State v. X. S. (In re Interest of X. S.), 2021AP419

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
Writing for the CourtANNETTE KINGSLAND ZIEGLER, C.J.
Citation402 Wis.2d 481,976 N.W.2d 425,2022 WI 49
Parties In the INTEREST OF X. S., a person under the age of 18: State of Wisconsin, Petitioner-Appellant, v. X. S., Respondent-Respondent-Petitioner.
Docket Number2021AP419
Decision Date29 June 2022

402 Wis.2d 481
976 N.W.2d 425
2022 WI 49

In the INTEREST OF X. S., a person under the age of 18:

State of Wisconsin, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
X. S., Respondent-Respondent-Petitioner.

No. 2021AP419

Supreme Court of Wisconsin.

Oral Argument: March 9, 2022
Opinion Filed: June 29, 2022


For the respondent-respondent-petitioner, there were briefs filed by Christopher P. August, assistant state public defender. There was an oral argument by Christopher P. August.

For the petitioner-appellant, there was a brief filed by Lisa E.F. Kumfer, assistant attorney general, with whom on the brief was Joshua L. Kaul, attorney general. There was an oral argument by Lisa E.F. Kumfer.

ZIEGLER, C.J., delivered the majority opinion of the Court, in which ROGGENSACK, REBECCA GRASSL BRADLEY, and KAROFSKY, JJ., joined. ZIEGLER, C.J., filed a concurring opinion in which ROGGENSACK and REBECCA GRASSL BRADLEY, JJ. joined. HAGEDORN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which ANN WALSH BRADLEY and DALLET, JJ., joined.

ANNETTE KINGSLAND ZIEGLER, C.J.

402 Wis.2d 487

¶1 This is a review of an unpublished decision of the court of appeals, State v. X.S., No. 2021AP419, unpublished slip op., 2021 WL 3042441 (Wis. Ct. App. July 20, 2021), reversing the decision of the Milwaukee County circuit court1 to deny a petition filed by the State to waive a juvenile, X.S., into adult court for criminal proceedings. The court of appeals remanded the case to the circuit court to conduct a new waiver hearing.

¶2 A mass shooting occurred at the Mayfair Mall, located outside of Milwaukee. X.S., armed with a concealed handgun,

976 N.W.2d 429

entered the mall with a friend, became involved in a confrontation with another group of four individuals, and opened fire. In the process, X.S. shot and hospitalized eight people. The victims included the friend of X.S., three individuals in the other group, and four bystanders who happened to be at the mall that day. X.S. fled the scene with the help of his

402 Wis.2d 488

family. Subsequently, he was apprehended by police. He was charged with eight counts of first-degree reckless injury with use of a dangerous weapon, contrary to Wis. Stat. §§ 940.23(1)(a) and 939.63(1)(b) (2019-20),2 and one count of illegal possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18 years of age, contrary to Wis. Stat. § 948.60(2)(a). The State sought to have X.S. waived into adult court instead of remaining in juvenile court. The circuit court denied that request for waiver. The court of appeals reversed the circuit court's decision and remanded the case for a new waiver hearing.

¶3 We affirm the court of appeals' decision to reverse the circuit court and remand the case. However, we conclude that a new waiver hearing is unnecessary. We conclude that the circuit court erroneously exercised its discretion by denying the State's waiver petition. There exists no reasonable basis for denying the State's waiver petition. Therefore, we remand the case to the circuit court with instructions to grant the State's waiver petition.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL POSTURE

¶4 Over the course of several months in 2020, X.S. engaged in serious and escalating criminal behaviors, despite juvenile court interventions and court-ordered conditions. X.S. had been previously deemed to be delinquent.3 He had a concerning history while in

402 Wis.2d 489

the juvenile justice system, and the amount of resources and the remaining potential time available to assist X.S. in the juvenile system was limited. The following facts were established through X.S.'s juvenile case records and through undisputed testimony at X.S.'s waiver hearing. As for all pretrial waiver determinations, these facts are used only to determine whether waiver into adult court is warranted, not to decide whether X.S. is guilty of a criminal offense. Under the American system of law, "[a] person when first charged with a crime is entitled to a presumption of innocence, and may insist that his guilt be established beyond a reasonable doubt." Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390, 398, 113 S.Ct. 853, 122 L.Ed.2d 203 (1993). By reciting and relying upon the following facts, we do not establish X.S.'s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, nor do we impose any form of criminal liability on X.S.

