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SVP Commitments – Evidence – References to Psychopathic Treatment Program

State v. Carl Kaminski, 2009 WI App 175
For Kaminski: Donald T. Lang, SPD, Madison Appellate

Issue/Holding: Testimony by a state’s expert to the effect that the only treatment program for psychopaths is at Sand Ridge did not require a new trial under the theory that it implicitly suggested commitment would be in the community’s and respondent’s best interest, ¶¶25-27 (court rejecting analogy to TPR procedure):

¶27      Wisconsin Stat. ch. 980 establishes a bifurcated process, but one distinct from that contained in the TPR statutes. Under ch. 980, the fact finder determines whether the respondent is a sexually violent person. The court then enters judgment on that finding and orders the person committed. Wis. Stat. § 980.06. The decision to enter judgment upon the finding is not a discretionary one, which distinguishes ch. 980 from the TPR process. No independent consideration analogous to the “best interests” standard permeates the court’s role in a ch. 980 proceeding. In addition, the TPR statute explicitly reserves consideration of the best interests of the child for the court. In contrast, chapter 980 does not preclude consideration of the best interests of the respondent or those of society. In fact, the definition of a “sexually violent person” implicitly invokes both of these factors, see Wis. Stat. § 980.01(7), and our supreme court has recognized protection of the public as a principal purpose for committing a sexually violent person, Carpenter, 197 Wis. 2d at 271. In sum, we agree with the State’s conclusion that “the analogy between the two statutes is weak.”

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