State v. Oakley

2001 WI 103, 245 Wis. 2d 447, 629 N.W.2d 200

 

RULE:

In sentencing, a Wisconsin judge can take into account a broad array of factors, including the gravity of the offense and need for protection of the public and potential victims.

FACTS:

Petitioner was initially charged with intentionally refusing to pay child support for his nine children he had fathered with four different women. He was subsequently charged with seven counts of intentionally refusing to provide child support as a repeat offender. He entered into a plea agreement in which he agreed to enter a no contest plea to three counts of intentionally refusing to support his children and have the other four counts read-in for sentencing. The judge ordered that while on probation, petitioner could not have any more children unless he demonstrated that he had the ability to support them and that he was supporting the children he already had. The trial court denied post-conviction relief, the appellate court affirmed, and petitioner requested review.

ISSUE:

Could a father, as a condition of probation for intentionally refusing to pay child support, be required to avoid having another child unless he showed that he could support that child and his current children?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The court affirmed and held that the probation condition was not overbroad, as it did not eliminate petitioner's ability to exercise his constitutional right to procreate. Petitioner could satisfy the condition of probation by making efforts to support his children as required by law. The condition was reasonably related to the probationary goal of rehabilitation because it would assist petitioner in conforming his conduct to the law.

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