By Gretchen Schuldt
Fire and Police Commission Executive Director Griselda Aldrete on Tuesday accused aldermen of "outright grotesque and misogynistic" behavior at last week's meeting of the Common Council's Steering and Rules Committee.
"I always welcome open dialogue to discuss or debate policy issues with those who may not always agree, but what happened during that committee was classic blame-shifting and name-calling with veiled threats from elected officials," she wrote in an open letter to Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton. The letter was released publicly via the city's e-notify email system about 5 p.m. Tuesday.
"Rather than rationally asking questions and even the right to question the answers given, two women who lead key departments for the City were accosted," Aldrete wrote. "This seems to be the nature as of late for the Steering and Rules Committee - mainly by select alders. This ends now." (Video of the committee's discussion about the commission is here.)
Aldrete apparently was referring to herself and Director of Employee Relations Maria Monteagudo when referring to "two women who lead key departments." Monteagudo grew visibly angry during the meeting and said Ald. Robert Bauman was insulting her and was being disrespectful.
Bauman said he did not trust an assessment Monteagudo proposed to help determine what the commission needs to move forward. The office has been hit with high turnover and some staff have complained about Aldrete.
The proposed assessment would be done by a consultant the city has used before and would be hired without competitive bids. Monteagudo said that would allow the work to be done quickly.
Aldrete wrote, "As civil servants, we all work hard to gain and regain public trust while executing our daily mandates. How can we work in good faith with one another if the only words spoken are attacks?"
"I call upon you and leaders of this body to hold each other accountable and censure when necessary," she said.
She also said she thought fire and police commissioners should have city email addresses and cell phones or secure voicemail so members of the public could contact them directly. Communications from the public now are funneled through the commission staff.
Aldrete wrote that her office will launch a transparency campaign to increase communication with residents and "highlight progress and significant positive outcomes to the Council and media."
She also said that, due to time and staffing constraints, she may start sending a designee to update council members on commission activities.
Defendants abandoned by counsel must figure out appeal rules on their own, State Supreme Court rules
By Margo Kirchner
The Wisconsin Supreme Court said in two recent opinions that criminal defendants must meet the same standards as lawyers when appealing their cases if their actual lawyers abandon them before the appeal is filed.
That means incarcerated people fighting on their own behalf must meet the same deadlines and follow the same rules as lawyers even without access to the same resources, such as law books, paper, and online information.
In each of the two cases, the defendant told counsel he wanted to appeal, but counsel failed to file a required notice of intent to pursue postconviction relief, resulting in the loss of appeal rights.
Such a failure constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel. But in each case the Court held the defendant responsible for errors when acting on his own to restart his appeal.
Justice Rebecca Grassl Bradley joined with Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and Rebecca Dallet in strong dissents in both cases.
State v. Pope
In the first case, after four days of trial, a jury in Milwaukee County Circuit Court convicted Robert James Pope of first-degree intentional homicide as a party to the crime. In early July 1996, the court sentenced Pope to life imprisonment without parole.
Immediately after sentencing, Pope and his attorney, Michael Backes, signed a form indicating that Pope intended to pursue postconviction relief and that counsel would file a formal notice of the same within 20 days. Filing the formal notice sets in motion preparation of the trial transcript and appointment of appellate counsel. But Backes never filed the notice, and Pope’s direct appeal rights expired.
Pope and his mother tried repeatedly, without success, to reach Backes by phone to ask about the appeal.
About a year later, in August 1997, Pope contacted the State Public Defender’s Office to inquire about his appeal. The SPD told Pope there was no appeal, the office had no idea why the formal notice was never filed, and Pope could ask the court to extend the time for filing the notice.
By Gretchen Schuldt
Ald. Milele Coggs on Thursday criticized Mayor Tom Barrett, Police Chief Alfonso Morales, and members of the Fire and Police Commission for their silence on the release, for apparently political purposes, of a video related to an ongoing investigation into an alleged sexual assault.
