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SVP – Trial: Evidence – Juvenile Adjudication

State v. Matthew A.B., 231 Wis.2d 688, 605 N.W.2d 598 (Ct. App. 1999)
For Matthew A.B.: Mary E. Waitrovich, SPD, Madison Appellate

Issue: Whether a juvenile adjudication is admissible in a Ch.980 proceeding, § 938.35(1) notwithstanding.

Holding: A juvenile adjudication is admissible.

§ 938.35(1) expressly prohibits admissibility of a juvenile court disposition except for certain enumerated exceptions which don’t include Ch. 980 proceedings. However, according to the court of appeals, “numerous provisions in Ch. 980 indicate that delinquency adjudications are admissible.” Although repeal of legislation “by implication” is disfavored, such a repeal will be found “when the conflicting provisions are ‘so contrary to or irreconcilable with’ one another that only one of the provisions may remain in force.” The court discerns such a conflict here. And, because giving effect to § 938.35(1) “would render large portions of Chapter 980 meaningless” and would be an absurdity, “the common sense meaning of these statutory provisions dictates that delinquency adjudications are admissible in Chapter 980 proceedings…. Therefore, to the extent that § 938.35(1) prohibits the admission of delinquency adjudications in Chapter 980 proceedings, we conclude that § 938.35(1) is repealed by implication.” ¶¶22-28.

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