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Delinquency Proceedings – Disposition

State v. Noah L., 2012AP348, District 2, 8/29/12

court of appeals decision (1-judge, ineligible for publication); case activity

After finding the proof sufficient to support a delinquency allegation, the trial court nonetheless declined to enter adjudication of delinquency, pending a report and recommendation from the Department of Human Services. The report was prepared, which included information not admitted into evidence at the fact-finding hearing, and the court adjudicated the juvenile delinquent. The court of appeals garnts relief, ordering dismissal of the delinquency petition:

¶11      Due process requires that the trial court consider only evidence admissible pursuant to Wis. Stat. chs. 901 through 911, as is required by Wis. Stat. § 938.299(4)(a), in making its finding. …

¶12      In addition to raising concerns about due process, the trial court’s delay of a delinquency determination until the dispositional hearing also goes against the plain language of the statute.  …

¶13      As the trial court did not adjudge Noah L. to be delinquent at the conclusion of the fact-finding hearing and considered improper evidence in its later determination, we vacate the delinquency order and remand for dismissal of the petition.

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