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Ch. 51 recommitment pleadings and evidence both sufficient

Winnebago County v. D.D.A., 2020AP1351, District 2, 12/23/20 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity

The court of appeals rejects D.D.A.’s challenges to the sufficiency of the petition to extend his ch. 51 commitment and to the evidence presented at the extension hearing.

First D.D.A. argues the petition to extend didn’t specify whether the County was seeking to invoke to recommit him under § 51.20(1)(am) or (ar).

¶9     As an initial matter, we agree with the [County] that D.D.A.’s arguments regarding the petition itself are forfeited because he did not complain of the issue in the circuit court. Moreover, even setting aside the forfeiture, we decline to reverse under any theory because the petition was sufficient to put D.D.A. on notice of the basis for the recommitment proceedings against him. Although the County did not set forth by number the statutory subsection under which it sought to extend his commitment, the petition specifically set out, word-for-word, the elements that formed the basis for the recommitment pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 51.20(1)(am).

The court likewise finds sufficient evidence to support the extension and medication order based on the testimony of Dr. Monese, a Wisconsin Resource Center psychiatrist. (¶¶15-27). The basic story:

¶19     …. Monese’s testimony establishes that D.D.A. suffers from schizophrenia. D.D.A. does not believe that he is mentally ill, and, when given the choice, he refuses to take several of the psychotropic medications prescribed to him. In fact, testimony at the hearing established that the only medication he takes regularly is a shot that is administered to him at WRC. As a result of his lack of compliance with his prescribed oral medication regimen, according to Monese, D.D.A. made serious threats that resulted in him moving from a medium custody prison, to “a much higher custody” prison.

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