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Community Caretaker — Juvenile in High-crime Area

State v. Kelsey C.R., 2001 WI 54
For Kelsey C. R.: Susan Alesia, SPD, Madison Appellate

Issue: Whether, if a seizure did occur when the police told a potentially vulnerable juvenile girl in a high crime area to “stay put,” it was justified under the community caretaker doctrine.

Holding: (Lead, three-vote opinion:) Given the “strong public interest in locating runaway children and juveniles,” along with the perception that “(a) juvenile [such as Kelsey], alone in a dangerous neighborhood, is vulnerable to kidnappers, sexual predators, and other criminals,” the minimal police intrusion in this case was a justifiable community caretaker function. ¶¶34-37.

Because the lead opinion has only three votes, and because its conclusion on this point does not seem pertinent to the conclusions embodied by the remaining four justices, this is not necessarily a binding, precedential holding.

 

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