Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Blake v. Jossart

Supreme Court of Wisconsin

July 6, 2016

Sonja Blake, Plaintiff-Appellant-Petitioner,
v.
Debra Jossart, Kerry Milkie and Racine County Human Services Department, Defendants, Department of Children and Families and Eloise Anderson, Defendants-Respondents.

          ORAL ARGUMENT: February 24, 2016

         REVIEW OF A DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS (Reported at 364 Wis.2d 526, 868 N.W.2d 198) (Ct. App. 2015 – Unpublished)

         REVIEW of a decision of the Court L.C. No. 2010CV1048 of Appeals. Circuit Court Dane County, Shelley J. Gaylord Justice

          For the plaintiff-appellant-petitioner, there were briefs by Sheila Sullivan, Jill M. Kastner, and Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc., Milwaukee, and oral argument by Sheila Sullivan.

          For the defendants-respondents, the cause was argued by Maura F.J. Whelan, assistant attorney general with whom on the brief was Brad D. Schimel, attorney general.

          ABRAHAMSON, J. and BRADLEY, A. W., J. dissent (Opinion filed).

          DAVID T. PROSSER, J.

         ¶1 This is a review of an unpublished decision of the court of appeals affirming a circuit court order rejecting constitutional challenges to Wis.Stat. § 48.685(5)(br)5. (2013-14).[1]

         ¶2 In late 2009 the Wisconsin Legislature approved 2009 Wis. Act 76, which substantially changed the circumstances under which the Department of Children and Families (DCF) may license and certify childcare providers in Wisconsin. One provision in the new law, Wis.Stat. § 48.685(5)(br)5., "imposes a lifetime ban on licensure" and certification for persons who have been convicted of specific crimes. Jamerson v. DCF, 2013 WI 7, ¶2, 345 Wis.2d 205, 824 N.W.2d 822.

         ¶3 After the Act took effect, the Racine County Human Services Department (Racine County) revoked the childcare certification previously issued to Sonja Blake (Blake) because she had a 1986 conviction for misdemeanor welfare fraud. Under Wis.Stat. § 48.685(5)(br)5., the 1986 conviction made Blake ineligible for certification. Blake raised various constitutional challenges to the statute in the Dane County Circuit Court and in the court of appeals. She did not prevail.

         ¶4 Before this court, Blake renews the three constitutional arguments she raised in the courts below. First, she contends that the lifetime prohibition on certification creates an arbitrary and irrational classification that denies her equal protection of the law. Second, she claims that the prohibition deprives her of a liberty interest by abridging an alleged substantive due process right to practice her chosen profession as a state-regulated childcare provider. Finally, she argues that the prohibition creates an "impermissible irrebuttable presumption." For the reasons discussed below, we disagree with each of her arguments and affirm the decision of the court of appeals.

         I. BACKGROUND A. The Children's Code and 2009 Wis.Act. 76

         ¶5 DCF licenses childcare centers and certifies childcare providers under Chapter 48 of the Wisconsin Statutes.[2] "To obtain a license . . . to operate a child care center, a person must . . . meet the requirements specified in s. 48.685."[3] To receive certification as a childcare provider, a person must, among other prerequisites, "meet the minimum requirements for certification established by the department under s. 49.155(1d)" and "meet the requirements specified in s. 48.685."[4]

         ¶6 A person need not obtain a license to operate a childcare center if the center provides care and supervision for less than 4 children under the age of 7.[5] However, only a licensed childcare center or a person with a childcare certification "may receive payment for providing child care services for an individual who is determined eligible for a child care subsidy under s. 49.155."[6]

         ¶7 The Wisconsin Shares program detailed in Wis.Stat. § 49.155 provides subsidies to families meeting certain financial eligibility requirements. These subsidies eventually reach childcare centers and childcare providers, so long as they are licensed or certified.[7] To acquire a license or certification, a person must meet the requirements set forth in Wis.Stat. § 48.685. If a person fails to obtain a license or certification because the person is ineligible under § 48.685, the person is ineligible to receive Wisconsin Shares dollars.

