By Margo Kirchner
Russ Feingold and Peter Prindiville are raising concern about the movement toward a constitutional convention and progressives’ failure to take the movement seriously.
The two discussed constitutional amendments and the contents of their book, The Constitution in Jeopardy: An Unprecedented Effort to Rewrite Our Fundamental Law and What We Can Do About It, with Mike Gousha at an “On the Issues” event at Marquette University Law School on Tuesday.
Feingold is president of the American Constitution Society and a former U.S. senator from Wisconsin. Prindiville is a Washington, D.C., attorney and fellow at the Stanford Constitutional Law Center.
Article V of the Constitution sets forth two ways to amend the document: (1) a proposed amendment supported by two thirds of both houses of Congress, or (2) “on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States,” a convention.
Either path requires subsequent ratification by the legislatures or conventions of three-fourths of the states.
Since the signing of the Constitution in 1787, only 27 amendments have been ratified, with 10 of those a part of the bill of rights in 1791. As noted by Feingold at the event, there has not been a new proposed and ratified amendment for over 50 years.
No constitutional convention has ever occurred.
However, state legislatures have been quietly passing applications for one.
The Wisconsin Legislature passed a joint resolution in January 2022 calling for a convention to curtail the federal government. Its application for a convention was the subject of a recent dispute between legislators and Secretary of State Doug La Follette about mailing the resolution to federal officials.
At the On the Issues event Feingold and Prindiville called any Article V convention dangerous for several reasons.
First, the Constitution provides no rules on how such a convention would be held, they said. The Constitution does not clearly state how delegates are appointed, they said. Nor does it indicate what the parliamentary rules would be or whether anything higher than majority vote would be required to pass new language. “There are no rules for this,” Feingold stated, while Prindiville added that there are is no prescribed forum to resolve disputes that may occur—nothing indicates that the Supreme Court would have any involvement, for instance.
Feingold and Prindiville pointed out that Article V does not provide for involvement of “We the People.” Delegates could be chosen by legislatures, with no citizen involvement, vote, or approval. Feingold noted that the governor “has nothing to do with this.” It’s just the legislatures, and gerrymandered legislatures may not reflect the will of the people, he said.
“There are no rules for this,” Feingold stated.
Also, nothing in the Constitution restricts what gets discussed or reworked at a convention. Except as to equal voting in the Senate (specifically noted in Article V), everything could be “on the table” and “fair game,” Feingold and Prindiville said. Nothing in the Constitution provides a means for reining in what gets discussed and decided at a convention, they said.
A “runaway convention” could include lawyers altering language and rights that would have a profound effect, they warned. Prindiville identified as an example possible elimination of federal-court jurisdiction over civil rights cases.
Then there is the issue of the groups currently pushing for a convention—groups that Feingold and Prindiville say are well funded and aim to gut the federal government.
In addition to state legislatures’ under-the-radar applications for a convention, various groups pushing for a convention have been holding mock events, grooming people to be convention delegates. According to Feingold, the “far right is very good at long-term planning.”
Feingold and Prindiville warned that Americans need to take this movement seriously. Progressives cannot assume that Article V will not be used, they said. Article V is in the Constitution and needs to be discussed and debated now, they said. They want to make amending the Constitution a topic of political debate and even discussion at the dinner table.
Feingold said that those who may call him alarmist have not learned from history. He pointed to the lack of importance given to the “archaic” Second Amendment for years as an example.
To progressives who may support a convention to eliminate the electoral college or proclaim that corporations are not people, Feingold again pointed to the lack of involvement by “the people” in the convention process and the likely control by legislatures and well-funded interest groups.
In addition to raising concern about the movement toward a convention, Feingold and Prindiville propose a way forward by altering Article V to make amendment easier and available to the people rather than just legislators. Feingold noted that the U.S. Constitution is one of the hardest to amend, and Prindiville noted that even George Washington admitted that the Constitution as first ratified had flaws.
