K.A.P. v. K.A.P

In K.A.P. v. K.A.P., 159 Wis. 2d 384, 389, 464 N.W.2d 106 (Ct. App. 1990) the Court pointed out that while one statute said that the State must file its waiver petition before the plea hearing, another statute authorized the juvenile court to waive a child if the child had become an adult. The State contended that the authority to waive a person who was eighteen trumped any earlier decision on its part not to seek waiver prior to the original plea hearing. K.A.P. asserted that once the State had decided not to file its petition prior to the plea hearing, it had lost the right to file forever, even if he had absconded while the process was pending and had now become an adult. The Court recognized that it was our task to harmonize the two statutes. The Court wrote: The commencement of a delinquency petition without an accompanying waiver petition contemplates that the proceeding will be concluded in the juvenile forum. When, however, a child becomes eighteen during the pendency of the action, the situation is markedly changed. The court's options are distinctly limited: (1) entry of a consent decree (obviously, only with the consent of the child); (2) dismissal with prejudice; or (3) waiver of juvenile court jurisdiction. These significant changes in the child's status and dispositional options, which were not present at the time the action was commenced, satisfy us that the deadline for filing a waiver of juvenile court jurisdiction in a conventional delinquency proceeding does not apply. A statute should be construed to give effect to its leading idea and should be brought into harmony with its purpose.... The leading idea of sec. 48.12(2), Stats., is to redefine the juvenile court's jurisdiction when this special situation arises. In such a setting, waiver becomes an option, not only because the appropriate criteria for waiver under sec. 48.18, Stats., are present, but also because the child has attained eighteen years of age while the action was pending-a condition not present nor reasonably anticipated when the action was commenced. (K.A.P., 159 Wis. 2d at 390-91.)