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COA: Mother’s CHIPS petition properly granted

State v. M.A., 2019AP1089, 7/14/20, District 1 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity

M.A.’s son J.A. was the subject of several delinquency petitions; each was converted to a JIPS proceeding because J.A. was not competent. See Wis. Stat. § 938.13(14). Eventually, M.A. filed a CHIPS petition in an apparent attempt to alter the constellation of services available to J.A. The state fought the petition and lost, and continued its fight on appeal. Per the court, though the state alleges five different errors, they all generally boil down to the same argument–that M.A. didn’t identify any particular services a CHIPS finding would provide that were not already available to her. The court rejects all five flavors of the state’s complaint and affirms the circuit court’s grant of the petition.

The basic point here: while CHIPS jurisdiction requires that there be “protection or services which can be ordered by the court,” the petition isn’t required to identify any particular services that the court can order. The opinion cites State v. Thomas F., 196 Wis. 2d 259, 266, 538 N.W.2d 568 (Ct. App. 1995), for this proposition, but that case may be inapt; the jurisdictional provision at issue there was the only one that didn’t fall under the “protection or services which can be ordered by the court.” At any rate, the court of appeals holds the circuit court correctly determined that the CHIPS petition was sufficient, that it properly refused the state’s various attempts to secure dismissal, and that the services it ordered as disposition were appropriate.

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