By Gretchen Schuldt
The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee slashed by 91 percent Gov. Tony Evers' proposed capital budget for the Department of Corrections.
The committee approved a $24.2 million capital budget for the Corrections Department, down $234.8 million from the $259 million Evers proposed.
The bulk of the JFC's cut – $225 million – came from wiping out the proposed budgets for juvenile corrections regional facilities ($115 million) and proposed county-run secure juvenile facilities ($100 million).
The committee also killed new inmate housing for Taycheedah and Jackson Correctional Institutions, budgeted by Evers at $5 million and $10 million, respectively. Funding for a new restrictive housing unit at Lincoln Hills / Copper Lake was reduce from $10.3 million to $500,000.
The committee retained the $8.1 million Evers proposed for heating and ventilation improvements at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility, and $10.6 million Evers proposed for a new health services unit at the Stanley Correctional Institution.
JFC also added $5 million in spending to begin work on replacing the Green Bay Correctional Institution.
The Legislature, in the wake of the scandal surrounding the gross mistreatment of youths at the two juvenile prisons, voted to close them. They are supposed to eventually be replaced by a new state-run juvenile prison and county-run secure residential facilities.
Evers said this week, however, that meeting the 2021 goal to build the new facilities may be impossible.
We are through 13 of 72 counties in our review of marijuana charges filed in Wisconsin last year, but it is already clear that marijuana laws are unevenly enforced throughout the state.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office, for example, filed one criminal case containing a marijuana charge for every 3,292 county residents, by far the lowest charging rate in the state thus far; on the other end of the scale, Burnett County filed one pot case for every 169 residents, the highest charging rate.
These aren't the only disparities we're finding. Follow along as we document the wildly erratic enforcement of cannabis laws in Wisconsin.
Additional data for each county is posted on The 2019 Pot Page and we'll be updating and expanding our charts on this blog.
By Gretchen Schuldt
Somebody in Delbert Pascavis' flat strangled him to death with a bedsheet and wrapped a telephone cord around his neck, waist, and right foot.
There was no sign of forced entry into the house.
Before the night of July 26, 1985, Pascavis was a church organist, a tutor, a man active in the gay community. He was a case worker for Milwaukee County whose job included interviewing potential foster parents.
He was a member of the Bel Canto Chorus, the Felix Chorale, the Neighborhood Block Watch, and the Black and White Men Together, an organization that currently describes itself as a "gay, multiracial, multicultural organization committed to fostering supportive environments wherein racial and cultural barriers can be overcome."
He also was "quite a drinking man," his landlord told police, according to a police report.
Pascavis "was a partier and had lots of different people coming and going at all times of the day and night....," the report said.
He was popular in the neighborhood and never turned anyone away from his house, the landlady told police. If a visitor brought a friend along, Pascavis would welcome that friend as well.
His landlord "also stated that most of his guests were young black males in their twenties," she said.
Pascavis was with a black man the night he was killed, witnesses said. Some later identified that male as Alphonso James, but those identifications were questioned later by the Wisconsin Innocence Project.
Another witness described the Pascavis' companion that night as a black male in his late 20s or early 30s, about six feet, one inch tall and 190-200 pounds.
James was 17, five feet, nine inches tall and weighed 158 pounds.
As soon as his body was found on the morning of July 27, 1985, Pascavis became a homicide case, the property of the justice system.
Soon enough, the life of Delbert Pascavis would be overshadowed in the justice system almost completely in by the next act: the prosecution of Alphonso James.
Next: The confession
"Walker's judges" is our effort to present information about former Gov. Scott Walker's appointees to the bench. The information is taken from the appointees' own judgeship applications. While Walker has left office, WJI will continue to profile his appointees who are still in office. We also will profile Gov. Tony Evers' judicial appointees.
