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Juvenile court’s reliance on wrong sex offender registration statute was harmless

State v. D.J.A.R., 2017AP52, District 4, 8/3/17 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity

After D.J.A.R. was adjudicated delinquent for second degree child sexual assault under § 948.02(2), the circuit court ordered him to register as a sex offender. (¶¶4-6). It relied on § 938.34(15m)(am)1., which requires finding that the juvenile’s conduct was sexually motivated and that registration is in the interest of public protection. That was a mistake, because D.J.A.R.’s offense is governed by § 938.34(15m)(bm), which mandates registration unless the requirements of § 301.45(1m) are met. (¶¶11-14). The mistake was harmless, however. (¶15).

The circuit court’s error was harmless because even though it caused the court to address the redundant issue of whether D.J.A.R.’s conduct was sexually motivated, the court did go on to consider the § 301.45(1m)(e) factors. (¶17). And while the circuit court rejected the opinions of two experts that D.J.A.R. was at low risk to reoffend, and instead placed greater weight on other factors, there’s no indication the court would have reached a different conclusion had it relied on the correct statutory provision. (¶¶18-21).

The court of appeals also rejects D.J.A.R.’s challenge to the circuit court’s decision to not stay the registration requirement under § 938.34(16) and State v. Cesar G., 2004 WI 61, 272 Wis. 2d 22, 682 N.W.2d 1. (¶¶23-24).

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