Ald. Nik Kovac, meanwhile, said he hoped the release would be investigated and said the Police Department should not be the agency to conduct any probe since everyone there reports to Morales, the apparent intended beneficiary of the incident.
The "deafening silence about the wrongfulness of the public disclosure, potentially and possibly by an employee or a member of the Police Department, of a sexual assault accuser is disturbing to me," Coggs said. "All other mess aside – commissioners, chief, everything else – for a department that is supposed to uphold the law to be the very one that, it appears, leaks information about the potential, possible sexual assault victim to the media, to the public, is alarming."
She continued: "And the fact that commission members, the mayor – who also was questioned about it – the chief, have not - have been silent - in outrage over that and finding out how that was allowed to happen is utterly disturbing to me."
The video showed questioning by police of Kalan Haywood Sr. Haywood was accompanied by Steven DeVougas, a lawyer and chairman of the Fire and Police Commission. The video was released as DeVougas was trying to delay the appointment of Morales to a four-year term as chief. Haywood has not been charged in connection with the alleged assault.
The police union said DeVougas violated ethics guidelines by accompanying Haywood during the police interview.
The release of the video and the police union's accusations came as DeVougas tried unsuccessfully to delay the vote on Morales' appointment until he could get more information.
"It would appear that whoever released that information was hoping to discredit the integrity and the authority of one of your colleagues," Kovac told Commissioner Nelson Soler during a meeting of the Common Council's Steering and Rules Committee. "That came from within the department. The department did not disavow it."
Morales' only comment on the matter, at least to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, was " 'Oh, that's really interesting,' " Kovac said. Morales "suggested essentially (that) – your colleague, the chair – that there might be something inappropriate there."
Kovac said he believed the release affected the commission as it weighed whether to appoint Morales to a new term.
"I would assume all of the commissioners were very much aware that was going on," he said.
The video release was inappropriate and the motivation for it was "highly suspect and related directly to the deliberation the commission had going on," Kovac said.
The Journal Sentinel story "was full of information that should not have been public," Kovac said. "It happened on the chief's watch. It may have directly benefited the chief's career. Should there be an investigation into that?"
Soler declined to respond directly.
"I think any behavior of that nature, as you described, should be investigated," he said.
DeVougas, who joined the meeting late into the discussion, said he thought the District Attorney's office and Fire and Police Commission could handle aspects of the investigation, and that he would recuse himself from involvement.
"I would even go so far to say an independent third party to have the investigation performed," he said.
WJI earlier this week wrote to the commission to inquire about the status of any investigation and to urge that an independent, third-party probe be conducted. From the correspondence:
By Gretchen Schuldt
A Milwaukee County judge's effort to force a man to remain a child's legal father after a DNA test showed he was not the biological dad was thrown out Tuesday by a State Court of Appeals panel.
The ruling reversed Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Paul R. Van Grunsven's decision that Deray J. Shaffale should remain the legal father because it was in the best interest of the child.
Shaffale had earlier signed a voluntary paternity acknowledgement because, he said, he thought he was the child's father and he wanted to get the child insured.
In sending the case back to Circuit Court, the three-member District 1 Court of Appeals panel said Van Grunsven applied the wrong standard and directed the judge and state attorneys involved in the case to read the relevant statutes.
Van Grunsven had found that requiring Shaffale to remain the legal father was in the best interests of the child.
"You signed that document, you’re the best and only father for this kid," Van Grunsven said during a 2018 hearing, according to the appellate decision.
He also said he had previously required men who erroneously acknowledged paternity to maintain their legal obligations even when they provided proof they were not the fathers.
"Let me explain this," Van Grunsven said. "I have had guys that I’ve known are not the father. I had genetic testing that establishes without a doubt that they’re not the father, but I continue to have that person under Wisconsin law be the legal father of the child because it was in the child’s best interest. That’s what the law is."
