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Evidence was sufficient to prove dangerousness under ch. 51

Milwaukee County v. I.K., 2017AP1425, District 1, 5/8/18 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity

The County proved I.K. was dangerous under both § 51.20(1)(a)2.d., by showing there was a substantial probability I.K. would suffer physical harm resulting from his inability to satisfy basic needs due to mental illness, and § 51.20(1)(a)2.e., by showing that, after being advised of the advantages and disadvantages of accepting treatment, I.K. was unable to understand and make an informed choice regarding treatment and that a lack of treatment will result in further disability or deterioration.

¶10     …. First, the state in which the police officers found I.K.— completely naked and disoriented late at night in a high-crime area—is clearly sufficient to demonstrate that I.K.’s safety was at issue. …. Furthermore, at the medication hearing in September 2016, the circuit court explained to I.K. that his prescribed medications have a therapeutic value to him, and that when he does not take them he becomes impaired and unable to make decisions. The court then stayed the proceedings to give I.K. the opportunity to demonstrate that he would “avail himself” of the necessary treatment and services in the community. ….

¶11     Ultimately, he did not. I.K. stopped taking his medications and was taken back to the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex in December 2016. He continued to refuse his medications even after being taken back into custody and placed in an inpatient environment. Moreover, at the final hearing on December 30, 2016, I.K. demonstrated the deterioration of his condition without medication: he told the circuit court that he was brought back into custody not for his failure to take his medications, but because the police officer had bought him a Big Mac. ….

The court notes that I.K.’s commitment order has expired, but decides his appeal anyway “due to the continuing ramifications of the commitment, such as the prohibition of possessing a firearm.” (¶7 n.2). The court of appeals is nothing if not inconsistent on deciding moot ch. 51 cases. See, for example, here, herehere, and, most recently, here.

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