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Forfeiture — “Adjudication” of Underlying Crime, § 973.076(2)

State v. One 1997 Ford and David Beck, 2003 WI App 128, PFR filed 6/6/03
For Beck: Adam B. Stephens, Alex Flynn

Issue/Holding: Right to seek adjournment of a forfeiture action until after “adjudication” of the underlying criminal proceeding, § 973.076(2), terminates upon trial-level disposition:

¶18. While the term “adjudication” is not itself specifically defined in the statutes, its meaning can be ascertained from an examination of the definitions of other related terms. Wisconsin Stat. § 967.02 defines the terms “judgment” and “court” for purposes of Wis. Stat. chs. 967 through 979. This forfeiture proceeding falls within those chapters. Section 967.02(8) provides that “judgment” means “an adjudication by the court that the defendant is guilty or not guilty.” Section 967.02(7) states that “court” means “the circuit court unless otherwise indicated.” Thus, according to the plain language of the statute, “adjudication” occurs at the moment of a finding of guilt or innocence by a circuit court and, therefore, the term does not embrace an appeal of a conviction. Accordingly, we hold that Wis. Stat. § 973.076(2)(a) does not contemplate adjournment of forfeiture proceedings pending an appeal of the underlying criminal conviction.


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