Mayfair Mall shooting: Supreme Court says teen should be tried as adult

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday, June 29 that a boy accused of shooting and wounding eight people at a Wauwatosa mall in 2020 should be tried in adult court.

The court, on a 4-3 decision released Wednesday, said a Milwaukee County Children's Court judge was wrong in denying prosecutors' request to waive the teen, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, to adult court.

Chief Justice Annette Ziegler wrote that there was no reasonable basis for denying the state's waiver petition.

The teen has been charged with eight felony counts of first-degree reckless injury. Prosecutors say he opened fire at Mayfair Mall on Nov. 20, 2020, injuring three people in a group he was confronting, a friend who was with him, and four random shoppers.

Shooting at Mayfair Mall

Shooting at Mayfair Mall (November 2020)

Ziegler was joined in the majority opinion by justices Patience Roggensack, Rebecca Bradley and Jill Karofsky.

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Justice Brian Hagedorn dissented, joined by justices Ann Walsh Bradley and Rebecca Dallet.

Shooting at Mayfair Mall

Shooting at Mayfair Mall (November 2020)

"Although another judge might have reasonably reached a different conclusion on the same set of facts, this decision was within the discretion the law affords to circuit court judges," Hagedorn wrote.


Criminal defense attorney Julius Kim, who is not representing anyone in the case, said this kind of order is rare. 

"The Supreme Court just reviews decisions from the court of appeals and will order cases back down to the trial level for additional proceedings. But in this case, the Supreme Court ordered this juvenile be waved into adult court," Kim said. "The concern of the dissenting justices was that, listen, it seems we are replacing a circuit court judge’s discretion with our own. I think they weren’t comfortable with that because the circuit court judges are the ones closest to the case."

Kim does not anticipate this rare order will become a routine route for prosecutors wanting to waive teens into adult court. But it does have an impact.

"It’s definitely something that’s in the back of all lawyers minds," Kim said.

Associated Press contributed to this report.