         ¶8 Wisconsin Stat. § 48.685 provides for an extensive search of childcare providers' backgrounds for any record of criminal history or child abuse. The section places a lifetime prohibition on licensure or certification for people with certain criminal convictions on their records, as subdivision 5., at issue in this case, demonstrates:

(br) For purposes of licensing a person to operate a child care center under s. 48.65[ or] certifying a child care provider under s. 48.651, . . . no person who has been convicted or adjudicated delinquent on or after his or her 12th birthday for committing any of the following offenses . . . may be permitted to demonstrate that he
or she has been rehabilitated:
. . . .
5. An offense involving fraudulent activity as a participant in the Wisconsin Works program under ss. 49.141 to 49.161, including as a recipient of a child care subsidy under s. 49.155, or as a recipient of aid to families with dependent children under s. 49.19, medical assistance under subch. IV of ch. 49, food stamps benefits under the food stamp program under 7 U.S.C. 2011 to 2036, supplemental security income payments under s. 49.77, payments for the support of children of supplemental security income recipients under s. 49.775, or health care benefits under the Badger Care health care program under s. 49.665.[8]

         ¶9 Subdivisions 6. and 7. prohibit licensure and certification based on convictions for other offenses, but the prohibitions apply only "if the person completed his or her sentence, including any probation, parole, or extended supervision, or was discharged by the department of corrections, less than 5 years before the date" of the background check.[9]

         ¶10 These lifetime and five-year prohibitions on eligibility under Wis.Stat. § 48.685(5)(br) stand in contrast to the prohibitions listed in § 48.685(4m)(a)-(b). Although § 48.685(4m)(a) and (b) also disqualify from licensure or certification people with certain criminal convictions, § 48.685(5)(a) allows for licensure or certification notwithstanding prior conviction "if the person demonstrates to the department . . . by clear and convincing evidence . . . that he or she has been rehabilitated."

         ¶11 The legislature created the paragraph (br) prohibitions in Section 24 of 2009 Wis.Act. 76, which followed a series of articles in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel detailing extensive fraud and abuse by childcare providers receiving funds through Wisconsin Shares.[10] Prior to Act 76, the law contained a rebuttable presumption of ineligibility for licensure or certification if a person had a specified criminal conviction, but it did not permanently bar people from eligibility based on any prior conviction.[11]

         B. Blake's Childcare Certification

         ¶12 Blake received her childcare provider certification from Racine County in October 2001. She then began operating a childcare business from her own home. Starting with her eldest daughter's two children, Blake soon grew her childcare business into caring for the children of her daughter's and her son's friends. By 2006 Blake provided childcare for approximately 12 children, with about 4 to 6 children in her home at any one time.

         ¶13 Operating the childcare business became Blake's primary source of income. Rather than charging parents for her childcare services, Blake received Wisconsin Shares reimbursement payments from the Racine County Workforce Development Center because of her status as a certified provider. Funds from the Wisconsin Shares program represented Blake's sole source of income for her childcare services. During the period between 2001 and 2006, Blake estimated that she received payments totaling approximately $26, 000 from Wisconsin Shares each year.

         ¶14 Racine County revoked Blake's childcare certification in 2006 for failure to disclose that her son lived in her home and failure to submit a form disclosing information about his background. Without a certification permitting her to receive payments from Wisconsin Shares-eligible parents, Blake stopped running her home childcare business. She worked full time as a caregiver in an assisted living home for adults while waiting to reapply for certification.

         ¶15 When she became eligible again in 2008, Blake reapplied for and received a new childcare certification. With a new certification valid from June 6, 2008, to June 6, 2010, Blake left her job at the assisted living home to restart her childcare business. Blake resumed providing care for approximately 12 different children at various times throughout the week. Over the ensuing year, however, nearly all the children for whom Blake provided care began receiving childcare elsewhere, eventually leaving Blake with only 2 children. With business disappearing, Blake took a part-time job at a children's learning center in 2009.

         ¶16 In January 2010, Racine County notified Blake that it would permanently revoke her childcare certification, effective February 1, 2010. To comply with Act 76's changes to the law regarding childcare certifications, the County had conducted a review of providers' criminal backgrounds to determine whether the new law affected any certified providers in the county.

