Pautz v. State

In Pautz v. State, 64 Wis. 2d 469, 479, 219 N.W.2d 327 (1974), Dale Pautz, who was then sixteen, stabbed and killed his stepmother and five-year-old stepbrother. At trial, two court-appointed medical experts testified that Pautz lacked capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. See Pautz, 64 Wis. 2d at 473. However, the jury concluded that, while Kemp lacked capacity when he killed his stepbrother, he did not lack capacity when he killed his stepmother. See Pautz, 64 Wis. 2d at 471. The supreme court upheld the verdict, concluding that it was reasonable and that there was no need for a new trial in the interests of justice. See Pautz, 64 Wis. 2d at 479. The court explained that the jury had several grounds on which it could have rejected the expert testimony: Pautz provided a detailed confession in which he described how he planned his stepmother's murder; the story Pautz told the medical experts conflicted with the account he gave in his confession; the experts did not examine Pautz until four months after the incident and based their opinions on information provided almost entirely by Pautz; and, Pautz told the experts that he wanted to get off with a light sentence. See Pautz, 64 Wis. 2d at 476-77. The court also stated that Pautz had no history of mental illness; Pautz's alleged mental disorder did not match the nature of the crime; and, Pautz was able to recall what happened and signed a detailed confession indicating that he intended to kill his stepmother. See Pautz, 64 Wis. 2d at 479.