976 N.W.2d 430

¶5 In April 2020, X.S. and two of his friends, including E.G., were in a car together and were involved in a drug deal. An individual purchasing drugs from the car shot into the car and hit X.S. X.S. was taken to a nearby hospital and was treated for several days. X.S. was 15 years old at the time of the shooting.

402 Wis.2d 490

¶6 In July 2020, three months after X.S. was shot, X.S., E.G., and another individual were driving in a car when they were pulled over by police in St. Francis. X.S. exited the vehicle and ran from the police, resulting in a foot chase with police. Police soon apprehended X.S. but recognized that X.S. had discarded a backpack during his flight. After a K-9 unit was called to the scene, police found the backpack X.S. concealed and discovered 133 grams of marijuana packaged for distribution. Both X.S. and E.G. possessed drug trafficking tools, cash, and a scale.

¶7 The State charged X.S. with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and obstructing an officer. The charges were brought in juvenile court, and the State did not petition to waive into adult court. X.S. and the State entered into a plea agreement whereby the State dismissed and read in the possession with intent to distribute charge. X.S. was convicted of obstructing an officer. The juvenile disposition order, entered in August 2021, directed that X.S. participate in nine months of court-ordered supervision, participate in the Running Rebels Intensive Monitoring Program ("Running Rebels"),4 complete a Global Appraisal of Individual Needs ("GAIN") assessment,5 attend school daily, refrain from association with or participation in activities that could be deemed criminal, refrain from consuming alcohol and drugs, follow household rules, and meet as scheduled with X.S.'s assigned Human Service Worker ("HSW").

402 Wis.2d 491

¶8 Despite the resources and services devoted to X.S. in the juvenile justice system, X.S. did not comply with the conditions included in his juvenile disposition order. On initial intake into the juvenile system, X.S. refused to cooperate with an HSW and provide information necessary to begin his transition into supervision. After X.S.'s attorney and parents were contacted, the information was provided. Around the time when school was scheduled to begin for X.S., his HSW received a text message from X.S. offering to sell her marijuana.6

¶9 The beginning of school in mid-August 2020 did not improve the situation for X.S. Despite being ordered to do so and despite repeated check-ins from X.S.'s HSW and school social workers, X.S. did not attend class for the first several weeks of school. In mid-September, several weeks after the juvenile disposition order was entered, Running Rebels contacted the HSW to inform her that X.S. had not enrolled, received an assessment, or participated in orientation with Running Rebels. This was despite specific court-ordered directions and despite Running Rebels staff contacting X.S. Several weeks later, in early October, Running Rebels informed the HSW that X.S. had yet to complete

976 N.W.2d 431

orientation and begin the Running Rebels program. The HSW eventually got in contact with X.S. (after much effort) through his mother, notified him of Running Rebels' repeated attempts to contact him, and informed X.S. that his refusal to register for Running Rebels would result in him being subject to a 24-hour

402 Wis.2d 492

electronic monitoring system. The same day X.S. completed his Running Rebels orientation.

¶10 Between early October and late November 2020, X.S. continued to violate the juvenile disposition order. In mid-October, Running Rebels informed the HSW that X.S. was non-compliant, did not contact Running Rebels when he left his house, and was not participating in check-in calls. In mid-November, Running Rebels reported that X.S. had been compliant recently and was available for face-to-face contact. However, by late-November, X.S. was again not communicating with Running Rebels in violation of conditions. On numerous occasions, the HSW attempted to contact X.S. as part of his court-ordered supervision plan, and he did not answer or respond. The HSW attained X.S.'s school records, which showed that X.S. had not attended a single day of school since the start of the school year; X.S. was failing every class. After the incidents at issue in this case, X.S. admitted that he used marijuana during his time under court-ordered supervision. Further, X.S. was court ordered in August 2020 to complete a GAIN assessment. In mid-October, X.S. was given a specific referral...

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1 practice notes
  • Cobb v. King, 2020AP925
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • July 6, 2022
    ...be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate 976 N.W.2d 425 erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes [happily] up to it and says, "I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away.......
1 cases
  • Cobb v. King, 2020AP925
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • July 6, 2022
    ...be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate 976 N.W.2d 425 erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes [happily] up to it and says, "I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away.......

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