The number of felony cases opened in Milwaukee County rose 3 percent last year, the biggest jump since 2010, records show.
There were 5,694 felony cases opened last year, up 151 from the previous year. It is he first significant increase in crime since 2010, when there were 6,194 cases opened, a 4.7% increase over the previous year.
Felony traffic cases were up 21 percent last year, when there were 439 felony traffic cases opened, up 76 from the 363 filed the previous year, according to the statistics from the Wisconsin Court System. Tougher drunk driving laws likely are responsible for much of the increase. Fourth offense drunk driving became a felony in 2017.
Intimidating a victim / witness cases jumped to 100 cases last year, a 69 percent increase from the 59 cases filed in 2016.
On the decline side, the number of armed robbery cases dropped from 398 in 2016 to 282 last year, down 116 cases, or 29%. Weapons and explosives cases also were down, from 91 to 47, a drop of 44 cases, or 48 percent.
Substantial battery cases were down by 56 cases, or 25 percent, but that decline was offset by a 46-case, 72 percent increase in felony battery.
The figures do not reflect the total number of charges, but the top charges. A single case may include multiple charges, with the top charge the most serious.
The number of weapons / explosives cases listed by the state is incorrect and should be significantly higher, District Attorney John Chisholm said.
Prosecutions are a result of police referrals to the district attorney's office. Felony referrals fell by 10.4 percent from 2011 through 2016, according to figures Chisholm provided. The number of felony cases opened fell by 9.4% over that same time period, according to the state statistics.
Overall, from 2011 through 2017, felony court cases opened in Milwaukee County fell 7 percent; statewide, they rose 18 percent.
By Gretchen Schuldt
Drug possession, bail jumping and traffic crime cases were the major drivers pushing Wisconsin's felony caseload up 8 percent last year, statistics show.
Circuit courts around the state in 2017 opened:
The number of all felony cases opened in the state rose from 39,171 in 2016 to 42,197, an increase of 3,026.
The numbers, provided by the Wisconsin Courts System do not reflect every charge filed, but the cases opened in which a drug possession charge was the most serious, or first listed.
Drug possession was the most common felony case opened in Wisconsin, accounting for about 19% of felonies filed in the state last year. The 14% increase doubtless reflects the increased presence of opioids and methamphetamine in the state.
Felony bail-jumping charges are criticized by defense lawyers for the negotiating advantage they give to prosecutors. There have been double-digit increases in felony bail jumping cases every year except one during the past six years – their numbers rose 20 percent in 2012, 11 percent in 2013, 6 percent in 2014, 12 percent in 2015, and 11 percent in 2016. They accounted for just under 19% of felony case openings statewide.
Felony bail jumping ranks second in the type of case opened. Felony bail jumping occurs when person out on bond in a felony case violates the condition of the bond, even if the violation is itsef not a crime. Having a beer in defiance of an "absolute sobriety" order, for example, could subject a person to a felony bail jumping charge, as could missing a drug test or a court date. Felony bail jumping is punishable by up to six years in prison, which may well be a longer sentence than the offender faces for the original crime.
The big jump in felony traffic cases last year was driven, no doubt, by tougher drunk driving laws that made fourth offense drunk driving a felony rather than a misdemeanor. There were 2,469 felony drunk driving cases opened statewide in 2017, up 40%, or 701 cases, from the 1,768 felony drunk driving cases filed in 2016, according to statistics.
The biggest declines were in burglary and armed robbery cases, according to the statistics.
Burglary cases dropped from 2,002 cases in 2016 to 1,830 cases last year, down 172 cases, or 9 percent. Armed robbery cases 706 in 2016 to 553 last year, down 153, or 22%.
By Gretchen Schuldt
The State Supreme Court should decide whether Wisconsin's case law on imposing life without parole sentences on juveniles complies with related decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, a State Court of Appeals panel said.
The State Supreme Court also should rule on whether the two judges who pronounced life sentences on juveniles adequately considered the mitigating effect of the defendants' youth, in compliance with U.S. Supreme Court standards.
