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Evidence sufficient to show person would be proper subject for commitment if treatment were withdrawn

Milwaukee County v. Aaron B., 2014AP2008-FT, 2/18/15, District 1 (1-judge opinion; ineligible for publication); case activity

Aaron was deemed mentally ill and committed for 2 months under Chapter 51 when he bit off his caregiver’s ear. Afterwards, the county asked to extend his commitment under §51.20(13(g). Based upon statements from Aaron’s treating psychologists, the circuit court agreed and the court of appeals affirmed.

Aaron certainly improved on medication, but he remained volatile and continued to engage in self-mutilation. Psychologists testified that there was a substantial likelihood he would again become the proper subject for commitment if treatment were withdrawn. The court of appeals held:

 In sum, the circumstances of this case are precisely the sort contemplated by Wis. Stat. § 51.20(1)(am).  The purpose of § 51.20(1)(am) is to prevent “revolving door” situations in which patients are released from commitment only to commit additional dangerous acts and then be recommitted.  See W.R.B., 140 Wis. 2d at 351.  Indeed, such a scenario is exactly what Kisicki predicted would happen if Aaron were released.  She testified that absent the close supervision and behavioral control, “he would become more agitated, more psychotic and would end up rehospitalized.”  While Aaron argues that there was no evidence in the record suggesting that he would quit taking his medication if not recommitted, the court could appropriately rely on the testimony of the doctors that Aaron required a locked facility in order to ensure compliance with his treatment plan. Slip op. ¶13.

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