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Juvenile court applied proper standards when ordering disposition, despite “imprecise” language referring to adult sentencing standards

State v. Ali H., 2015AP41, District 1, 7/28/15 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity

Though the juvenile court judge “was perhaps imprecise with its language,” the court of appeals concludes the judge did not erroneously apply adult sentencing considerations of punishment and deterrence when it decided to order Ali placed at Lincoln Hills.

Under §§ 938.01, 938.34, and 938.355, when determining disposition the juvenile court must “consider the seriousness of the offense, the need to protect citizens from juvenile crime, the need to prevent further delinquent acts, and the juvenile’s needs for care and treatment.” State v. Richard J.D., 2006 WI App 242, ¶5, 297 Wis. 2d 20, 724 N.W.2d 665. The record here shows the court considered all these factors. (¶¶15-25). But the juvenile court also referred to punishment of Ali, the need to deter others, and Ali’s “character,” factors relevant to adult sentencing decisions but not juvenile disposition determinations. While the juvenile court’s referred to these inapplicable adult sentencing concepts, the court of appeals concludes the references to these concepts amount to imprecisions of language the court used to talk about acceptable juvenile dispositional factors. (¶¶26-33).

The court of appeals also rejects Ali’s two challenges to the juvenile court’s refusal to stay the sex offender registration requirement. First, while the juvenile court said “[t]his is not a case were I even consider staying it” (¶10), that statement doesn’t evidence a refusal to exercise of discretion—which would, of course, be an erroneous exercise of discretion—but was the conclusion the court reached after properly exercising its discretion by applying the proper legal standard to the facts of Ali’s case. (¶¶39-43). Second, Ali notes there’s a new Milwaukee ordinance governing where registered sex offenders can live, and it will effectively preclude Ali from living with his family or in a community setting; he say’s that is new evidence that merits reconsideration of the registration requirement. The court of appeals finds this claim is not ripe because Ali is still at Lincoln Hills. (¶¶44-47).

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