Feb. 18, 2019 – Wisconsin Justice Initiative Executive Director Gretchen Schuldt responded Monday to Gov. Tony Evers' proposal to decriminalize some marijuana use and to establish a medical marijuana program.
"This is a good positive step," Schuldt said, noting that WJI is awaiting details. "Wisconsin's refusal so far to adopt a medical marijuana program is hurting the state's residents and its economy. Why would any individual or business established in a medical marijuana state want to move to Wisconsin, where legitimate treatments are suddenly felonies?"
Evers is right to propose decriminalizing some marijuana offenses and expunction of criminal records for some past marijuana convictions, she said.
"It is time for this state to join the 21st century on marijuana laws," Schuldt said. "Wisconsinites made their opinion clear in November, when they voted in 16 advisory referendums in favor of cannabis legalization. Now it's time to find out if the Legislature respects the will and legitimate medical needs of the voters."
Show your support! Get your own "Legalize" button here.
Note: WJI will continue the "Walker's judges" features for judges appointed by former Gov. Scott Walker who are still on the bench. We also will add information about Gov. Tony Evers' appointees as he makes them.
The information here is taken from the appointees' own judgeship applications.
Name: Daniel J. Gabler
Appointed to: Milwaukee County Circuit Court
Appointment date: Dec. 26, 2018
Law School – Marquette University
Undergrad – Creighton University
High School –Not listed
March 2017-present – Chairman, Wisconsin Parole Commission
1999-2017 – Milwaukee County assistant district attorney
1997-1999 – Compliance officer, Goodwill Industries
1996-1997 – Public affairs manager, Time Warner Cable
Wisconsin Bar Association
Milwaukee Bar Association
Arbitrator, Milwaukee Better Business Bureau
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
St. Thomas More Society
Gabler, on his resume, lists his accomplishments as a Milwaukee County assistant district attorney.
Legal experience as an advocate in criminal litigation, civil litigation, administrative proceedings: Over 27 years of experience in the legal profession, advocated for the rights and interests of individuals, families, small businesses, community based organizations, municipal governments, witnesses and crime victims through firm but fair advocacy in faithful adherence to the law – ever mindful that what I may want the law to be cannot be my guide. My guide has been the law as written and interpreted by higher courts.
Worked as a Better Business Bureau arbitrator required application of facts consistent with terms of arbitration agreement and the Wisconsin Lemon Law.
No matter how sympathetic the plaintiff / auto owner was, there were times my decisions resulted in disappointment out of my faithfulness to the law.
Most recently was chair of the Wisconsin Parole Commission.
Number of cases tried to verdict or judgment: Jury, more than 100; non-jury, more than 35; arbitration, 10; administrative bodies, More than 2,000 (parole chair).
Cases on appeal: Wrote three appeals briefs in unpublished cases. As clerk to Appeals Judge MIchael T. Sullivan, researched and drafted in part five District I Court of Appeals decisions.
List and describe the three most significant cases in which you were involved: (Gabler listed only two)
State v. Artic, 2006
In this case, I prosecuted Mr. Robert Artic Sr. for Conspiracy to Commit the Crime of Possession with Intent to Deliver Controlled Substance-Cocaine and Keeper of a Drug Place in February 2006 (06 CF 0685). It was a particularly challenging case for the evidence against the defendant was circumstantial. In addition, it was tried before a jury over the course of five days in front of a judge who had just been rotated to the criminal division, having virtually no prior criminal jury trial experience. After presenting numerous police testimony evidence and over 25 exhibits, the jury found Defendant Artic guilty of both counts.
Racine v. Weisflog, 1991
The case resulted in an opinion issued by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals that addressed uncharted parameters of a corporate officer / director’s fiduciary duties to the corporation when a business opportunity presents itself to that officer / director. As a judicial law clerk for the Hon. Michael T Sullivan, I researched, drafted and conferred with other judges on the panel to arrive at a unanimous opinion that has stood the test of time. ...
The Racine v. Weisflog holding was the synthesis of Wisconsin case law together with general principles of corporate law, and legal treatises and commentaries.
By Gretchen Schuldt
The estates of a man and a woman who hung themselves in the Wood County Jail filed lawsuits last week against the county, alleging officials knew the two were at risk of attempting suicide but did nothing to prevent it.
The suicides occurred after the victims were unrepresented by legal counsel during their separate preliminary hearings, held about eight months apart.
Trequelle Vann-Marcouex, 18, hung himself Aug. 15, the night after he was forced to represent himself at a preliminary hearing because there was no defense lawyer available to take the case. Wood County Circuit Judge Todd P. Wolf decided not to wait for the State Public Defender's Office (SPD) to assign a lawyer and did not appoint a lawyer at county expense, which would have been proper procedure.
Vann-Marcouex died Aug. 18.
Casey Teskoski, 28, hung herself Dec. 22, 2017, the day after Wood County Circuit Judge Gregory J. Potter held a preliminary hearing in her case. She also was not represented by a lawyer, according to online court records.
She died Dec. 29, according to the suit.
Potter is the chief judge of the state court system's District VI, which includes Adams, Clark, Columbia, Dodge, Green Lake, Juneau, Marquette, Portage, Sauk, Waushara, and Wood Counties.
The two who died did not have legal representation at their preliminary hearings.
Most serious offenses for inmates in Wisconsin prisons on July 1, 2018
Source: Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Adult Corrections Program
* All types or degrees of the offense.