The appeals panel, though, in an opinion written by Appeals Judge Timothy G. Dugan, said that state law provides for voiding a paternity acknowledgement if a court finds that the male who signed it is not the biological father.
"We note that the statute does not reference a best interest of the child standard," Dugan wrote.
Shaffale wound up in court in the first place after the state filed a child support action naming both him and the child's mother, Vanidy R. Cross, as respondents.
Shaffale submitted the results of a privately obtained DNA test showing that he has 0% chance of being the father. Another man living in Seattle whom Cross said might be the father refused to submit to genetic testing that would determine whether he was.
The state argued that "it is better for the child to have a father on the birth records than no father at all," Dugan wrote. "The GAL agreed with the state."
Van Grunsven appointed the GAL, or guardian ad litem, to represent the child.
The state's lawyer told Van Grunsven the paternity acknowledgement could be voided only if its signing was tainted by fraud, mistake of fact, or duress, Dugan wrote. Van Grunsven found that Shaffale did not adequately show that it was, but the appeals panel said Van Grunsven did not do enough to determine that.
"There is no testimony or evidence in the record that establishes that Shaffale knew or had reason to believe that there were other potential fathers," Dugan wrote. "Cross was never called as a witness....There is no testimony or evidence in the record regarding Cross’s actions and representations to Shaffale....Further, because Cross was never called as a witness, Shaffale never had an opportunity to cross-examine her. He also was not given an opportunity to give his own direct testimony."
Dugan was joined in his opinion by Appeals Judges William W. Brash III and Joan F. Kessler.
Shaffale was represented on appeal by Demetra Christopoulos.
The Milwaukee police sergeant who threatened to tow Sterling Brown's car during a confrontation in a Walgreen's parking lot in January 2018 admitted in a deposition that he had no legal basis to make such a threat, according to Federal Court records.
"I'm talking about when you're talking to Mr. Brown unprofessionally – using your words – and you told him, 'Let's tow the car,' you had no basis to tow the car at that point in time. Correct?" attorney Mark Thomsen asked.
"That's correct," Sgt. Jeffrey Krueger responded during his May deposition.
Krueger also admitted he failed in his supervisory duties when he arrived at the scene and did not bother to learn what was happening before injecting himself into the situation.
"As a supervisor, I failed to do – one of my duties was to figure out what was going on beforehand," he testified.
Krueger, a 13-year-veteran, also said he was not aware of any Milwaukee police officers being disciplined during that time for excessive use of force or racist conduct.
Krueger arrived at Walgreen's after Brown, a Milwaukee Bucks player, was detained in a Walgreen's parking lot after he parked illegally in a handicapped space at about 2 a.m. Brown eventually was confronted by several officers, including Krueger, and was taken to the ground, tased, stepped on, and arrested.
After the incident, in a squad car and after Brown was recognized as an athlete, Krueger was caught on a body camera saying, "We are trying to protect ourselves."
He did not know the camera was on when he made the statement.
Krueger eventually was suspended for 10 days for failing to be a role model for professional police service.
Brown has filed a lawsuit alleging the officers violated his constitutional rights and his lawyer, Mark Thomsen, has filed several deposition excerpts in the case. WJI is publishing some of the excerpts.
Read previous posts, with transcripts, about Officers Joseph J. Grams and Bojan Samardzic.
The City of Milwaukee and other defendants have denied violating Brown's rights.
Assistant City Attorney Naomi Gehling objected repeatedly to Thomsen's questions during Krueger's deposition. WJI is omitting those objections for ease of reading, but they are part of the full transcript here.
After Brown's arrest, officers involved, including Krueger, were ordered to undergo remedial training, which included watching video of the incident and discussing what went wrong.
Thomsen: What were the officers told went wrong?
Krueger: It was about professional communication.
Thomsen: So what about professional communication was wrong?
Krueger: There was many examples where it wasn't used in this incident.
Thomsen: Okay. Tell the jury what all those examples are....
