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Dodge Co. HSHD v. James R., 2010AP3092, District 4, 3/10/11

court of appeals decision (1-judge, not for publication); case activity; for James R.: Steven Zaleski

Evidence that the father sought admitted to show the County’s motive for filing the petition – “that the County’s real motivation for filing was not because the County believed he posed a substantial threat to the children, but rather to facilitate adoption” – was properly excluded as irrelevant.

¶11      The factual question for the jury was whether James’s pattern of behavior demonstrated that he was a substantial threat to his children.  The evidence he sought to admit would not have helped the jury answer this question.  The County’s motivation has no bearing on whether the evidence of James’s past behavior meets the statutory standard.  Thus, I agree with the circuit court that the evidence James sought to admit was irrelevant.

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