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TPR – Telephonic Appearance

Dane Co. DHS v. Johnny S., 2011AP1659, District 4, 12/22/11

court of appeals decision (1-judge, not for publication); for Johnny S.: Dennis Schertz; case activity

¶7        Johnny contends he was not able to meaningfully participate at the trial for three reasons.  First, he appeared by telephone, not videoconference, and he did not waive his right to appear by videoconference.  Second, he could not hear what was being said during trial. Third, he was not given enough opportunities to speak with his attorney.  In the following paragraphs, we address each contention and conclude Johnny’s right to meaningfully participate in the trial was not violated on any of these grounds.

¶12      Here, the circuit court carefully considered each witness’s testimony and explained its credibility assessment.  The court’s credibility determinations are not implausible and are supported by the record.  We therefore accept the circuit court’s factual determination that Johnny chose to appear by telephone as not clearly erroneous.  Based on this factual determination, we agree with the circuit court that Johnny waived any right to appear by videoconference.

¶15      There was no evidence on the record regarding Johnny’s inability to hear statements during trial other than Johnny’s testimony.  The circuit court assessed Johnny’s credibility and concluded he was not credible for reasons we have already noted.  There is no basis for disturbing this credibility determination.

¶16      Finally, we address Johnny’s contention that he was not given sufficient opportunities throughout the trial to speak with his attorney.  The circuit court found that he was, and we conclude this finding is supported by the record.

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