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(State) Habeas Corpus – Venue

State ex rel Edwin C. West v. Bartow, 2002 WI App 42
For West: Leonard D. Kachinsky

Issue: Whether the court had discretion to order change of venue from Winnebago (county of current SVP confinement) to Milwaukee (county of commitment), on habeas challenge to the commitment.

Holding: Venue was proper in Winnebago under § 801.50(4)(b) (where petitioner is being restrained); the trial court’s transfer mistakenly relied on § 801.50(4)(a) (where petitioner was convicted or sentence, if seeking relief from conviction or sentence). ¶¶ 5-6. Nonetheless, a proper result will be sustained even if based on the wrong reason. ¶ 7. Transfer of venue is discretionary under § 801.52, ‘in the interest of justice or for the convenience of the parties or witnesses.’ In transferring venue, the trial court stressed that Milwaukee has ‘all of the documents, regarding the judgment that’s being attacked’; this is enough to satisfy the § 801.52 standard for exercising discretion. ¶¶ 9-10.

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