Judicial Language Project
State v Gabelbauer 2009 Wisc. App LEXIS 1018 (December 30, 2009)
(Case summary by Elizabeth Stapleton, law student)
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- Nature of the Case: Child Sexual Abuse
- Problematic Language: “breast” “undeveloped top”
- Explanation of Problem: The following explanation is not intended as a substantive critique of the outcome reached by the Court.
The court first refers to the child’s undeveloped chest as an "undeveloped top" and later as her "breasts". This language is not only inconsistent, but the term "undeveloped top" is somewhat vague. Further the term "breast" indicates that the victim is a woman rather than a child.
- Suggested Alternatives: Instead of "undeveloped top" or "breast" the court could use the phrase "undeveloped chest" as a more specific, less sexualized, thus more appropriate description for a child victim.