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MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Justice successfully appealed a Marathon County circuit court order that had dismissed a charge of mayhem and held Wisconsin's school zone penalty enhancer unconstitutional as applied to the defendant.
In State v. Leonard J. Quintana, No. 2006AP499-CR (January 17, 2006), the Wisconsin Court of Appeals reversed an order dismissing a charge of mayhem brought against Quintana, holding that the statute criminalizing mayhem should be interpreted broadly to include cutting or mutilation of the forehead. The Court of Appeals also upheld the school zone penalty enhancer against Quintana's constitutional challenge. Under Wisconsin law, circuit courts may impose increased penalties for certain violent crimes committed within 1,000 feet of the premises of a school. The Court of Appeals held that, "through the school zone enhancer, the legislature meant to create a zone where, regardless of time of day or calendar date, the public can consider children safe and protected. The enhancer serves to deter crimes with the most serious adverse impacts on the atmosphere surrounding schools."
"We're grateful that the Court of Appeals agreed with our arguments in support of the charges brought by the Marathon County District Attorney in this case," Van Hollen said. "This decision gives substance to rules designed to make children safer while at school."
The Court of Appeals' decision returns Quintana's case to Marathon County Circuit Court for further proceedings. Quintana enjoys a presumption of innocence in that court. The complaint and amended information filed in this case contain allegations that the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
Assistant Attorney General Christopher G. Wren represented the state in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals proceedings.