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Recommitment- Involuntary Administration of Medication

WI Court of Appeals – District III

Case Name: Marathon County v. T. R. H.

Case No.: 2022AP001394

Officials: Stark, P.J.

Focus: Recommitment- Involuntary Administration of Medication

Thomas appeals from a recommitment order and an associated order for the involuntary administration of his medication and treatment. Thomas argues that these orders must be reversed because, in finding him dangerous, the circuit court failed to reference a specific statutory subdivision paragraph in WIS. STAT. § 51.20(1)(a)2. and failed to make the required factual findings as mandated by Langlade County v. D.J.W., 2020 WI 41, 391 Wis. 2d 231, 942 N.W.2d 277. Additionally, Thomas argues that Marathon County failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he was dangerous.

The appeals court concludes that the circuit court found Thomas was dangerous under WIS. STAT. § 51.20(1)(a)2. c.; but that the court’s finding in that regard was erroneous because the County failed to meet its burden to prove that Thomas was dangerous as required for recommitment under that subdivision paragraph. At most, the evidence, according to the appeals court, showed that Thomas has previously failed to maintain his self-care, has exhibited paranoia and had delusions, and may have not interacted in a socially appropriate manner. None of these behaviors—especially without evidence of specific incidents— clearly and convincingly show that Thomas was dangerous under § 51.20(1)(a)2. c. at the time of the recommitment hearing, or would likely become so if his treatment were withdrawn.


Decided 03/14/23

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