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NGI: Sufficiency of Evidence, Denial of Petition for Conditional Release

State v. Thomas Wenk, 2001 WI App 268, PFR filed 10/31/01
For Wenk: Michael K. Gould, SPD, Milwaukee Appellate

Issue: Whether trial court denial of a petition for conditional release from an NGI commitment was an erroneous exercise of discretion.

Holding: Although the state expressed doubt that it had met its burden of proof, the trial court was free to disregard that view. And, although the experts recommended release upon certain conditions, the trial court was free to reject those opinions, especially given that “the reasons underlying their opinions that Wenk could be released despite [drug addiction] were either wrong or based on shaky grounds.” ¶¶9-13. The trial court’s concern, that the pattern of drug use when unconfined posed too great a danger, was supported by the record, and the order denying release is therefore sustained.

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