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Court Finds Probable Cause to Commit Scott R. Schmidt as a Sexually Violent Person


Department of Justice Will Try Schmidt Under State's Sexually Violent Person Statute


MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that Walworth County Circuit Court Judge Robert J. Kennedy has found probable cause to commit Scott R. Schmidt to treatment under the state's sexual predator law. The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) filed the state's petition to commit Schmidt to treatment on July 1, 2009.


Chapter 980 of the Wisconsin Statutes relates to the control, care and treatment of sexually violent persons. Under Wisconsin law, a person may be subject to a civil commitment when the person has been convicted of a sexually violent offense, has a mental disorder, and is dangerous to others because the mental disorder makes it likely he or she will commit further acts of sexual violence.  A civil commitment is defined in Wisconsin law as commitment to the custody and care of the Department of Health Services for control, care, and treatment until the person is no longer considered sexually violent.


According to the DOJ petition, in 1991 Schmidt was convicted in Walworth County of four counts of First Degree Sexual Assault, one count of Burglary, one count of False Imprisonment, and one count of Intimidation of a Witness.  He was sentenced to a total of twenty years in prison.  Schmidt was scheduled for release from the Department of Corrections on July 7, 2009, but will be detained at a Department of Health Services facility awaiting trial.


The state's petition alleges that Schmidt suffers from a mental condition that predisposes him to engage in acts of sexual violence.  The petition also alleges that Schmidt is dangerous as his mental disorder makes it likely that he will engage in future acts of sexual violence.  A petition is only an allegation and a finding of probable cause only allows the state's case to move forward.  Schmidt is legally presumed not to be a sexually violent person unless and until the state proves him to be a sexually violent person at a trial.


Assistant Attorney General Erik Peterson represents the state in this case.