Madison.com: Wisconsin legislative committee discusses ways to increase job opportunities post-incarceration.
The committee chair, Sen. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, said Wisconsin had hit a crisis point between overcrowding in prisons and the need for employees outside them. She called for creating a pathway that would allow more people to put their mistakes behind them and forge new opportunities for themselves and their families.
Associated Press: Department of Justice filing provides more details on search for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
Though it contains significant new details on the investigation, the Justice Department filing does not resolve a core question that has driven public fascination with the investigation — why Trump held onto the documents after he left the White House and why he and his team resisted repeated efforts to give them back. In fact, it suggests officials may not have received an answer.
Politico: Why possession of classified documents should be easier to prove than other possible charges against Donald Trump.
White-collar crimes like fraud or obstruction usually turn on the defendant’s intent. There is usually no question that the defendant filed his tax returns. But did he do so with the intent to defraud the IRS? . . .
Most of the statutes at issue in the Mar-a-Lago documents case are more similar to a narcotics case than a complicated bank fraud or obstruction of justice case. Top Secret classified documents are a lot like narcotics from a criminal law perspective. You really don’t want to possess them if you are not authorized to do so. If you take Top Secret classified documents from a government facility and store them at your home, you’re guilty.
United Press International: Biden Administration and government of American Samoa ask Supreme Court to decline review of case about citizenship in territories.
Fitisemanu vs. United States stemmed from a challenge by John Fitisemanu, Pale Tuli and Rosavita Tula -- who were all born in American Samoa -- to a federal law that denies them the right to vote because, technically, they are not considered U.S. citizens.
Slate: Judge orders Georgia governor to testify before grand jury investigating 2020 election tampering by Donald Trump.
The Baynet: Maryland appeals court vacates man's conviction because bailiffs wore masks with thin-blue-line insignia during trial.
The Court noted that “the thin blue line, among other things, can be viewed as expressing general support for law enforcement, or expressing the belief that police stand between civilized society and criminals, or expressing support for white supremacy. Although these messages range from benign to malevolent, none of them should be conveyed to the jury in a criminal trial.”
Courthouse News Service: Seventh Circuit appeals court affirms dismissal of case seeking life insurance payment for show horse.
Horse owner Julie Greenback first brought the case at hand against Great American Assurance Company in 2018; she says she should have been allowed to euthanize her $500,000 show horse Thomas, aka Awesome At This, after he sustained career-ending injuries.
Great American, Thomas’ insurer, prevented her from doing so. Citing an element of the horse’s insurance policy that allows the company to take control of Thomas’ medical care, it instead brought him to two veterinarians in 2018 who helped treat his injuries, including chest abscesses and a right leg tear. Thomas is still alive thanks to those veterinarians’ work, but his days as a show horse are over.
WBAY.com: Judge dismisses Michael Gableman's lawsuit against mayors and other officials.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Netflix to release Jeffrey Dahmer documentary on Oct. 7.
Directed by documentary veteran Joe Berlinger, who also made the "Conversations" installments on serial killers Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy, the series features "never-before-heard" interviews between Dahmer and his defense team "answering open questions of police accountability through a modern-day lens."
CNN: U.S. Supreme Court fence has been removed.
CNN: Yeshiva University seeks U.S. Supreme Court review of order requiring it to allow LGBTQ student group.
In court papers, the school says that "As a deeply religious Jewish university, Yeshiva cannot comply with that order because doing so would violate its sincere religious beliefs about how to form its undergraduate students in Torah values."
Cleveland.com: Research model predicts that largest wave of opioid deaths has begun.
In 2018, deaths in urban areas began spiking right alongside rural areas – and that is something that researchers had not seen before in the history of the opioid crisis. It’s also something (researcher Lori Ann) Post takes as red flag for what’s to come.
“In 2018 is when it just turns straight upwards, and all different types of counties – urban and rural – they converge together for the first time in over 20 years. They all turn upwards and start to accelerate and get to their highest point ever.