         ¶17 Blake's background check revealed a 1986 conviction for public assistance fraud. According to the Judgment of Conviction issued by the Racine County Circuit Court on December 19, 1986, Blake pled no contest to misdemeanor welfare fraud, contrary to Wis.Stat. § 49.12(9) (1983-84). Blake pled to the misdemeanor after originally facing a felony charge for failing to report as assets a car and a motorcycle that she owned. At the time, she thought she did not have to report the car as an asset because it was a gift and it did not run. As a result of the conviction, she served two years probation and paid $294 in restitution for the excess welfare payment she received.

         ¶18 Racine County determined that, as a conviction related to public benefits fraud, her 1986 conviction fell within the category of offenses for which Act 76 required permanent revocation under new Wis.Stat. § 48.685(5)(br)5.[12] After the County revoked her certification, Blake again closed her home childcare business. She also lost her job at the children's learning center upon informing her employer that the County revoked her certification.

         II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶19 Blake commenced this action on March 1, 2010, to challenge revocation of her childcare certification. She claimed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that revocation of her certification interfered with rights secured by the United States Constitution.[13] She sought a declaratory judgment holding that Wis.Stat. § 48.685(5)(br)5. unconstitutionally violated her right to equal protection, violated her right to due process, and created an impermissible irrebuttable presumption. She argued that, facially and as applied to her, the statute's new list of disqualifying offenses denied her constitutional rights by completely barring her from eligibility for licensure or certification.

         ¶20 Both parties filed for summary judgment, and the Dane County Circuit Court[14] rejected Blake's constitutional challenges. Disposing of Blake's facial challenge to the Wis.Stat. § 48.685(5)(br)5. prohibition on certification, the circuit court relied on Brown v. State Department of Children and Families, 2012 WI App. 61, 341 Wis.2d 449, 819 N.W.2d 827, in which the court of appeals determined that the new caregiver law passed the rational basis test and did not, on its face, violate the equal protection guarantee. In particular, the circuit court relied on Brown's reasoning that the law "serves a legitimate purpose of preventing further fraud in the Wisconsin Shares program" and that "the legislature did not apply an irrational or arbitrary classification in passing the law."

         ¶21 The circuit court further concluded that Blake failed to demonstrate that Wis.Stat. § 48.685(5)(br)5. was unconstitutional as applied to her. Again relying on Brown, the court first concluded that Blake overstated her liberty interest by asserting a right to provide subsidized childcare. Rather, the court asked whether Wis.Stat. § 48.685(5)(br)5. denied Blake the opportunity to make a living in childcare in general-- and the court answered that it did not. The circuit court observed that, to prevail on her as-applied challenge, Blake would need to provide facts supporting her claim that the statute constituted a de facto deprivation of her ability to provide childcare. She failed to make that showing. Indeed, the court said, Blake's efforts to continue working in childcare after loss of her certification had "been nil or virtually nil."

         ¶22 Blake appealed, and the court of appeals affirmed. Blake v. Jossart, No. 2012AP2578, unpublished slip op. (Wis. Ct. App. June 11, 2015) (per curiam). First, the court of appeals declined to address Blake's facial equal protection challenge because, as Blake acknowledged in a footnote of her brief, Brown controlled on that issue and the court of appeals could not overrule its own decision. Id., ¶3. The court also declined to consider her as-applied equal protection argument, reasoning that she had failed to cite "any case law or legal standard relevant to such an analysis." Id., ¶4.

         ¶23 Next, the court turned to Blake's claim that Act 76 created an impermissible irrebuttable presumption that individuals convicted of an offense involving fraudulent activity are permanently unfit for certification. Id., ¶¶5-6. Appreciating Blake's "acknowledge[ment] that the current vitality of the irrebuttable presumption concept is questionable, " the court of appeals found her argument unpersuasive because she did "not cite any case law in which an occupational-regulation statute such as this one ha[d] been held unconstitutional for relying on such a presumption." Id., ¶6.

         ¶24 Finally, to consider Blake's substantive due process argument, the court of appeals assumed that Blake had a constitutionally protected liberty interest in working in "the field of state-regulated child care." Id., ¶¶7-9. Turning again to Brown, the court of appeals concluded that "barring persons convicted of 'crimes involving fraudulent use of funds from enumerated government programs is rationally related to a legitimate interest in preventing further fraud' to the child care subsidy program." Id., ¶9 (citing Brown, 341 Wis.2d 449, ¶40). Blake failed to demonstrate that "this relationship becomes irrational or arbitrary" when the individual's past offense "was a de minimis example of fraudulent activity." Id.

