J.K. v. State

68 Wis. 2d 426, 228 N.W.2d 713 (1975)

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J.K. v. State

Wisconsin Supreme Court
68 Wis. 2d 426, 228 N.W.2d 713 (1975)

Facts

A delinquency petition was filed on behalf of the State of Wisconsin (plaintiff) concerning 15-year-old J.K. (defendant). The petition alleged that while at school, J.K. possessed several tablets of the drug LSD and gave one of the tablets to a classmate, who then required emergency medical attention. Afterwards, J.K. acted violently at school, refused to disclose the identity of the person who supplied him with the tablets, and did not cooperate with a psychological evaluation. At the delinquency hearing, J.K. admitted to the allegations in the petition. The court explained that J.K.’s misconduct was very serious and did not indicate a willingness to participate in rehabilitation. The court concluded that placement in the state’s boys’ school offered the best opportunity for J.K.’s rehabilitation. The juvenile court adjudged J.K. to be a delinquent and ordered J.K.’s custody to be transferred to the state, with J.K. to be placed in the state boys’ school for an undetermined period. J.K. would be free from the custody of the state when he turned 18 years old. If J.K. had been an adult, the maximum penalty for possession of LSD would have been a fine of not more than $250 or one year’s imprisonment. Under the court’s disposition, however, J.K. faced more than two years in the legal custody of the state concurrent with more than two years’ commitment to the state boys’ school. J.K. appealed to the circuit court, and the circuit court affirmed. J.K. appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, arguing that the juvenile court’s disposition was impermissibly harsher than the sentence he could have received had he been an adult in criminal court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hansen, J.)

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