CNN: Secret Service Assistant Director Tony Ornato retires.
Above the Law: Law firm Jones Day's MAGA practice.
WeareGreenBay.com: Prison supervisor charged with improper sexual contact with resident at Racine Correctional Institution.
Insider: President Joe Biden's success at appointing federal judges.
As of August 8, 2022, exactly 566 days into Biden's tenure, the Senate had confirmed a record-setting 75 judges nominated by Biden to federal courts, according to a tally from the Pew Research Center.
CNN: Poll shows marijuana use now exceeding tobacco use.
For the first time in Gallup polling, more Americans (16%) said they smoke marijuana than had smoked a tobacco cigarette (11%) in the past week.
Currently/Yahoo! (Associated Press): Connecticut charging formerly incarcerated persons $249 per day of incarceration.
All but two states have so-called “pay-to-stay” laws that make prisoners pay for their time behind bars, though not every state actually pursues people for the money. Supporters say the collections are a legitimate way for states to recoup millions of taxpayer dollars spent on prisons and jails.
Critics say it's an unfair second penalty that hinders rehabilitation by putting former inmates in debt for life. Efforts have been underway in some places to scale back or eliminate such policies.
The Atlantic: Anti-abortion supporters on collision course with First Amendment.
But the laws that Republicans are now introducing in state legislatures around the country go far beyond such narrow limits on objectionable commercial speech. In South Carolina, for example, Republican legislators have recently sponsored a bill that would criminalize “providing information to a pregnant woman, or someone seeking information on behalf of a pregnant woman, by telephone, internet, or any other mode of communication regarding self-administered abortions or the means to obtain an abortion, knowing that the information will be used, or is reasonably likely to be used, for an abortion.”
This law—which is modeled on draft legislation that the National Right to Life Committee is trying to get passed in many states around the country—would seriously undermine the right to free speech. It could potentially make doctors in states where abortion is actually legal liable to prosecution for discussing their services with someone who calls them from a state where abortion is illegal. It could even outlaw basic forms of speech such as news stories containing information that might be used by someone seeking an abortion. Theoretically, even this article could fall under that proscription.
MSNBC: Two lawyers for Donald Trump may be in legal trouble for a statement about classified documents.
According to a New York Times report published Monday, (Christina) Bobb and (Evan) Corcoran met at Mar-a-Lago with Jay Bratt, the head of the counterespionage section of the DOJ’s national security division, and some FBI agents on June 3. At some point during their visit, Bratt and the agents were given “a sheaf of classified material,” the Times reported.
According to the Times: “Mr. Corcoran then drafted a statement, which Ms. Bobb, who is said to be the custodian of the documents, signed. It asserted that, to the best of her knowledge, all classified material that was there had been returned, according to two people familiar with the statement.” . . .
But given the search warrant receipt — which states 11 sets of classified material were seized on Aug. 8 — the reported June statement to the DOJ, prepared by Corcoran and signed by Bobb, was false. And that’s where some potential trouble begins for them — and for Trump — even in the best-case scenario.
Law & Crime: Former high school athlete's First Amendment claims against school district dismissed, but claims against coaches remain, for forcing him to eat pepperoni as punishment.
He claims that although his coaches knew he did not eat pork products on the basis of his religion, they “ordered” him to consume an entire pepperoni pizza as a punishment for missing a workout due to a shoulder injury.
NPR: Redacted affidavit for Mar-a-Lago search released.
Reuters: Federal judge in Milwaukee denies request to sanction attorney Sidney Powell for 2020 election challenge.
U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper in Milwaukee ruled that she no longer had jurisdiction over the case, and that sanctions would not be appropriate because she had quickly dismissed Powell's lawsuit before delving into the merits of her claims.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Former Milwaukee alderwoman Chantia Lewis gets three years of probation with 30 days in jail.