Name: Maureen Morris Martinez
Appointed to: Racine County Circuit Court
Appointment date: Dec. 4, 2018, elected to a six-year term in April 2019
Law School – Marquette University Law School
Graduate School – University of Illinois – Urbana
Undergraduate – St. Mary's College of Notre Dame
Marshall University, Huntington, W.V.
Recent legal employment:
January 2017 - present – Deputy district attorney, Racine County District Attorney's Office
February 1997 - January 2017 – Assistant district attorney, Racine County District Attorney's Office
State of Wisconsin
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
Racine County Bar Association
Legal experience as an advocate in criminal litigation, civil litigation, administrative proceedings: Assigned to a sensitive crime caseload that includes homicides and sexual assaults. Previously directed children in need of protective services for 15 years. Involved in administrative and personnel matters.
Number of cases tried to verdict or judgment: Jury, 300; non-jury, no answer; arbitration, no answer; administrative bodies, no answer.
Cases on appeal: I have litigated a number of cases on appeal.
The application asks for the names and case numbers of the appeals and Martinez listed three.
Three most significant cases: Martinez did not list specific cases and did not give the requested case numbers and citations.
By far the most important cases that I have litigated have been the termination of parent rights cases. They are not important as to the legal issues, but more so for the individual children and families that are affected.... I have conducted countless termination of parental rights trials and was successful in them all.
My work with the Veteran's Court Treatment Team is also very significant. Through this court's work and the very hard work put in by the veterans, we have literally brought veterans back from the brink of despair.
Previous runs for political office: None.
Position or involvement in judicial, non-partisan, or partisan political campaign, committee, or organization:
Supported Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson in two campaigns. Both times I was on her campaign committee and participated in the "boots on the ground" duties of campaigning. During her campaign for district attorney I coordinated the letters to the editor campaign. I also spent countless hours with and on behalf of Tricia "working the room" for her.
All judicial or non-partisan candidates endorsed in the last six years:
Judge Wynne Laufenberg
Judge Robert Repischak
District Attorney Patricia Hanson
Professional or civic organizations, volunteer activities, service in a church or synagogue, or any other activities or hobbies that could be relevant or helpful to consideration of the application:
Tutor for middle school students at John Paul Academy
Former Board president and Board member, YWCA in Racine
Member, Racine County Child Death Review Team
Member, Multidisciplinary Child Abuse Investigation Team, Racine County
Member, Drug Endangered Child team for Racine County
Former member of All Saints Health Care Systems, member of the Physicians Activities Committee
Previous member and co-chair of the Racine County Family Violence Community Coalition.
President of the PTA for Holy Name School
Describe any significant pro bono legal work in the last five years: Pro bono work not allowed due to her position.
Why I want to be a judge –
My ambition within my law career has been a slow progression. When I began law school in the fall of 1992,1 had (redacted) and a (redacted). My husband had a demanding career as an (redacted) and I was leaving a career that I loved, school social work. I felt a calling however and I always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to be a lawyer. I studied at my kitchen table and took the entrance exam and was accepted by Marquette University Law' School. With (redacted) children at home, Marquette was the only school I could attend and I started law school.
As hard as it was I LOVED THE LAW. I loved everything about law school, I had previously set as a goal for myself to be an autonomous life-long learner; what better way to do that then be a lawyer as the law is ever-changing.
I also went to law school with the ambition to become a prosecutor.... I absolutely love litigation; one of my favorite places is the courtroom.
In my efforts to be an autonomous life-long learner, as comfortable as I am as a prosecutor, I believe I am ready to take the next step and explore new areas of the law as a judge. I know I have the knowledge, skills and judgment to be a fair and impartial judge. I think I have an excellent reputation within the legal community as an honest, ethical, hard-working and talented attorney. I am always ready to listen, however, I never waiver from my cannon (sic) of holding people accountable for what they do.
The fact that this father was unaware of the existence of this child until the government informed him is not a reason to excuse his lack of concern for his child. ... – Racine County Circuit Judge Maureen Morris Martinez
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