Krueger: Officer (Joseph J.) Grams – how he spoke to Mr. Brown.
Thomsen: Okay. What else?
Krueger: How my discussion with Mr. Brown went.
Thomsen: So what was wrong with your discussion with Mr. Brown?
Krueger: It wasn't very professional....I became frustrated, and that caused me to say,
like, "You know, you're bothering me." So –
Thomsen: What else?...
Krueger: I just – I think the overall demeanor that I had, we talked about that.
Thomsen: What about your overall demeanor was inappropriate, sir?
Krueger: It wasn't – my overall – Well, my demeanor was not professional.
Thomsen: In what way, sir?
Krueger: Well, how I talked to him.
Thomsen: And please explain to the jury the details of that.
Krueger: Well, I told him he was bothering me, and that's the biggest one that sticks out to me.
Thomsen: You threatened to tow his truck – I mean tow his car.
Thomsen: I'm talking about when you're talking to Mr. Brown unprofessionally – using your words – and you told him, "Let's tow the car," you had no basis to tow the car at that point in time. Correct?
Krueger: That's correct.
By Margo Kirchner
Overturning 14 years of case law, the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently expanded law enforcement’s right to use single-person showups rather than multi-person lineups when seeking identification of suspects.
The court ruled that a criminal defendant bears an initial burden of demonstrating that the procedure was impermissibly suggestive.
The court also criticized the use of social science in the law.
Social science, Chief Justice Patience Drake Roggensack wrote for the court, “has been used by courts as an excuse to justify disturbing decisions” such as Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld racial segregation. At heart, though, she wrote, “[s]ocial science cannot change the original meaning of the Wisconsin Constitution.”
Show-ups have long been controversial. The U.S. Supreme Court, while declining to ban the practice outright, acknowledged in 1967 that “[t]he practice of showing suspects singly to persons for the purpose of identification, and not as part of a lineup, has been widely condemned."
Since 2005, the Wisconsin Supreme Court had placed an initial burden on the prosecution to establish that the showup was necessary. If the state failed to show necessity, the showup evidence was excluded.
The Supreme Court adopted the necessity requirement in State v. Dubose, finding that the state constitution provided more protection than the U.S. Constitution did when it came to identifications. Under the U.S. Constitution, evidence of showups can be barred from trial as a violation of due process when a defendant shows that the identification procedure was unnecessarily suggestive and the prosecution fails to establish that the identification was nevertheless reliable.
To determine reliability, a court considers factors such as the witness’ opportunity to view the suspect at the time of the crime, the witness’ degree of attention, accuracy of the witness’ description of the suspect, the level of certainty demonstrated by the witness at the time of identification, and the passage of time between the crime and the identification.
This month’s Roberson case returned Wisconsin to the federal test by overruling Dubose.
Roggensack, in her decision, opined that Dubose was “unsound in principle as it was based on misunderstanding the United States Supreme Court’s decisions in regard to out-of-court identifications and on topical social science.”
The Wisconsin Justice Initiative and several voters and taxpayers filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking a judge to block submission of the proposed "Marsy's Law" constitutional amendment to voters or to require the ballot question to be rewritten so it reflects the sweeping changes the amendment would make in state law.
The April 7 ballot question is deceptive, a threat to people's right to a fair trial, and should be withdrawn, according to WJI. The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign applauded the legal challenge.
Check out our Marsy's Flaws page.
“Voters are being asked to vote on a single sentence that doesn’t remotely begin to describe what Marsy’s Law is and what it does,’’ said Craig Johnson, board president of the Wisconsin Justice Initiative as well as an individual plaintiff.
“It may sound reasonable," he said. "But the question masks a proposed amendment twice the length of the U.S. Bill of Rights. It expands who is considered a ‘victim’ under the Constitution, adds or expands 16 categories of victims’ rights, and will make it difficult for the falsely accused to receive a fair trial in this state.’’