         ¶25 On July 29, 2015, Blake filed a petition for review, which this court granted on November 4, 2015.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶26 A statute's constitutionality is a question of law that this court reviews de novo. Aicher ex rel. LaBarge v. Wis. Patients Comp. Fund, 2000 WI 98, ¶18, 237 Wis.2d 99, 613 N.W.2d 849 (citing Riccitelli v. Broekhuizen, 227 Wis.2d. 100, 119, 595 N.W.2d 392 (1999)). To succeed on a claim that a law is unconstitutional on its face, the challenger must demonstrate that the State cannot enforce the law under any circumstances. State v. Wood, 2010 WI 17, ¶13, 323 Wis.2d 321, 780 N.W.2d 63 (citing Olson v. Town of Cottage Grove, 2008 WI 51, ¶44 n.9, 309 Wis.2d 365, 749 N.W.2d 211). If the challenger succeeds, then the law is void for all purposes. Id. (citing State ex rel. Comm'rs of Pub. Lands v. Anderson, 56 Wis.2d 666, 672, 203 N.W.2d 84 (1973)). An as-applied challenge, in contrast, focuses on the facts of the challenger's case, and if the court determines that the law actually violates the challenger's rights, then "the operation of the law is void as to the party asserting the claim." Id. (first citing State v. Hamdan, 2003 WI 113, ¶43, 264 Wis.2d 433, 665 N.W.2d 785; then citing Anderson, 56 Wis.2d at 672).

         ¶27 We presume that statutes are constitutional, Wood, 323 Wis.2d 321, ¶15, and if any doubt exists about the statute's constitutionality, the court must resolve that doubt in favor of upholding the statute, Aicher, 237 Wis.2d 99, ¶18 (citing State ex rel. Hammermill Paper Co. v. La Plante, 58 Wis.2d 32, 46–47, 205 N.W.2d 784 (1973)). A party challenging a statute overcomes the strong presumption of constitutionality only by demonstrating that the statute is unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt. Id., ¶19 (citing State v. Hezzie R., 219 Wis.2d 848, 863, 580 N.W.2d 660 (1998)). "It is not sufficient for the challenging party merely to establish doubt about a statute's constitutionality, and it is not enough to establish that a statute probably is unconstitutional." Id. (citing Hammermill Paper Co., 58 Wis.2d at 46–47).

         IV. DISCUSSION

         ¶28 According to the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, "No state shall . . . deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Article I, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution further provides: "All people are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights; among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness . . . ." As a general principle, this court treats these provisions of the United States and Wisconsin Constitutions as consistent with each other in their due process and equal protection guarantees.[15]

         ¶29 Blake raises three constitutional challenges to the absolute bar on childcare licensure and certification for people convicted of certain criminal offenses, as provided by Wis.Stat. § 48.685(5)(br)5. She argues that revocation of her certification under this statute (1) denies her equal protection of the law, (2) violates her right to due process, and (3) creates an impermissible irrebuttable presumption. We consider each of these three arguments in turn.

         A. Equal Protection

         ¶30 To show that a statute unconstitutionally denies equal protection of the law, a party must demonstrate that the statute treats members of similarly situated classes differently. Tomczak v. Bailey, 218 Wis.2d 245, 261, 578 N.W.2d 166 (1998). "The right to equal protection does not require that such similarly situated classes be treated identically, but rather requires that the distinction made in treatment have some relevance to the purpose for which classification of the classes is made." State v. West, 2011 WI 83, ¶90, 336 Wis.2d 578, 800 N.W.2d 929 (citing State v. Post, 197 Wis.2d 279, 321, 541 N.W.2d 115 (1995)).

         ¶31 "In cases where a statutory classification does not involve a suspect class or a fundamental interest, the classification will be upheld if there is any rational basis to support it." State v. Burgess, 2003 WI 71, ¶10, 262 Wis.2d 354, 665 N.W.2d 124 (citing Milwaukee Brewers v. DHSS, 130 Wis.2d 79, 98, 387 N.W.2d 254 (1986)). Only when a statute "impinges on a 'fundamental right' or creates a classification that 'operates to the peculiar disadvantage of a suspect class'" will the court engage in strict scrutiny analysis. Aicher, 237 Wis.2d 99, ¶56 (quoting Tomczak, 218 Wis.2d at 261–62).