Lewis was removed from office in July after pleading guilty to a count of misconduct in public office and no contest to a count of intentionally accepting an illegal campaign finance disbursement.
Prosecutors said she took at least $21,666 in campaign funds and false travel reimbursements from the city between 2016 and 2020.
WisPolitics.com: ACLU of Wisconsin issues report on immigration enforcement in state, noting local and federal coordination.
Between 2016 and 2020, Wisconsin’s biggest local sheriff beneficiary of SCAAP (State Criminal Alien Assistance Program) funding was Dane County, which collected more than $634,000 for handing information over to ICE (federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Although Walworth County has a much smaller immigrant population, it received the second highest SCAAP payout.
“ICE is continuing to work to build and strengthen its deportation pipeline despite the change in administration in Washington. It is xenophobic and racist to contact ICE every time a foregin (sic) born person enters your jail as some sheriff departments do. And the federal government is continuing to incentivize this kind of behavior by dangling millions in SCAAP funding in front of local sheriffs,” said Tim Muth, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Wisconsin. “The local sheriffs who are willing collaborators with ICE are betraying immigrants who live in their counties by inviting the threat of ICE and the prospect of deportation into their lives.”
NPR: Federal judge holds that virtual scan of room before online test was an unconstitutional search by public university.
Aaron Ogletree, a chemistry student, sat for a test during his spring semester last year. Before starting the exam, he was asked to show the virtual proctor his bedroom. He complied, and the recording data was stored by one of the school's third-party proctoring tools, Honorlock, according to the ruling documents.
NPR: Seventh Circuit Judge Diane Wood talks favorably about term limits for federal judges and justices.
Currently/Yahoo!: Paul Newman's daughters sue Newman's Own Foundation over donations.
Susan Kendall Newman, who lives in Oregon, and Nell Newman, of California, worry the foundation is setting the stage to completely remove them from having any say in how some of profits from Newman's Own products are donated to charities. They also accused the foundation of “contradicting” their father's wishes and intentions for years.
Slate: Predicting legal challenges to student-debt relief.
Going by the plain language of the law alone, Biden’s plan is likely legal. Sure, it’s probably not how Congress envisioned the Heroes Act functioning. But the program fits into the text that Congress actually passed. These days, however, the Supreme Court no longer uses textualism to assess administrative actions. Instead, it asks whether a federal program involves a “major question”—which just means anything five justices deem a big deal. When handling a “major question,” the court demands an explicit grant of authority from Congress, even if existing law appears to permit the program already. As Justice Elena Kagan put it, the “major questions doctrine” serves as a “get-out-of-text-free” card that can “magically appear” whenever it serves the conservative majority’s “broader goals.” (Specifically, the dismantlement of the administrative state.)
By Gretchen Schuldt
The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision banning ballot drop boxes should be reconsidered because the court’s lead opinion contains “inaccurate and ahistorical analyses” of statutes and precedents, groups supporting drop boxes contend in a court filing.
In response, lawyers for Richard Teigen and Richard Thom, who challenged drop boxes, said “every premise of their (the groups’) argument is incorrect” and the court should deny the reconsideration request.
Last month, the court said in Teigen v. Wisconsin Elections Commission that state law prohibits the use of ballot drop boxes. The ruling depended on 1986 changes in state law that converted some statutory provisions related to absentee ballots from non-mandates into mandates. An action taken in violation of a mandatory provision in a law is void.
The changes, the court said, made mandatory the language directing that absentee ballots be returned by mail or delivered by the voter to the municipal clerk at the clerk's office or a designated alternate site.
The new filing by Disability Rights Wisconsin, Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice, and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin says the lead decision misunderstood a 1955 election case called Sommerfeld v. Board of Canvassers of City of St. Francis and subsequent rulings.
The Sommerfeld court “reached a … holding that substantial compliance is sufficient to meet the requirements of a mandatory statute: ‘even in those states which have adopted a rule of strict construction ... substantial compliance therewith is all that is required,’ ” attorneys for the groups wrote.