“The amendment would create a whole new category of constitutional victims,’’ Johnson said. “Supporters say this amendment levels the playing field for victims. It does the opposite. It stacks the deck against the accused, making it difficult to receive a fair trial in this state at incalculable new costs to taxpayers.’’
The lawsuit was filed in Dane County Circuit Court. Plaintiffs, besides WJI and Johnson, include attorney and WJI Board member Jacqueline Boynton, attorney Jerome Buting, and State Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison).
Read the lawsuit, the request for a temporary injunction, and the brief.
“Wisconsin led the nation by adopting a ‘crime victim bill of rights,’ and our state constitution and statutes already spell out those rights,” said Chris Ott, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin.
"In Wisconsin, we already consult and protect the rights of victims during criminal proceedings," he said. This deceptive amendment threatens to force people into our already clogged criminal justice system by undermining the fundamental concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ Wisconsin’s rate of incarceration already makes us a nationwide outlier, and this proposed amendment will add to the staggering human and financial costs of mass incarceration. We either need to stop this amendment, or make clear to voters what it would really do.’’
Taxpayer costs escalated in states that adopted Marsy’s Law, while law enforcement is finding it more difficult to investigate crimes, according to the Wisconsin Justice Initiative and its allies. That’s why, after only two years, South Dakota was forced to re-do its Marsy’s Law. Other states have struck Marsy’s Law ballot questions until they can be rewritten to accurately reflect what the proposed amendments do.
The state’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau has no cost analysis of Marsy’s Law because it is not legislation. If approved in April by voters, it will become a permanent part of the Wisconsin State Constitution.
Updated Dec. 14, 2019 with Griselda Aldrete's response
By Gretchen Schuldt
Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission Executive Director Griselda Aldrete on two separate documents falsely stated what and when she taught at the Milwaukee Area Technical College.
Aldrete said on a full resume and a separate teaching resume that she taught criminal justice at the school, which she did not. She also said she taught there more recently than she actually did.
Employee Relations Director Maria Monteagudo acknowledged a "discrepancy" in Aldrete's resume, adding "A correction to her resume will be made by Ms. Aldrete for the record."
"This information does not change Ms Aldrete's qualifications for the Executive Director position," Monteagudo wrote in an email.
Aldrete's short tenure already has been controversial – she was confirmed in her job in July – marked by staff turnover that some see as necessary and others see and deeper management problems.
"I try to live life by the simple credo: “trust, truth and transparency,” Aldrete said during her confirmation hearing, according to written testimony.
Asked why gave incorrect information to the city, Adrete said, "From your line of questioning, you’re implying that this was done purposely on my resume. With all due respect, this is my resume and I know it well. As any professional in the workforce knows, when regularly adding new experience and jobs you must also update dates and times. There was nothing done here intentionally or to 'trick' anyone."
"What's important is: Did I work there? Yes. Did I teach? Yes? " she wrote in an email.
She said she had a master's degree and is an attorney.
"I’ve dedicated my career to helping people and strengthening communities in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin," she wrote.
Aldrete stated on the main resume she submitted to the city that she taught "Introduction of Criminal Justice" at MATC from 2009 to 2012.
She actually taught at the school part-time from November 2004 to December 2005 and never taught a course there related at all to criminal justice.
Rather, she taught mostly short basic education courses – basic communications, career exploration, and computer basics. Her class schedule is here.
The "teaching resume" also includes criminal-justice related teaching at MATC. The teaching resume does not contain specific dates, but lists a variety of courses Aldrete says she taught at Bryant & Stratton, Concordia College (now Concordia University), MATC, and Marquette University from 2008 to the time the resume was submitted. The teaching resume does not specify when or where she taught the individual classes.
Monteagudo did not respond to follow-up questions by late Friday afternoon concerning why why the city did not discover the incorrect information before WJI asked about it.
Aldrete said she did not think the issue would hurt her credibility.
