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Defense win: circuit court failed to make sufficient findings regarding dangerousness in ch. 51 case

Outagamie County v. L.C.E., 2021AP324, District 3, 9/8/21 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity

Once again, a circuit court fails to make the findings necessary to support the extension of a commitment under § 51.20, resulting in the reversal of the extension order.

In Langlade County v. D.J.W., 2020 WI 41, ¶40, 391 Wis. 2d 231, 942 N.W.2d 277, the supreme court said that “going forward [from April 2020] circuit courts in recommitment proceedings are to make specific factual findings with reference to the subdivision paragraph of § 51.20(1)(a)2. on which the recommitment is based.” As the County concedes, the circuit court didn’t do that at the October 2020 extension hearing in L.C.E.’s case. (¶9). The County requests a remand so the circuit court can make the findings, but the court of appeals rejects that request and instead reverses the extension order and its concomitant involuntary medication and treatment order. (¶10). See Eau Claire Cnty. v. J.M.P., No. 2020AP2014-FT, unpublished slip op. ¶22 (WI App June 22, 2021).

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