Even after the law was changed in 1966 to make statutory language about absentee ballots mandatory, the court held that substantial compliance was enough, the groups said.
“In 1974, this Court decided Lanser v. Koconis, which resolved a challenge to 33 absentee ballots cast by nursing-home residents,” the lawyers wrote. “Rather than mailing an absentee ballot to each resident who applied for one, the clerk had an employee of the Wauwatosa Police Department deliver the ballots to the nursing home. Moreover, some of the residents did not fully complete the certification required for an absentee ballot to be counted.”
A lawsuit challenging the ballots was filed. The Supreme Court ruled that the ballots were in substantial compliance with the law and so were valid.
Lanser reaffirms that “interpreting an election statute as mandatory is not dispositive and marks the beginning, rather than the end, of judicial consideration,” the groups wrote. “Under Lanser, just as under Sommerfeld, once a court determines a statute is mandatory, it must then determine whether there has been substantial compliance. And, if there has been substantial compliance, that meets the mandatory statute’s command.”
The legislature revised election laws again in 1986, specifically recognizing absentee voting as a privilege, not a right, the groups said. The revision also “picks up the theme previously scattered throughout various absentee-voting statutes, declaring that specific provisions ‘relating to the absentee ballot process ... shall be construed as mandatory’ such that absentee ballots ‘cast in contravention of the procedures specified in those provisions may not be counted.’ ”
None of those changes, however, changed the “substantial compliance” standard, the lawyers wrote.
“Drop boxes are safe, secure, convenient mechanisms designated by municipal clerks to facilitate voters returning completed absentee ballots,” the lawyers wrote. “Though return to a drop box is not precisely a return to the municipal clerk’s office, it comes close enough to satisfy the substantial-compliance test this Court prescribed in Sommerfeld and reiterated in Lanser. The Teigen Court reached the opposite outcome primarily because it misconstrued Sommerfeld and failed even to acknowledge Lanser.”
“The Court should grant this motion for reconsideration and reverse its decision in Teigen,” the lawyers said. If the justices refuse to do that, the court should “issue a memorandum that fully and forthrightly addresses the statutory history and precedential decisions omitted from the Teigen opinions.”
The groups are represented by the law firms of Stafford Rosenbaum and Law Forward, both of Madison. Teigen and Thom are represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, of Milwaukee.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Federal judge expects to issue order next week on disabled voters receiving help for ballot delivery.
(U.S. District Judge James) Peterson said Wednesday in a hearing in the lawsuit that he expects to issue an order by Sept. 2 that will address differences in state and federal law that make it unclear whether voters who are unable to return or mail their own ballot can select someone else to do so for them.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Jacob Blake's uncle files federal civil rights lawsuit.
Justin Blake's federal lawsuit lists as respondents Kenosha County, Sheriff David Beth and several deputies, some of whom aren't identified by name. It claims violations of Blake's right to free speech, excessive force and detention and other causes of action.
Politico: Biden administration issues new rule to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who has long pushed for a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, was quick to applaud the Department of Homeland Security’s issuing the rule. He noted that it provides “some stability to DACA recipients and make[s] it more difficult for a future administration to rescind DACA, which is a lawful exercise of prosecutorial discretion.”
“However, this rule cannot provide permanent legal status or fully protect DACA recipients from relentless Republican legal challenges to the program,” Durbin said. “Only Congress can protect them.”
Law & Crime: The legal basis for Biden administration's plan to forgive student-loan debt.
Wired: Now is the time to protect democracy with laws reigning in mass surveillance.
One of the primary tools authoritarian leaders around the world use to control their citizens is mass surveillance. Neil Richards, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, says Congress needs to pass legislation that protects the privacy of Americans so existing surveillance mechanisms can no longer be abused.