"Absolutely not," she wrote. "What is hurting this Commission and the credibility of this office, and the many dedicated civil servants working here day-in and day-out, is the many attempts to unnecessarily discredit me, the FPC, or our employees. I have committed my professional life to helping the people of Milwaukee be successful and get help whenever needed. As mentioned above."
Sitting in a car at night not enough for police stop, appeals judge rules; Wood County trips over itself
By Gretchen Schuldt
Simply being in a car parked in a "24/7" boat landing parking lot does not provide police reasonable cause to question the occupants of the car, a state appeals judge ruled Thursday.
In addition, Wood County failed to show that Sheriff's Deputy Nathan Dean was acting in a community caretaker role when he approached the car, District IV Court of Appeals Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg said.
Kloppenburg upheld Wood County Circuit Judge Nicholas Brazeau Jr., suppressing in a drunk driving case evidence obtained by Wood County Sheriff’s Deputy Nathan Dean.
Dean saw nothing illegal and nothing suspicious before he approached the parked car to question to the two adults inside.
"The vehicle was not running, the lights were not on, and the hood was closed....The officer saw no indication that the persons were in distress," Kloppenburg wrote.
After Dean talked to the two, he cited one of them, Trevor Krizan, for first-offense drunk driving. Krizan, Dean testified, had glassy eyes and slurred his speech a few times when they talked.
Wood County argued for the first time on appeal that Krizan was never actually "seized," and so the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable search and seizures did not apply.
Lawyers generally are not allowed to raise an issue for the first time on appeal. Wood County not only did that; it directly contradicted in its appeal what it said in Circuit Court, according to Kloppenburg's decision.
There, the county argued that Dean was acting in his "community caretaker" role, which would allows exceptions to Fourth Amendment requirements when officers are acting as caretakers, rather than as crime investigators.
But a legitimate community caretaking function requires the occurrence of a seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, Kloppenburg wrote.
In short, Wood County tried to deny on appeal what it embraced in Circuit Court.
"Evers' judges" is our effort to present information about Gov. Tony Evers' appointees to the bench. The information is taken from the appointees' own judgeship applications. WJI also will continue to profile former Gov. Scott Walker's appointees who are still in office.
Name: M. Joseph Donald
Appointed to: District 1 Court of Appeals
Appointment date: Sept. 4, 2019. (Election scheduled for April 2020)
Law School – Marquette University Law School
Undergraduate – Marquette University
High School – Shorewood High School
St. Lawrence Seminary
Recent legal employment:
1996 - present – Milwaukee County circuit judge
Bar and Administrative Memberships:
Wisconsin State Courts
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
General character of practice before becoming a judge: Worked as a Milwaukee assistant city attorney from 1989 to 1996, handling tax foreclosures, bankruptcies, property tax assessments, unemployment compensation and ordinance violations. Also handled disciplinary hearings before the Fire and Police Commission.
Describe typical clients: Represented various city department heads and city employees, including those in the Treasure's Office, the Department of City Development, the City Assessor's Office and the Fire and Police Departments. Represented the city in prosecuting people in Municipal and Circuit Court.
Number of cases tried to verdict or judgment: Seven as city attorney
List up to five cases in which you participated as a judge or lawyer in the past seven years:
State v. Johnnie J. – I presided over the jury trial and dispositional hearing, and entered orders terminating Johnnie's parental rights to her children.
State v. Antonio Smith – I presided over the jury trial and sentencing of defendant Smith on multiple counts of first degree intentional homicide and conspiracy to commit homicide.
State v. Mickey Miller – I presided over the jury trial and motion to dismiss the armed robbery and false imprisonment charges.
State v. Bailey – I presided over the multiple count jury trial and motions that resulted in a conviction of guilty on felon in possession of a firearm and acquittal on others.
State v. Akim Brown – I presided over the post-conviction motion.
Experience in adversary proceedings before administrative bodies.