The issues raised in the two cases considered "are matters of considerable statewide importance and constitutional dimension," the three-judge District 3 Court of Appeals panel said. The panel included Appeals Judges Lisa K. Stark, Thomas M. Hruz, and Mark A. Seidl.
The panel certified the cases to the Supreme Court for consideration.
From left to right: Stark, Hruz, Seidl.
Criminal justice experts are rethinking life sentences for juveniles more is learned about brain development. The U.S. Supreme Court said in 2012 that juveniles convicted of murder cannot be given a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole.
The Court later ruled later that a no-parole sentence may be unconstitutional even if the judge considers the defendant's age if the crime reflects "unfortunate but transient immaturity." The Court also banned all life sentences for youth except "where the child is so irreparably corrupt that rehabilitation is impossible."
Both cases in Wisconsin considered by the appeals panel are homicide cases. The first occurred in 1994, when Curtis Walker and an accomplice shot and killed a Milwaukee police officer. Walker was six weeks shy of his 18th birthday.
The judge sentenced Walker to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 75 years, or when Walker is 95.
Walker's legal team is arguing that the de-facto life sentence is excessive and disproportionate and is inconsistent with the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings.
The state, however, says that the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions do not apply when the sentencing court, as it did in this case, has discretion to set a parole date. The state also is arguing that the issue of de facto life sentences are not included in that court's decision.
In the second case, Omer Ninham, then 14, helped throw a 13-year-old boy off the fifth floor of a parking garage in 2000. He was sentenced to life without parole.
Ninham previously appealed, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court concluded that a life sentence without parole for a 14-year-old does not “categorically constitute cruel and unusual punishment," and that Ninham’s sentence was not unduly harsh and excessive. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the case.
Ninham, like Walker, is arguing the sentencing judge did not adequately consider his youth at the time of the crime. The state is arguing that the U.S. Supreme Court decision was concerned with mandatory life sentences, not those imposed at the discretion the presiding judge. The appeals court said it reached a similar conclusion in a decision in another case.
The appeals panel also said it does not have the authority to disregard the earlier Wisconsin decisions upholding life-without-parole sentences for juveniles. That is true, the panel said, "regardless of advances in the science of brain development or other relevant research."
Sentencing courts "would benefit greatly" from guidance on how much weight to give the factors identified in the US Supreme Court decisions and to what extent “the prospect for the juvenile’s rehabilitation takes precedence over other legitimate sentencing considerations, such as general deterrence," the appeals panel said.
The Republican proposal to toughen revocation rules for people under Department of Corrections supervision and to build a new prison to house the additional inmates snared by the new rules could be far more expensive than has been publicly discussed, according to records.
The measure was approved by the Assembly and is awaiting action by the State Senate. No Democrat voted for the proposal, although State Rep. Jason Fields (D-Milwaukee) did not cast a vote. Republican Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake) voted against it, and David Murphy (R-Greenville) and Shannon Zimmerman (R-River Falls) did not vote.
The focus has been on one scenario presented by the DOC, which comes with an estimated price tag of $57 million per year in additional costs after tougher revocation rules would be fully implemented. But the department worked up other estimates that put possible costs far higher—up to $201 million more per year.
And while the Assembly version of the bill would authorize $350 million in borrowing, interest payments likely would add at least $100 million to that price tag and possibly much more, depending on the length of the financing and the interest rate.
Prison bonding cost scenarios
Finally, the proposal would financially burden counties, most of which would be forced to hold in local jails, at county expense, those recommended for revocation while they await their revocation hearings and decisions. That process could take at least 60 days. The increased costs could well translate into increased property taxes or, because of levy limits the state places on counties, reduced services in other areas.
"Essentially, this bill is an unfunded mandate to Wisconsin county jails," Iowa County Sheriff Steve Michek said in testimony prepared for the Assembly Committee on Corrections. Michek testified on an earlier version of the bill on behalf of the Badger State Sheriffs' Association and the Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association.
"There is a cost to this proposal and we ask that it be addressed before the bill advances further," he said.