“We need a robust federal privacy law, we need robust enforcement mechanisms, we need to somehow rein in the commercial surveillance apparatus because that’s a key component in authoritarian regimes. … They co-opt the existing cameras and sensors,” Richards says. “It used to be that it would be a fascist’s dream to have a camera and a speaker in every home, and of course, we did it to ourselves.”
Daily Journal (Tupelo, MS): Federal court of appeals upholds Mississippi law disenfranchising 10% of voters.
Framers of Mississippi’s 1890 Constitution said the law was designed to prevent Black citizens from voting by targeting crimes they were believed to commit. . . .
Opponents of constitutional provisions for years have pointed out what they view as the hypocritical nature of how the constitutional provision is realistically applied in the criminal justice system. A person convicted of distributing child pornography, for example, can continue to vote in Mississippi’s elections. But a person convicted of writing a bad check can have their voting rights taken away for life.
Fox 6: Eight individuals sue Wisconsin over lack of appointed counsel.
(The plaintiffs) allege they've been waiting for weeks for representation. Antrell Thomas, one of the plaintiffs, alleged that he has been held in the La Crosse County Jail since last August, when he was confined on charges of drug possession, according to the jail’s website. He has yet to receive a court-appointed lawyer.
The lawsuit seeks judicial orders denoting the lawsuit as a class action and requiring the state to assign attorneys to indigent defendants within 14 days of their initial court appearance.
Spectrum News 1: Madison ordinance requiring bird-friendly glass survives legal challenge.
(The ordinance) requires buildings that are more than 10,000 square feet to incorporate a pattern, such as dots or lines, to prevent birds from colliding with the glass.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Republican legislators move to dismiss lawsuit challenging 1849 abortion ban.
CBS: Judge refuses to block ghost gun regulations.
Beginning August 24, commercial manufacturers of ghost gun assembly kits will be required to include serial numbers. Sellers will also need to be federally licensed, run background checks before selling a homemade gun kit and keep records of the purchases for as long as they are in business. The current rule allows sellers to purge records after 20 years.
Slate: Leonard Leo's infrastructure and plans to reshape America through its judiciary and legislatures.
The $1.6 billion donation reported by the Times this week will supercharge Leo’s empire. On the tax form published this week by the Times, Leo had described the mission of his new Marble Freedom Trust as a project “to maintain and expand human freedom consistent with the values and ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.” The freedoms he is touting here have primarily served to make the wealthy more wealthy, and efforts at vote suppression more robust. People can debate whether or not the funds transferred to Leo were strictly legal or not, but that debate entirely misses the point: No one person should have this much say in the makeup of the judicial branch or in the theories these judges entertain and then enshrine in law. But the dark money and election restrictions ensure that it’s Leonard Leo’s world and we all just live in it. They should be seen for what they are: Mechanisms that will entrench that world for some time to come.
ABC: California Senate passes bill to limit use of rap lyrics as evidence in criminal cases.
According to the bill, the legislation seeks to "ensure that the use of an accused person's creative expression will not be used to introduce stereotypes or activate bias against the defendant, nor as character or propensity evidence."
BBC: Former officer pleads guilty to falsifying arrest warrant that led to Breonna Taylor's death.
Clark County: Six months, four felony cases, and eight bail-jumping charges leave man facing decades in prison
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: 97
Total number of misdemeanor and felony cases: 321
Percent of misdemeanor and felony cases that include bail-jumping charges: 30%
Total number of felony cases with bail-jumping charges: 78*
Total number of all felony cases: 209
Percent of felony cases that include bail-jumping charges: 37%
Total number of misdemeanor cases with bail-jumping charges: 19
Total number of all misdemeanor cases: 112
Percent of misdemeanor cases that include bail-jumping charges: 17%
Largest number of bail-jumping charges issued in a single case: 13
Number of felony bail-jumping charges issued: 140
Number of misdemeanor bail-jumping charges issued: 69
*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.
Phillip picked up four felony cases in six months and now faces a lifetime in prison.
It started not long after Phillip got a new computer.
