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Defenses – Mistake, § 939.43(1) – Relation to Reckless Conduct

State v. Quentrell E. Williams, 2006 WI App 212
For Williams: Eileen A. Hirsch, SPD, Madison Appellate

Issue/Holding: Because “recklessly” causing harm to a child, § 948.03(b), is determined solely from an objective point of view, evidence related to whether the actor “subjectively thought his [disciplinary action] was reasonable parental discipline” is irrelevant, including evidence of how the actor was him or herself disciplined as a child, ¶¶26-32.

Different issue but similar analysis in the recently-published State v. Ray A. Hemphill, 2006 WI App 185, ¶¶9-13, to the effect that because element of “recklessness” in § 948.03 doesn’t implicate criminal intent, defense of mistake not available, nor need defendant be subjectively aware of risks of conduct. Note, though, that “recklessly” has its own narrow definition under § 948.03(1), and that other crimes involving reckless conduct will contain a subjective component by dint of § 939.24(1)—a point made by Williams, ¶26.

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