The proposal, originally sponsored by State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield), would require DOC to recommend revocation of supervision for anyone charged with a new violent misdemeanor or any felony. DOC estimates the bill would result in 2,135 new revocation recommendations per year.
In 2016, 92% of revocation recommendations were eventually affirmed, and the average length of subsequent imprisonment was 39 months, according to DOC.
If the share of additional revocation recommendations ultimately approved remains at the current 92%, the bill will cost an estimated $100.9 million to $201.4 million per year when it is fully implemented, depending on the average term of imprisonment.
If the approval rate for the additional recommendations falls to 72%, the bill will cost an estimated $79.1 million to $161.8 million; at a 52% revocation rate, it would cost $57.3 million to $117 million.
Walker's judges" is our effort to present information about Gov. Walker's appointees to the bench. The information is taken from the appointees' own judgeship applications.
Name: Robert J. Shannon
Appointed to: Portage County Circuit Court
Appointment date: Aug. 24, 2015 (elected to a six-year term in April 2016)
Law School – Marquette University
Undergraduate – University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
High School – None listed on application
1989 - 2015 – Litigation attorney and partner, Anderson, O’Brien, Bertz, Screnes & Golla, Stevens Point, Wisconsin
US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
Supreme Court of the United States
Civil Trial Counsel of Wisconsin
Served briefly Board of Governors
Served as President, Potage (sic) County Bar Association
Legal experience as an advocate in criminal litigation, civil litigation, and administrative proceedings: Early in my career I litigated non-felony criminal matters and represented applicants and defended employers in administrative and workers compensation proceedings. During the last 20 years, my practice was concentrated specifically in civil litigation defense.
Number of cases tried to verdict or judgment: Jury 10 (estimated); non-jury 20 (estimated); arbitration 10 (estimated); administrative bodies, 10 (estimated).
Cases on appeal: As I have recently retired, I do not have access to past client records maintained by the firm. I cannot recall specifically all of the matters in which I appeared on appeal as my appeallate (sic) practice was limited.
Two most significant cases in which you were involved:
Over the course of 26 years, I have litigated hundreds of cases many of which have involved very serious personal injuries, wrongful death actions and products liability cases. Significant cases like these often represent life-altering events for the litigants. To the child of a deceased motorist, the spouse of a seriously burned employee or the executive management of a small manufacturing company whose product is alleged to be defective and causal of a serious injury or significant property damage, their case is the most important one they will ever be involved in and, many times, represents the only contact they will ever have with the court system. Each litigant deserves trial counsel that is competent, respectful and diligent and they have a right to expect nothing less from the court. I am confident that I could translate my experience in the private practice of law to service of the public as a judge.
Prior judicial experience: None
All runs for elective office: None
Involvement in judicial, non-partisan, or partisan political campaign, committee, or organization: None
Judicial or non-partisan candidates that you have publicly endorsed in the last six years: Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices Annete Zeigler (sic) (Annette Ziegler) and David Prosser
Describe any additional involvement in 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 your application.
General Counsel and Board Member of the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Institute Review Board; Director, CAP Services of Central Wisconsin, Co-Director of Finance Pacelli Panacea for Stevens Point Area Catholic Schools; Director, Stevens Point Youth Baseball Association; Board Member, Portage County Courthouse Security Committee; Counsel and Board Member, City of Stevens Point Community Development Block Grant Committee.
Describe any significant pro bono legal work in the last five years: Rainbo Lodge Inc. General Counsel, President, Director and Board of Trustees.
Why I want to be a judge – Portage County's remaining judges- Tom Fluguar (sic) (Tom Flugaur) and Tom Eagon, have significant experience in litigation of criminal cases. Judge Fluguar (sic) served as in the Public Defender's office for many years prior to his election and Judge Eagon was elected for multiple terms as Portage County District Attorney. With the addition of my 26 years of civil litigation experience, the Portage County Circuit Court would become one of the most experienced small county judicial systems in the state. I can be of nearly immediate service in handling the caseload of our retiring judge, can help to reduce delay of matters pending before the court and minimize the necessity of utilizing reserve judges to address matters calendared before the Branch II court. I would consider it a very high honor to assist in the prompt and competent administration of justice in Portage County- the place where I was born, practiced my profession and raised my family.
