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.
Total number of cases with bail-jumping charges: 194
Total number of misdemeanor and felony cases: 558
Percent of misdemeanor and felony cases that include bail-jumping charges: 35%
Total number of felony cases with bail-jumping charges: 147*
Total number of all felony cases: 318
Percent of felony cases that include bail-jumping charges: 46%
Total number of misdemeanor cases with bail-jumping charges: 47
Total number of all misdemeanor cases: 240
Percent of misdemeanor cases that include bail-jumping charges: 20%
Largest number of bail-jumping charges issued in a single case: 18
Number of felony bail-jumping charges issued: 356
Number of misdemeanor bail-jumping charges issued: 164
*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.
The first time Dominic was busted on criminal charges, he had a bunch of drugs and cash and a gun in his car and said he was an addict.
“I asked him next about the pills that were on his person, and he stated that he has been addicted to pills for some time now,” according to an Appleton police officer quoted in an Outagamie County criminal complaint.
His legal odyssey over the next eight months would eventually include 14 counts of felony bail jumping, seven of which were stand-alone counts for testing dirty for marijuana. The other seven bail-jumping felonies were attached to misdemeanors that carried a maximum penalty of a year in jail. The bail-jumping charges each carried a maximum of six years in prison.
That first arrest came in August, 2020, after an officer driving past Dominic's car noticed that he “looked slightly lethargic as his mouth was agape and his eyes appeared slightly closed,” according to the criminal complaint.
The officer turned to follow Dominic, then 21, saw him hit a curb a few blocks later, and made a traffic stop. When Dominic opened the car door, the smell of burned marijuana rolled out of the car, according to the complaint. The officer found cannabis and a large amount of cash during a pat-down. The money recovered turned out to be $3,990, which police believed to be indicative of drug dealing.
Officers also found two sheets, each about eight inches by four inches, of marijuana wax, a concentrated form of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. The total weight was 4.2 ounces, which police also believed to be a sign of drug dealing.
They also found a Glock 9 mm handgun, with a loaded 30-round magazine and one in the chamber, according to the complaint. Also in the car: a second, fully loaded 17-round magazine, 31½ pills of various prescription kinds, and about 0.14 ounce of marijuana.
Dominic was charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana, a felony that carried a potential penalty of 3½ years in prison and a $10,000 fine. In addition, he was charged with felony possession of narcotic drugs, which also carried the 3½-year, $10,000 maximum, and misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon, which is punishable by up to nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Outagamie Court Commissioner Brian Figy set a $5,000 cash bond on Aug. 3. Bond conditions included an absolute-sobriety mandate, an order not to possess dangerous weapons, and an admonishment not to commit new crimes.
On Aug. 5, Dominic was sentenced for first-offense operating while intoxicated, which is considered a civil, not criminal matter. Figy fined Dominic and revoked his driver’s license for seven months.
That revocation, combined with his continued driving, plagued Dominic’s future.
Three weeks after Dominic posted bond in his criminal case, he got caught in Calumet County driving with that revoked license. That’s a misdemeanor, but he also was charged with felony bail jumping for violating the conditions of bond in the drug / gun case. The lesser operating-after-revocation (OAR) offense could have landed Dominic in jail for a year and earned him a $2,500 fine. The felony bail-jumping charge prosecutors threw in added six years in prison and a $10,000 fine to the potential maximum.
He was arrested for OAR the next month. He faced another set of the same charges, which were combined into one case. Instead of a total maximum for both arrests of two years behind bars, he was looking at a maximum of 14. And instead of a maximum of $5,000 in fines, he was looking at a maximum of $25,000.
Dominic now faced far stiffer penalties for driving twice with a revoked license than he did for allegedly possessing dealer-level amounts of drugs and tooling around in his car with a fully loaded Glock under the seat.
Calumet County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Froehlich set a $1,000 signature bond.
In December, Dominic got arrested in Calumet County for second-offense OWI after leading police on a high-speed chase for more than three miles, according to the complaint. He also was charged with two counts of felony bail jumping for violating bond conditions in the drug case and the OAR / bail-jumping case. A six-month maximum for the misdemeanor OWI was suddenly turned into a 12½-year maximum. And instead of a maximum $1,100 fine, Dominic faced fines totaling $21,100.
Froelich this time set a $3,500 signature bond.
Dominic was charged again in Calumet County with driving after revocation in January 2021. This time, prosecutors layered on three charges of felony bail jumping, adding a potential 18 years in prison and $30,000 in fines to the misdemeanor penalty.
Froelich set a $2,500 signature bond.
In January, March, and April of 2021, Dominic was charged in three Calumet County cases with a total of seven counts of felony bail jumping, all for testing dirty for marijuana. He faced a total of 42 years in prison and $70,000 in fines on those charges.
Froelich set signature bonds of $2,500, $1,000, and $5,000, respectively, in response.
Defense lawyers charge that prosecutors issue bail-jumping charges to force defendants into plea bargains they might not otherwise accept. In each of his cases, Dominic accepted a plea bargain. As in other cases examined in this series, Dominic did not receive anywhere near the maximum sentences possible.
In the drugs and gun case, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of marijuana, misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon, and felony possession of narcotics. Outagamie Circuit Judge Mitchell J. Metropulos sentenced Dominic in May 2021 to 2½ years probation. Metropulos also ordered that Dominic participate in any ordered treatment or counseling.
Froelich sentenced him in his Calumet County cases on April 23, 2021.
Dominic pleaded no contest to one count of operating after revocation in the first OAR case; the two felony bail-jumping and second OAR charges were dismissed. Froehlich sentenced him to 30 days in jail with work-release privileges.
Dominic pleaded no contest to the OWI-second charge and one count of felony bail jumping in the high-speed-chase case. Froelich sentenced him to 30 days with work-release privileges, consecutive to any other jail time. Froelich also placed Dominic on probation for 2½ years, revoked his driver’s license for 15 months, and ordered him to install an ignition interlock device on his car for a year.
Dominic pleaded no contest to one count of driving after revocation and one count of felony bail jumping in his final OAR case. Froelich sentenced him to 2½ years probation with 30 days in jail with work-release privileges, again consecutive to any other jail time.
Dominic pleaded no contest to three of the seven bail-jumping charges filed for failing marijuana testing.
Froelich sentenced him to 2½ years probation in one case, and 30 days in jail with work-release privileges in each of the two others. The jail time in each was to run consecutive to any other jail time – it all added up to about five months behind bars. All the probation terms are concurrent, meaning they are served at the same time.
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 data was reported as of Jan. 31. 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. The intent of the project is to show a variety of bail-jumping cases.
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