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Delinquency – Battery – Sufficiency of Evidence

State v. Dylan T.W., 2012AP1761-FT, District 2, 12/12/12

court of appeals decision (1 judge; ineligible for publication); case activity

Evidence held sufficient to support delinquency adjudication for felony battery where juvenile pushed a whiteboard into a teacher and then injured the same teacher by forcefully opening a door in the teacher’s path. Arguments the juvenile was not aware of the consequences of his actions because he was “singularly focused on leaving the classroom” and that there was conflicting evidence of the event, rejected:

¶7  As Dylan acknowledges, to be adjudicated of the battery, he need not have had the purpose of hurting the teacher to have the requisite intent. Instead, he only needs to have been “aware that his conduct was practically certain to cause bodily harm to another.” Wis. J.I.—Criminal 1235; see also Wis. Stat. § 939.23. …

¶8  Here, the trial court found intent from Dylan’s actions. It explained:

When one flings open a door forcefully, one knows that his [or her] conduct is practically certain to cause bodily harm to another who is behind him [or her].  When one pushes a dry eraser board into another person, whether his [or her] main intent was to leave the room or to harm that person, one should know and is aware that his [or her] conduct is practically certain to cause bodily harm.

….

¶9  First, to the extent that witnesses made conflicting statements, the trial court was free to accept or reject the testimony of various witnesses, and it explicitly relied on the teacher’s version of events. See [State v.] Poellinger, 153 Wis. 2d [493,] 503-04 (credibility of witnesses is for the trier of fact). Second, evidence that Dylan was focused on leaving the classroom when he injured the teacher does not negate the plausibility of the trial court’s finding that his actions show an awareness that his conduct was practically certain to cause bodily harm. The evidence shows that Dylan was in conflict with the teacher when he decided to leave the classroom against the teacher’s wishes. On his way out the door, he pushed a whiteboard into the teacher and opened the door into the teacher using enough force that the teacher sustained injuries requiring hospitalization. Thus, the evidence was sufficient in probative value and force to support the trial court’s finding of intent and Dylan’s adjudication.

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