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Circuit court properly exercised discretion in order juvenile to register as sex offender

State v. G.R.H., 2020AP1638, District 1, 5/11/21 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity

 A juvenile adjudged delinquent for certain sex offenses must register as a sex offender unless the court permanently stays the requirement under the standards established in §§ 301.45(1m)(e) and 938.34(15m) and State v. Cesar G., 2004 WI 61, 272 Wis. 2d 22, 682 N.W.2d 1. The circuit court in this case properly applied those standards when it declined to stay the registration requirement for G.R.H.

G.R.H.’s challenge turns on the fifth factor established by Cesar G.: the probability he will commit other violations in the future. He says the court erroneously focused too much on what it perceived to be G.R.H.’s impulsivity and behavior in court and on supervision, ignored expert testimony about the very low rates of juvenile reoffending, and placed an undue burden on G.R.H. to prove he would not reoffend.  (¶¶17-18). The court of appeals rejects his claim:

¶19     The record reflects that the circuit court clearly struggled with the probability of G.R.H. committing future violations. It appears that when faced with many unknowns and expert testimony that the risk was difficult to quantify, the circuit court considered what information it did have about G.R.H.’s conduct and his willingness to change it. The circuit court expressed frustration that G.R.H., over eighteen months, had not satisfied the stated expectations to complete sex offender treatment and to cooperate with court orders. It had evidence of his temperament in court and from the social worker’s updates on his lack of compliance and accountability. Under Cesar G., the circuit court has discretion to consider “[a]ny other factor that the court determines may be relevant to the particular case.” Id., ¶50. Here, the circuit court considered what it found most relevant to deciding whether G.R.H. should be required to report to the sex offender registry. G.R.H.’s assertion that he may outgrow his impulsivity and that the social worker’s perceptions were not factors does not undermine that the circuit court engaged in a rational decision making process.

G.R.H. also challenges the circuit court’s weighing of the factors, saying that considered altogether they weigh more in favor of a stay. But he doesn’t respond to the state’s argument that the weight of the factors is for the circuit court, and doesn’t develop the argument sufficiently, so the court of appeals doesn’t address this claim further. (¶¶24-25).

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