To study bail jumping in Wisconsin, WJI and the Mastantuono Coffee & Thomas law firm are looking county by county at 2021 bail-jumping charges. Which counties are charging bail jumping the most? Who are some of the defendants? What happens to those cases? We'll report the statistics from individual counties and tell you the stories from randomly chosen cases.
Misdemeanor bail jumping occurs when a person out on bond on a misdemeanor charge violates the conditions of that bond. Felony bail jumping occurs when a person out on bond on a felony charge violates the conditions of that bond.
A bail-jumping offense may not itself be a crime. Missing a court date, violating a local ordinance, having a drink, or using an illegal drug could all be bail-jumping offenses if bond conditions prohibit the activity.
Largest number of bail-jumping charges issued in a single case: 12
Number of felony bail-jumping charges issued: 338
Number of misdemeanor bail-jumping charges issued: 263
*Felony cases can include felony or misdemeanor bail-jumping charges or both; misdemeanor cases can include only misdemeanor bail-jumping charges. Case counts reported as of January 2022. Criminal traffic cases are not included in this analysis.
Two Menomonie police officers responded the evening of October 29, 2021, to a report of a domestic incident at an apartment. A man reported hearing a woman yell “get off of me” and then some scuffling.
Derick Lazell had just exited the apartment when police arrived. When police said they needed to speak to him, Lazell opened the door to the apartment and called the woman out to talk. She appeared at the door with smudged mascara as if she had been crying.
The officers separated Lazell and the woman to talk. Lazell admitted he had been arguing loudly with his girlfriend after confronting her about cheating on him. He complained that she never did anything for him, never cooked, and would not have sex with him.
The officer noticed small scratches on Lazell’s face. Lazell said they were self-inflicted when he put his hands to his face in frustration with his girlfriend. Lazell denied any physical altercation had occurred.
The girlfriend told the second officer that she and Lazell had argued on and off all day after he accused her of cheating, but nothing physical had happened. She said that when she yelled “get off of me” he was yelling close to her face and she pushed him away.
The officers switched, and the first officer asked the girlfriend about the scratches on Lazell’s face. The girlfriend said Lazell had abused her physically in the past, but not that day. She said she had been sitting on the couch while Lazell stood in front of her with his hands on her shoulders, yelling. She said she leaned back to create distance and Lazell fell on top of her, and the scratches may have occurred then. The officer examined the girlfriend’s hands but did not see skin on her nails.
When the first officer returned to Lazell and asked whether Lazell had argued with his girlfriend at the couch Lazell denied leaning over her or falling on her. He said he had been sitting beside her. He said his girlfriend was trying to set him up but would not give further details.
The officers arrested Lazell for domestic disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor punishable by 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. The complaint filed on November 1 charged Lazell as a repeater due to three prior misdemeanors for possession of amphetamine and drug paraphernalia and bail jumping. The repeater enhancement raised the possible jail term to two years.
On November 1, Dunn County Circuit Judge Christina Mayer set a $500 signature bond. Lazell signed the bond and was released the same day. The bond conditions included that Lazell not commit any new crimes.
On December 11, 2021, Menomonie police were dispatched to the same apartment for a welfare check. A man called to say he had received a photo of bruises on his daughter’s arm from his daughter’s friend. His daughter was Lazell’s girlfriend. The friend indicated that Lazell had caused the bruises.
While enroute to the apartment, police contacted the girlfriend by phone and asked if she was okay. She said she was fine for the time being and confirmed that Lazell had caused bruises on her arms when he grabbed her earlier in the day. The girlfriend indicated that she was alone in the apartment. Lazell had left by foot, and the girlfriend gave officers a description of Lazell’s clothing.
The girlfriend explained on the phone that she and Lazell had broken up a week earlier and she was staying with her new boyfriend. She had returned to Lazell’s apartment to retrieve some of her property. Lazell was emotional and begged her not to leave him but then became angry, grabbed her arms and pushed her against a doorway and then into the bedroom. He then would not let her leave until the officer called.
Based on prior information from contacts with Lazell, police looked for him in the laundry room of the apartment building but did not find him.
An officer then responded to the apartment and questioned the girlfriend. She confirmed the events she discussed on the phone and showed the officer bruises on her right arm. The officer saw three bruise marks in a pattern suggesting they were caused by fingers or a hand.
She also gave police two other apartments where Lazell sometimes could be located, but police did not find him at either place.
An officer contacted the girlfriend again. She said that Lazell had been texting her to see if he could come back. She and the officer agreed that she should say yes. Officers waited for Lazell and intercepted him when he appeared.
Lazell seemed confused about why police were questioning him. He said his girlfriend had been staying with him and was lying about him harming her. One officer indicated that that statement conflicted with information from a police call at the apartment just a few days earlier, at which time the girlfriend was staying with her new boyfriend.
When asked about why the girlfriend had bruises on her arms, Lazell seemed to panic and said he wanted the officers to look at his text messages. He said the girlfriend’s new boyfriend had bruised her when she did not want to have sex with him.
The text messages Lazell showed the officers included normal conversations as well as arguments. To the officers they confirmed that Lazell, the girlfriend, and her new boyfriend seemed to have a toxic love-triangle relationship.
Lazell was arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic abuse battery as a repeater, disorderly conduct as a repeater, and misdemeanor bail jumping based on violating the November 1 release conditions.
Mayer set a $250 cash bond with the condition the Lazell have no contact with the girlfriend.
Lazell remained in custody until mid-April 2022 due to revocation in a Barron County case. He was released on April 18 after Mayer modified the cash bond to a signature bond.
On October 10, 2022, Lazell pleaded guilty to domestic abuse disorderly conduct as a repeater in both cases. The battery and bail jumping charges were dismissed. Mayer sentenced Lazell to costs and surcharges of $553 in each case.
Our methodology: WJI and Mastantuono Coffee & Thomas determined the number of felony and misdemeanor bail-jumping cases and charges in each county through court data. The total number of felony and misdemeanor cases filed in a county was obtained through the state's online court system. Cases selected for the "case file" section are chosen randomly through a random number-generator web site. Facts set forth in the case file section are allegations from criminal complaints.
The intent of the project is to show a variety of bail-jumping cases and the frequency with which such charges are made.
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