2017 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 938. Juvenile justice code.
938.12 Jurisdiction over juveniles alleged to be delinquent.

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 938.12 (2017)

938.12 Jurisdiction over juveniles alleged to be delinquent.

(1)In general. The court has exclusive jurisdiction, except as provided in ss. 938.17, 938.18, and 938.183, over any juvenile 10 years of age or older who is alleged to be delinquent.

(2)Seventeen-year-olds. If a petition alleging that a juvenile is delinquent is filed before the juvenile is 17 years of age, but the juvenile becomes 17 years of age before admitting the facts of the petition at the plea hearing or if the juvenile denies the facts, before an adjudication, the court retains jurisdiction over the case.

History: 1995 a. 77; 2005 a. 344.

The state may not delay in charging a child in order to avoid juvenile court jurisdiction. State v. Becker, 74 Wis. 2d 675, 247 N.W.2d 495 (1976).

Notwithstanding s. 48.13 (12), 1979 Stats., the court had jurisdiction under s. 48.12 (1), 1979 Stats., over a child who committed a delinquent act before his 12th birthday but was charged after his 12th birthday. In Matter of D.V. 100 Wis. 2d 363, 302 N.W.2d 64 (Ct. App. 1981).

Under the facts of the case, the court retained jurisdiction to determine waiver although the juvenile turned 18 after the proceedings were commenced. In Interest of TDP, 109 Wis. 2d 495, 326 N.W.2d 741 (1982).

A contempt of court allegation did not support a determination of delinquency. In Interest of V.G. 111 Wis. 2d 647, 331 N.W.2d 632 (Ct. App. 1983).

A prior adult proceeding that litigated the question of the respondent's age collaterally estopped the state from relitigating the same question in juvenile court, and the juvenile court had subject matter jurisdiction of the case. In Interest of H.N.T. 125 Wis. 2d 242, 371 N.W.2d 395 (Ct. App. 1985).

Juvenile court proceedings are commenced under sub. (2) upon filing the petition. The child need not appear in juvenile court before reaching age 18 for the court to retain jurisdiction. In Interest of D.W.B. 158 Wis. 2d 398, 462 N.W.2d 520 (1990).

When a juvenile turns 18 during the pendency of proceedings, the filing of a waiver petition prior to a plea hearing is not required for waiver of jurisdiction under sub. (2). In Interest of K.A.P. 159 Wis. 2d 384, 464 N.W.2d 106 (Ct. App. 1990).

The age of the defendant at the time of charging determines juvenile court jurisdiction regardless of the defendant's age at the time of the offense. State v. Annola, 168 Wis. 2d 453, 484 N.W.2d 138 (1992).

Wisconsin courts have jurisdiction over resident juveniles alleged to be delinquent because they violated another state's criminal laws. 70 Atty. Gen. 143.

Greater Jurisdiction Discretion. Schneider & Harrison. Wis. Law. Apr. 1996.

NOTE: The above annotations cite to s. 48.12, the predecessor statute to s. 938.12.

A defendant is not entitled to an evidentiary hearing as a matter of right whenever there is a mere allegation that the state intentionally “manipulated the system" to avoid juvenile court jurisdiction. The standard for determining when a hearing should be granted is articulated. State v. Velez, 224 Wis. 2d 1, 589 N.W.2d 9 (1999), 96-2430.

The state does not have jurisdiction over delinquent acts committed by Menominee tribal members within reservation boundaries, but does have jurisdiction over acts committed off the reservation. State v. Elmer J.K. 224 Wis. 2d 372, 591 N.W.2d 176 (Ct. App. 1999), 98-2067.

After the filing of a delinquency petition, a juvenile court may waive its jurisdiction over juveniles of certain ages who have been charged with certain crimes. The juvenile's age on the date of the alleged offense mandates whether the juvenile court has competency to consider waiver. An order is not valid when issued by a court that lacks competency due to the failure to follow fundamental statutory requirements. In this case, where the juvenile was below the age for waiver, the waiver order by the juvenile court was invalid and the adult court never obtained jurisdiction. State v. Phillips, 2014 WI App 3, 352 Wis. 2d 493, 842 N.W.2d 504, 12-2103.

Under In the Matter of D.V. 100 Wis. 2d 363, the competency of a circuit court to address criminal acts of an individual is determined by the individual's age when a legal action is filed and not when he or she committed the wrongful acts at issue. State v. Sanders, 2017 WI App 22, 375 Wis. 2d 248, 895 N.W.2d 41, 15-2328.

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