Phillip believed people in the neighborhood were hacking into the wireless network in the house where he lived with his girlfriend.
Phillip believed his girlfriend was behind the hacking, according to a criminal complaint.
So when his girlfriend – let's call her Sue – returned from the bathroom to the bedroom sometime around 2 a.m. one April 2021 morning, Phillip followed her in. He'd just gotten home. Sue thought he'd been drinking, according to the complaint and Sue's statements to Clark County sheriff's deputies.
Phillip, now 38, locked the bedroom door so Sue could not get out. Then he started going through her phone, according to the complaint.
"She said Phillip began questioning her on all the phone number (sic) and blamed her for everyone that he believed was hacking him, and he was going to kill her," the complaint said. (Sue) stated "Phillip said he did not care about killing her because he had nothing else to live for."
Phillip pushed her down onto the bed, grabbed a big dumbbell, lifted it over his head, and threatened to kill her, the complaint said.
Sue said she "begged for her life and was scared for her safety and thought Phillip would actually kill her," the complaint said. Sue "stated even after Phillip put the weight down he still threatened to kill her and he did not care because he did not have anything to live for and would just kill himself."
Phillip eventually let Sue out of the bedroom. They went to the backyard to let the dog out.
Sue said she "thought if she could get outside she could run away from him but he stayed right beside her the entire time," the complaint said.
Sue started smoking a cigarette, according to the complaint.
"Phillip threatened to smash her head into the wall if she did not get back into the house," the complaint said.
Phillip, Sue said, slapped the cigarette out of her hand and pushed her back inside.
Once there, Sue said, "Phillip kept on rambling on about how she was behind the people hacking him," according to the complaint. Eventually, he gave Sue her phone and went to bed.
Sue went to the sheriff's department the next day to report the incident.
"While filling out the domestic abuse paperwork, (Sue's) body was physically shaking. Deputy Strzok asked if she was cold or scared, which (Sue) responded both," the complaint said.
She told deputies that sometime around Thanksgiving, Phillip threw a phone at her and hit her between the eyes, requiring stitches. She did not report the incident at the time.
When Phillip was questioned that day, the complaint said, he talked about how people were tracking him "on a google account," according to the complaint. He also said people were hacking his phone and stealing information and he could see files on his computer that were put there by people who hacked into it.
He denied taking Sue's phone the previous evening, denied locking her in the bedroom, and denied threatening to kill her. He said she "makes things up all the time," the complaint said.
Phillip was arrested and charged. The complaint was later amended to include felony stalking, but charges related directly to the April incident included one felony count of false imprisonment / domestic abuse, punishable by a maximum of six years in prison and a $10,000 fine; substantial battery / domestic abuse for the alleged Thanksgiving-time phone throw, punishable by up to 3½ years in prison and a $10,000 fine; and misdemeanor disorderly conduct / domestic abuse punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Circuit Judge Lyndsey Boon Brunette set a cash bond of $250 and issued a no-contact order.
In May, Sue told a sheriff's deputy that Phillip was contacting her non-stop in violation of that order. Phillip contacted her 46 times that very day by text and phone, she told the deputy.
Phillip was charged with two counts of felony bail jumping, each punishable by up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine. One of the counts was for allegedly violating the no-contact order. The other was for committing a new crime while on bond.
Felony bail jumping occurs when a person out on bond on a felony charge violates the conditions of that bond. Misdemeanor bail jumping occurs when a person out on bond on a misdemeanor charge violates the conditions of that bond.
A bail-jumping offense may not by itself be a crime. Missing a court date, violating a local ordinance, or having a drink could all be bail-jumping offenses if bond conditions prohibit those things.
Misdemeanor bail jumping carries a maximum penalty of nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine; felony bail jumping carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Three days later, Phillip was charged again, this time with two counts of felony bail jumping and one count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
The complaint alleged that Phillip showed up at Sue's house and asked for a space on her couch for $50. Sue told deputies that Phillip came to her house after she told him not to.