Throughout my career as a Milwaukee City Attorney, I was involved in many administrative proceedings, which included The Board of Review for tax assessments; State of Wisconsin Unemployment Compensation Proceedings; and the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission.
My most notable administrative proceeding took place in 1991 before the Fire and Police Commission and involved the disciplinary proceedings of Milwaukee Police Officers John Balcerzak and Joseph Gabrish for failing to properly investigate serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and one of his victims.
Konerak Sinthasomphone was a 14-year-old Laotian immigrant, who had escaped Dahmer's apartment and ran out into the neighborhood. Bystanders called police. When Officers Balcerzak and Gabrish arrived on the scene, Sinthasomphone was disoriented, naked and bleeding.
Dahmer managed to convince the officers that Sinthasomphone was his 19-year-old gay lover. Without investigating the circumstances further, the officers returned the boy to Dahmer's custody, inside Dahmer's apartment.
Meanwhile, three African-American women were also on the scene when Sinthasomphone escaped and tried to convince the officers that something was wrong.
What made this case so noteworthy was the pretrial evidentiary rulings with respect to what evidence was available for use. For example, there were hundreds of photographs of Dahmer's apartment; recordings of the officers' radio transmissions; employment histories of the police officers; and the police department's internal affairs investigation reports.
Marquette Law Professor Dan Blinka was the hearing examiner and set a very aggressive scheduling order for these pretrial issues to be resolved. At the same time, there was community pressure on the commission from the Mayor John Norquist's office, the Milwaukee Police Association and the public at large.
Previous runs for political office: Successful campaigns for Circuit Court in 1997, 2003, 2009, 2015; unsuccessful run for Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2016.
Position or involvement in judicial, non-partisan, or partisan political campaign, committee, or organization:
Donated $20 to State Rep. Mandela Barnes (D-Milwaukee) in 2015.
All judicial or non-partisan candidates endorsed in the last six years:
It has been my practice to endorse incumbent judges or judicial candidates who would bring diversity to the bench.
(Note - Donald did not provide requested information, which includes each endorsed candidate's name, office sought, and year of endorsement.)
Professional or civic and charitable organizations:
Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, Board member, 2014 to present
Milwaukee County Historical Society, Board member, 2017 to present
Urban Day School, Board member, 2000 to present
American Constitution Society, member, 2016 to present
Milwaukee Bar Association, 1996 to present
State Bar of Wisconsin, member, 1988 to present
Milwaukee Area Technical College, Board member, 1990 to 1994
Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Board member, 2000 to 2005
Harambee Community School, Board member, 1996 to 2000
Marquette Law School Alumni Board, Board member/president, 2003 to 2007
Juvenile Corrections Study Committee, member, July, 2018 to October, 2018
Mother of Good Counsel Parish, Board member, 1996 to 2000
Next Act Theater, Board member, 1993 to 1996
Race, Equity, and Procedural Justice, member, 2014 to present
Department of Children and Families, Advisory Committee member, 2018 to present
State Bar of Wisconsin, Mass/Disparate Incarceration Committee, 2018 to present
State Supreme Court, Policy and Planning Committee, 2015 to present
American Cancer Society, Ambassador board member, 2015 to 2016
Elected or appointed public offices:
Milwaukee Area Technical College Board, 1991 to 1994 – elected by Board.
Milwaukee Housing Authority, 2014 to present – appointed by Common Council
Significant pro bono legal work or volunteer service:
Involvement in business interests:
Board member, Travaux Inc., real estate development (Milwaukee Housing Authority). I am prepared to resign from Travaux.
Why I want to be a judge –
I want to serve the people of Wisconsin as a Court of Appeals Judge because I want to ensure that our courts are fair, impartial and free from the influence of special interests and politics. If our courts become too closely aligned with our legislative and executive branches, citizens can become victims of the system.
During my 23 years as a circuit judge, I have observed significant changes in our approaches to addressing crime, and I believe some of these changes were influenced by political policy and special interests.
Help WJI advocate for justice in Wisconsin