         ¶32 Under rational basis analysis, a statute is unconstitutional if the legislature applied an irrational or arbitrary classification when enacting the provision. Burgess, 262 Wis.2d 354, ¶32; Aicher, 237 Wis.2d 99, ¶57. Therefore, the court will uphold a statute unless "it is 'patently arbitrary' and bears no rational relationship to a legitimate government interest." Aicher, 237 Wis.2d 99, ¶57 (quoting Tomczak, 218 Wis.2d at 264). Though classifications may be imperfect and might create inequities, the court seeks to determine whether a classification rationally advances a legislative objective. Id. To do so, the court must identify or, if necessary, construct a rationale supporting the legislature's determination. Metro. Assocs. v. City of Milwaukee, 2011 WI 20, ¶62, 332 Wis.2d 85, 796 N.W.2d 717. "Once the court identifies a rational basis for a statute, the court must assume the legislature passed the act on that basis . . . ." Ferdon ex rel. Petrucelli v. Wis. Patients Comp. Fund, 2005 WI 125, ¶75, 284 Wis.2d 573, 701 N.W.2d 440.[16]

         ¶33 A legislative classification satisfies the rational basis standard if it meets the following five criteria:

(1) All classification[s] must be based upon substantial distinctions which make one class really different from another.
(2) The classification adopted must be germane to the purpose of the law.
(3) The classification must not be based upon existing circumstances only. [It must not be so constituted as to preclude addition to the numbers included within a class.]
(4) To whatever class a law may apply, it must apply equally to each member thereof.
(5) That the characteristics of each class should be so far different from those of other classes as to reasonably suggest at least the propriety, having regard to the public good, of substantially different legislation.

Aicher, 237 Wis.2d 99, ¶58 (alterations in original) (quoting Tomczak, 218 Wis.2d at 272-73); accord Metro. Assocs., 332 Wis.2d 85, ¶64; Nankin v. Village of Shorewood, 2001 WI 92, ¶39, 245 Wis.2d 86, 630 N.W.2d 141.

         ¶34 Blake concedes that her equal protection claim involves neither a suspect class nor a fundamental right; therefore, rational basis analysis is appropriate in this case. She characterizes Act 76 as creating three classes of people with prior convictions: (1) people permanently barred for life from eligibility for licensure or certification; (2) people absolutely barred from eligibility for five years, after which time they remain barred but may prove rehabilitation; and (3) people presumptively barred for life but eligible to prove rehabilitation. These classifications deny her equal protection, she argues, because they are incoherent and lack distinguishing features. Depending on the offense committed, a person convicted of a crime of violence, a crime against children, or a dishonesty-related offense might fall into any of the three classifications, which do not necessarily match the severity of the underlying offense.

         ¶35 DCF counters that the appropriate class to focus on "consists of persons like Blake who have been convicted of 'an offense involving fraudulent activity as a participant' in specified public benefits programs." That classification rationally achieves the legislature's objective of "the elimination of fraud in the Wisconsin Shares program and the protection of the public's scarce financial resources."

         ¶36 In Brown, the court of appeals rejected facial and as-applied challenges to Wis.Stat. § 48.685(5)(br)5. that relied on equal protection grounds. Brown, 341 Wis.2d 449, ¶¶40, 43. Also applying rational basis analysis, the court of appeals first reasoned that the challenger had not demonstrated facial unconstitutionality because, "[r]egardless of whether the law is rationally related to the goal of protecting children, the law is rationally related to the legitimate purpose of prohibiting individuals who dishonestly benefitted from government welfare in the past from obtaining government funding in the form of childcare subsidies." Id., ¶40. Turning to the as-applied argument, the court of appeals acknowledged that "Brown's particular situation--[loss of certification because she had] a single welfare conviction for events occurring more than two decades ago--[was] unfortunate, " but the court declined to hold the statute unconstitutional as applied because Brown "point[ed] to no evidence that she was treated differently from any similarly-situated childcare provider whose license was revoked under the new law." Id., ¶43.

