Court Cases By State - Wisconsin

Court Cases by Wisconsin

Wisconsin v. Jones
322 2d 736 ( App. Wisc. 2009)

Defendant was charged with first-degree intentional homicide while armed and attempted armed robbery. He was 16 when he committed crime but he was charged as an adult. Defendant made a plea bargain and pled guilty and now seeks to withdraw the plea, claiming he did not understand the elements of the charge against him. He blames the misunderstanding in part on his partial fetal alcohol syndrome. The court found his FAS impacted his impulse control and not his ability to comprehend. The court found he did understand the charges and denied his request to withdraw the plea.

State v. Deborah Z.
228 Wis. 2d 468, 596 N.W. 2d 490 (1999)

Deborah Z. was charged with attempted murder and first-degree reckless injury because she allegedly had attempted at the end of her pregnancy to drink so much alcohol that the fetus would die. The baby was born with a high blood alcohol level. The baby also appeared to have FAS.

The court held that a fetus was not a human being under state law and dismissed the charges.

State v. Lee
220 Wis. 2d 716, 583 N.W. 2d 674, 1998 WL 286352 (Ct. App. Wisc. 1998)

Lee was charged with several counts of sexual contact with a child. The trial judge appointed a clinical psychologist, Dr. Hurlbut, to determine whether Lee was competent to stand trial. Hurlbut examined Lee and issued a report which concluded that Lee lacked substantial mental capacity to understand the proceedings or assist in his own defense. 1998 WL 286352 *1.

At two subsequent hearings the judge himself questioned Lee, and ultimately concluded that Lee was competent to stand trial. The appellate court affirmed.

The Hurlbut report concluded that Lee "was a possible victim of fetal alcohol syndrome, and that his difficulties 'almost certainly involve neurological impairment and significant retardation in the area of verbal impairment." 1998 WL 286352 *1. The appellate opinion quotes at length portions of the report detailing what Lee did understand. It is unclear whether the report contained no further explanation of its conclusion that Lee was not competent to stand trial, or whether the appellate court simply failed to quote those portions of the report.

State v. Storzer
2001 WL 15926 (Wis. App.)

Storzer was convicted of sexually assaulting his roommate at the Eau Clair Academy, a private Wisconsin treatment facility for adolescents with behavioral problems. At the time Storzer was 16 years old, and his roommate was 12. Storzer apparently had a record of inappropriate sexual conduct with other children. Storzer had an IQ of 79, and the mental abilities of an 11 year old.

The court sentenced Storzer to 20 years in prison. It held both that the record did not show that Storzer was a pedophile, and that he presented a danger to young children if released to the community.

The facts stated in this opinion suggest that a 16 year old offender with a history of inappropriate sexual conduct with children was placed in a room with a 12 year old roommate. It is unclear why Storzer was at Eau Claire in the first place, or how much Eau Claire Academy officials knew about his history and problems.

In the Interest of Tawanya J.
193 Wis. 2d 639, 537 N.W. 2d 434, 1995 WL 146902 (Ct. App. 1995)

Tawanya had previously been placed under juvenile supervision, and remanded to a juvenile facility. While at the facility, and still under the age of 18, she assaulted a staff member. The local prosecutor sought to have the juvenile court waive jurisdiction over Tawanya, so that she could be prosecuted as an adult.

The lower court waived its jurisdiction, but the appellate court reversed and directed that Tawanya continue to be treated as a juvenile offender.

The court's summary of the case reveals considerable disagreement about the sort of juvenile facility in which Tawanya should have been placed. One of the evaluations concluded that she might have FAS, and that that would account for her difficulty with impulsivity and concentration. 1995 WL 146902 at *10.