-H-Includes aggregated assaults, injuries, hit and run, endangering safety, carjacking, and physical abuse of a child.
A few notes on the data:
Not shown on the charts – 4,947 men and 420 women were in prison because their supervision (probation, parole, or extended supervision) was revoked without a new conviction. Some 6,130 men and 386 women were revoked with a new conviction. The Fiscal Bureau has this cautionary note: "Due to date limitations, the number of revocations with no new sentences my be over represented, as further investigations of revocations frequently result in new sentences at a later date."
The number of revocations with new sentences are excluded from cumulative populations because officials "cannot identify whether the type of offense is for the original sentence that led to revocation or the new offense that led to a new sentence."
Join us for an engaging after-work event of beverages and light appetizers at a beautiful Shorewood home.
Featuring speaker State Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Dallet, with insights and reflections regarding her campaign and first several months on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Come network with others who believe that justice is for all, not only those who can afford to hire attorneys.
Learn what Wisconsin Justice Initiative is doing to advocate for serious reforms and to educate the public about Wisconsin's justice system.
"Justice Matters" event details:
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
2729 E. Capitol Dr., Shorewood
5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
$60 General Admission
$25 for public service/nonprofit individuals
Beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages, and light appetizers will be served
Hosts: Tamar Kelber and Brian Feiges
Click below to register!
By Gretchen Schuldt
State legislators have introduced a package of drunk-driving proposals that would increase minimum prison terms for people with five or six drunk driving convictions and criminalize first-offense drunk driving, which now is considered a civil ordinance violation.
Another bill would impose financial penalties on some alleged first-time offenders that are not levied on those charged criminally with operating while intoxicated second offense or greater.
Currently, those convicted of their fifth- or sixth-offense drunk driving offense face a minimum of six months' incarceration and a $600 fine. The bill would require a prison term of at least 18 months.
The Wisconsin Justice Initiative on Wednesday lent its support to a bipartisan bill that would reform Wisconsin's criminal record expunction process:
“This is a good first step in criminal justice reform in Wisconsin. It is much-needed and positive legislation," WJI Executive Director Gretchen Schuldt said. "We hope that bipartisan cooperation continues when it comes to other measures that will reduce mass incarceration and the burdensome collateral consequences of criminal convictions."
The bill would eliminate the existing discriminatory provision that a person must be under the age of 25 when he or she committed the crime to have the record qualify for expungement. Current law also requires that the presiding judge, at the time of sentencing, find the offense eligible for expungement.
The bill would allow an offender, after completing his or her sentence, to petition the court for expungement. The bill also would retroactively apply to people convicted before the bill's adoption.
The bill also would allow a sentencing judge to order that an offender's record not be eligible for expungement.
Records of crimes carrying a penalty of six years in prison or less would be eligible for expunction, though records for some crimes, including violent crimes, would not be eligible.
By Gretchen Schuldt
The number of possession of marijuana cases filed in Milwaukee Municipal Court fell 17 percent from 2017 to 2018, court records show.
There were a total of 994 adult and juvenile possession of marijuana charges opened in 2017 and 824 in 2018, according to the figures. That is a year-to-year decline of 170 cases.
The caseload reflects police activity, but is not a total count of arrests, as some cases may get dismissed before they get to court.
In November, 75 percent of City of Milwaukee voters supported legalization of recreational marijuana. Some 52 cases were filed that month. In December, however, 134 cases were filed, the most since November, 2017.
Milwaukee County has been awarded a $2.3 million Safety and Justice Challenge Grant from the MacArthur Foundation to continue efforts to reduce inmate populations at the County Jail and House of Correction.
The two-year grant will run through December 31, 2020. The county received an earlier $2 million grant in 2016.
Milwaukee County Chief Judge Maxine White said in a memo the new grant will focus on technical assistance, refined case processing, mental health diversion, reentry coordination, enhanced data capacity, and community engagement.
The MacArthur steering committee complimented stakeholders on efforts made thus far to reduce the combined jail / House of Correction population of roughly 2,000 to 2,100 county inmates.
"The committee believes, however, that Milwaukee's efforts to reduce the pretrial population could be strengthened significantly by incorporating concrete strategies to directly address the deficiencies in case processing," Senior MacArthur Program Manager Patrick Griffin wrote in a an award letter.
Milwaukee should seek technical assistance to draw up management plans and new strategies to reform the process, he said.
"Additionally, the steering committee believes Milwaukee can develop a stronger strategy to address violations in revocations of community supervision," he wrote.
Racial disparities also must be addressed, he said. The county and other grant participant should analyze to understand how strategies and projected population reductions will affect people of color.
By Gretchen Schuldt
Wisconsin keeps more people on parole longer than most other states, and more parole terms end with incarceration here than in other states, according to a report released Tuesday by the Columbia Justice Lab.
“Our report contains troubling findings that Wisconsin is wasting money and wasting lives by supervising and violating thousands of people not for new crimes, but for technical violations of supervision,” Vincent Schiraldi, co-director of the Justice Lab and former Commissioner of New York City Probation, said in a prepared statement. “Wisconsin should now follow the example of dozens of states and focus community supervision resources on those most in need of it, stop returning people to prison for ‘ticky-tack’ rule violations, and use the savings from such reforms to fund programs and opportunities that help people turn their lives around.”
Below are highlights from the report, "The Wisconsin Community Corrections Story." The language generally taken straight from the document (omitting citations).
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