him any favors.

    When a defendant has failed to pay supervision fees, 304.074 requires the DOC to ask the circuit court for a civil judgment for the unpaid amounts. It appears the DOC hasn’t done so, perhaps because they first pointed this out to the defendant in 2016 and his probation ended in 1997. If the DOC had so moved the court for such a judgment, certainly the court would have jurisdiction to hear any challenge to the validity of the DOC’s claim that the defendant still owes supervision fees.

    Because the DOC has not asked for a judgment, then what this pro se defendant was really looking for was a declaratory judgment that he does not owe the DOC any supervision fees. And again, the court would have jurisdiction to hear such a claim.

    Unfortunately, the court’s decision suggests that there is no remedy for when the DOC incorrectly claims that a person owes supervision fees.

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