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John K. Smith, Jr. Committed to Treatment Under Chapter 980


MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that 56-year-old John K. Smith, Jr. was committed in Wood County Circuit Court under Wisconsin’s civil commitment law (Chapter 980, Wis. Stats.) following a court trial in Wisconsin Rapids.  Clark County Circuit Court Judge Jon M. Counsell presided over the case.


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.


John K. Smith, Jr. was convicted of five counts of First Degree Sexual Assault of a Child on May 26, 1992.  He was sentenced to 20 years in the Wisconsin State Prison System.  The Wisconsin Department of Justice filed a petition against John K. Smith, Jr. on February 11, 2011.  The state’s petition alleges that John K. Smith, Jr. suffers from a mental condition that predisposes him to engage in acts of sexual violence.  The petition also alleges that he is dangerous as his mental disorder makes it likely that he will engage in future acts of sexual violence.


John K. Smith, Jr. was scheduled to be released from the Department of Corrections on February 15, 2011.  After the commitment petition was filed by the state, he was instead transferred to secure custody in a Department of Health Services institution while awaiting resolution of the court proceedings.


Assistant Attorney Rebecca R. Weise represents the state in this case.