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Involuntary Commitment and Medication

WI Court of Appeals – District IV

Case Name: Marquette County v. T.W.,

Case No.: 2020AP1908

Officials: BLANCHARD, P.J.

Focus: Involuntary Commitment and Medication

In September 2019, the Circuit Court of Marquette County entered an order involuntarily committing T.W. for mental health treatment for six months, pursuant to WIS. STAT. § 51.20. The court’s order was based on jury findings at a trial that T.W. was mentally ill, a danger to himself or others, and a proper subject for treatment. The petition for commitment by the Marquette County corporation counsel involved allegations of violent conduct by T.W. After hearing additional evidence following the jury trial, the circuit court entered an order for involuntary medication during the mental health commitment.  T.W. appeals both orders, arguing that the court either erroneously exercised its discretion or erred as a matter of law in allowing the admission of several categories of evidence at trial. Marquette County argues that this appeal is moot, that T.W. forfeited his merits arguments by failing to raise them in the circuit court, that the court did not err in allowing the evidence (but that, even if it did, any errors were harmless), and that there was no plain error. I conclude that the County fails to establish that the appeal is moot, but I affirm for the reasons explained below.

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Derek A Hawkins is Corporate Counsel, at Salesforce.

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