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State Supreme Court refuses higher standards in mental health commitments

Judges gavel and stryker By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Judges gavel and stryker By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin Supreme Court refused Tuesday to require a higher standard for juries that commit defendants to mental health treatment. 

A Milwaukee woman lost an appeal of her verdict, in which a six person jury ordered a six-month commitment on the grounds that she was a danger to herself and-or others. 

State law requires that at least five members of six person jury agree with a mental health commitment before it's imposed in a trial. 

The woman said such a commitment was unconstitutional, because 12 jurors must agree unanimously before sex offenders are committed during their trials.

An appellate court ruled that the Milwaukee woman had given up her right to appeal -- but her lawyer convinced the Supreme Court to take the case because she was challenging the law on its face, and the issue had statewide ramifications. 

The Supreme Court said it would have upheld her trial and appellate rulings, even if she had not given up her right to appeal.

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