State v. KnipferAnnotate this Case
In these two consolidated cases, the court of appeals affirmed the circuit courts’ orders denying Defendants’ petitions for discharge from involuntary commitment under Wis. Stat. ch. 980 as a sexually violent person. Defendants argued, inter alia, that the circuit courts erred by declining to apply the Daubert evidentiary standard under Wis. Stat. 907.02(1) to the prosecution’s expert witnesses who testified in Defendants’ discharge petition trials because the petitions commenced “actions” or “special proceedings” after the Daubert standard’s first date of applicability. (The underlying chapter 980 commitments commenced several years before the Daubert standard’s first date of applicability.) The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Daubert evidentiary standard under section 907.02(1) did not apply to expert testimony in Defendants’ chapter 980 discharge petition trials because their discharge petitions did not “commence” “actions” or “special proceedings”; and (2) Defendants’ equal protection and due process rights were not violated because the legislature had a rational basis for not applying the Daubert evidentiary standard to expert testimony in post-Daubert chapter 980 discharge petitions that seek relief from pre-Daubert chapter 980 commitments.