Phillip told deputies that Sue had had the no-contact order lifted, but Sue denied it and deputies could not find any record of it.
The same day those two charges were filed, the state amended the April complaint to include a felony charge of stalking. The complaint cites the same 46-contact day Sue told a deputy about in May.
The stalking charge carried a potential maximum penalty of 3½ years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Court Commissioner Bonnie Wachsmuth set a $1,500 cash bond and a $1,500 signature bond. Both were posted.
In October, according to a complaint, Phillip was caught on camera entering Sue's house through a window about 9 a.m. Later, after she got home from work, Sue said, she checked her camera again and saw Phillip had returned to the house and moved the camera.
"Once the camera was moved she did not know what he had done," the complaint said. "She did state that nothing was missing from her house."
The deputy reviewed the camera video and confirmed Sue's account, the complaint said.
Sue told the deputy Phillip was trying to constantly contact her and had tried 19 times that day.
"She told me she was terrified of Phillip," the complaint said. She told the deputy she did not know what Phillip was going to do.
Sue "stated she had been told by her neighbor Phillip drives by her house almost daily."
Phillip was charged with burglary / domestic abuse, four counts of felony bail jumping, and felony stalking.
The state asked for a $10,000 cash bond; Brunette set a $2,000 cash bond and it was posted.
All the charges are pending.
Phillip, who is represented by the State Public Defender's Office due to poverty, faces a maximum of 77½ years in prison and $137,000 in fines, plus domestic abuse assessments.
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. The intent of the project is to show a variety of bail-jumping cases.
WisPolitics: Ozaukee County judge says complainant must be included in settlement negotiations regarding Cedarburg schools racial harassment case.
The ACLU of Wisconsin applauded a judge’s ruling last week that the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Cedarburg School District were wrong to attempt to settle a racial harassment case without the input of the family impacted by the harassment. . . .
“This ruling is a victory for students and families, and it is a win for transparent government,” said Elisabeth Lambert, Equal Justice Works Fellow with the ACLU of Wisconsin and attorney on the case. “Students impacted by discrimination have a right to participate fully in the legal proceedings that arise from their experiences. The other parties were wrong to sideline my client in this way.”
CNN: Immigration and Customs Enforcement phones wiped of data per Trump-administration rules.
"We cannot stand by as agency after agency admits that it destroys public records," said Heather Sawyer, executive director at American Oversight, in a statement. "Text messages often contain crucial information on what federal employees are doing and why they are doing it. The obligation to retain these records is not optional — it is the law."
Electronic Frontier Foundation: Federal government releases previously classified rulings from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
The seven newly released opinions and orders are heavily redacted, but they reveal new details about the FISC’s resolution of several different legal and technical questions, which often resulted in the court approving new ways for the government to access people’s private data.
NPR: Jury convicts two men of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
ABA Journal: Dissenting judge in federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals case criticizes New York attorney general's office.
(Circuit Judge Dennis) Jacobs contended that the attorney general’s office knew from state appellate opinions that (Terrence Sandy) McCray was denied the right to defend himself but “labors hard to maintain the advantage.” As a result, he said, the defendant still hasn’t been provided the opportunity to review documents that could acquit him in his case.
“This is a sinister abuse,” Jacobs said. “The last-ditch defense of such a conviction by the attorney general is disreputable. Were I a lawyer for the state, I would not have been able to sign the brief it filed on this appeal.”
WABE (NPR): The risk of reincarceration with little warning for those released from prison during COVID pandemic.
This week, the Bureau of Prisons told NPR that 442 people who were released during the pandemic have now returned to prison.
Only 17 people out of more than 11,000 who were released committed new crimes, mostly drug related ones, while they were out. More than half, some 230 people including Eva Cardoza, got sent back for alleged alcohol or drug use. Other cases involved technical violations.
Help WJI advocate for justice in Wisconsin