         ¶37 Examining Blake's facial challenge, we conclude that Wis.Stat. § 48.685(5)(br)5. passes rational basis review on its face. We begin our analysis by noting the legislature's organizational structure for paragraph (br), which sets forth seven subdivisions defining categories of people barred from licensure and certification. The class we evaluate for equal protection purposes consists of people permanently ineligible for licensure or certification on the grounds that their record contains a conviction for "[a]n offense involving fraudulent activity as a participant" in one of the various government benefits programs delineated in subdivision 5.

         ¶38 The classification satisfies the first of the five Aicher prongs if "substantial distinctions" demonstrate that the class is truly different from others. Aicher, 237 Wis.2d 99, ¶58. Subdivision 5. contains a comprehensive list of public benefits programs and disqualifies from eligibility people who have convictions for fraudulent activity pertaining to one or more of these programs.

         ¶39 Other subdivisions under paragraph (br) create lifetime prohibitions for people with convictions for crimes against children, certain crimes against life and bodily security, and various crimes involving misappropriation of identity or property. See Wis.Stat. § 48.685(5)(br)1.-4. These subdivisions arguably have purposes different from subdivision 5., such as protecting children, protecting the families of children, and protecting private employers in childcare.

         ¶40 Subdivision 5. imposes ineligibility based on convictions for fraudulent activity related to public assistance programs, meaning that it focuses on a distinct category of criminal activity. Regardless of its merits, Blake's normative argument that the legislature could better achieve the objective of protecting children by developing classifications focused on the severity of the underlying offense does not defeat the fact that the legislature did create a coherent, though broad, classification based on public benefits fraud convictions. Because subdivision 5. targets a cognizable group of individuals whose characteristics are distinct from other classifications in the statute, Wis.Stat. § 48.685(5)(br)5. meets the first prong.

         ¶41 Furthermore, Blake's three-tiered characterization of subsection (5)'s classifications does not disprove the existence of substantial distinctions between classes. Focusing on the impact that different convictions have on a person's eligibility, Blake argues that the legislature did not have a cogent justification for barring some people for life, allowing some people to overcome a lifetime prohibition by proving rehabilitation, and barring others for five years but permitting them to prove rehabilitation after that time. In particular, she observes that "[a]ll three classes include individuals convicted of crimes of violence, offenses against children, and dishonesty-related offenses." The legislature, however, could reasonably determine that creating different outcomes for people with different underlying convictions would most efficaciously advance the objective of preventing fraud against Wisconsin Shares. Because public benefits fraud is the particular type of fraud that the legislature sought to prevent, the legislature could reasonably determine that public benefits fraud offenses warranted a stricter prohibition than other underlying convictions.

         ¶42 To succeed under the second Aicher prong, Blake must prove that the classification is not germane to the law's purpose. See Aicher, 237 Wis.2d 99, ¶58. She contends that barring eligibility under Wis.Stat. § 48.685(5)(br)5. "[f]or purposes of . . . permitting a person to be a . . . caregiver specified in sub. (1)(ag)1.a. of a child care center or child care provider" sweeps too broadly by prohibiting people with public assistance fraud convictions from working in any regulated facility--even those facilities that do not receive public assistance from Wisconsin Shares. Yet even that expansive prohibition cuts to the law's purpose of eliminating fraudulent activity in the Wisconsin Shares program. A caregiver employee with a record of fraudulent conduct could conspire with the operator of a licensed facility to alter records or otherwise defraud the Wisconsin Shares program, particularly if the facility is small and employs only a few caregivers.[17] Moreover, the fact that a licensed facility does not receive funds through Wisconsin Shares at a given time does not make the prohibition any less germane to the purpose of preventing fraudulent activity. If a facility possesses appropriate credentials to accept Wisconsin Shares payments, it always has the option of doing so in the future, thus giving the State a rational basis for always holding the facility to the high standard of never employing people with convictions related to public assistance fraud.

         ¶43 As DCF observes in its brief, Blake implicitly conceded the third and fourth Aicher factors by declining to argue them in her brief. Regarding the third factor, Blake clearly has not proven that the classification is based solely upon existing circumstances. On the contrary, the permanent lifetime prohibition applies to anyone convicted of one or more of the listed public benefits fraud offenses--a group that will presumably continue to expand indefinitely as new people are convicted of crimes in the future. Similar logic demonstrates that Blake has not proven that Wis.Stat. § 48.685(5)(br)5. fails under the fourth prong--equal application--because every person convicted of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.