An expanding view of a court's inherent and discretionary authority to adapt the common law to comport with an individual's broader desire for promotion of public policy or fundamental fairness many times leads to neither. – Portage County Circuit Judge Robert J. Shannon
Best United States or Wisconsin Supreme Court opinions in the last thirty years
(Shannon referred readers to the "worst case" question below.)
Worst United States or Wisconsin Supreme Court opinions in the last thirty years – Collins v. Eli Lilly
There have been numerous examples which prove that neither state nor federal courts should actively engage in social engineering. Our Supreme Court has struggled with this issue as have most other courts. I believe that a judge must be constantly vigilant in examining his or her rationale in order to avoid the temptation of utilizing the bench for the promotion of his or her personal beliefs or opinions. The danger is strongest in the appellate courts where large measures of discretionary authority exist and where interpretation of existing common law is regularly required however the danger exists even for a trial judge. An expanding view of a court's inherent and discretionary authority to adapt the common law to comport with an individual's broader desire for promotion of public policy or fundamental fairness many times leads to neither. Illustrative is the Wisconsin Supreme Court's 1984 decision in Collins v. Eli Lilly 116 Wis. 2d 166 in which the court discarded decades of existing common law in response to it's (sic) perception of the existence of a public need. The court held, in essence, that where a compelling need exits, otherwise axiomatic common law requirements such as proof of causation-in-fact may be ignored and that liability in damages against a party may result in the absence of proof that the party was responsible for manufacturing the medication which allegedly injured the plaintiff. The "risk contribution doctrine" which attributed liability to all existing manufactures (sic) based on a defendants (sic) market volume at or near the time of injury, required that a trial court disregard the established law relating to issues of legal cause and pervaded the state's common law for decades. Particularly troubling in that decision was the court's express encouragement that it would consider extending the doctrine to cases where similar problems existed in identifying a party which could be held responsible for the harm caused. In fact, in Thomas v. Mallet, 2005 WI. 129, the court accepted it's (sic) own invitation and used the doctrine to impose liability on a similar "risk contribution basis" against manufacturers of lead-based paint- some of whom had not manufactured or distributed any leaded paint for 30 years or more. The tension and uncertainty resulting from these decisions persisted for more than 2 decades and was heightened by a legislative effort to restrict expansion of the doctrine which resulted in being veto'd (sic) by Governor Doyle. The issue was finally resolved in 2011 with the amendments to sec 895.046 and 895.047 Wis. Stats. I believe the better approach is expressed in cases such as Crossett v. Goelser, 177 Wis. 455 (1935) which cautions extreme caution in recognizing new common law or adopting the law of other jurisdictions and reminds us that the legislature is better suited to consider and decide issues involving public policy and social change.
Judicial philosophy – I believe that the purpose of our legal system is best served by adherence to existing precedent and that major changes to that precedent through the common law is not within the legitimate authority of a judge, particularly a trial court judge. Continued utilization of the common law to achieve or advance a broader societal imperative leads to delivery of ad hoc justice and promotes disrespect for the law. If law is to be valuable to society, it must be restricted to it's (sic) original purpose- to deter conduct harmful to society and to protect the rights of individuals. The deterrent effect of any legal system is weakened when administration of justice is neither predictable nor prompt. I believe that the goal of a judge must be the equal and unbiased application of the law and that a judge's personal opinions, political or otherwise, should never form the basis of his or her administration of justice.
WI Supreme Court says reasonable person would feel free to leave cops after confessing violent crime
By Margo Kirchner
A suspect who confessed to a serious crime during a police interview at a police station was not in custody afterwards when he asked for a lawyer, the State Supreme Court ruled last week.
As a result, officers did not need to comply with the suspect’s request for counsel, the Court said in a 5-2 opinion written by Chief Justice Patience Roggensack.
Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, in a dissent, said the majority was “engaging in a work of fantasy” by suggesting that Daniel Bartelt could reasonably believe after his confession that he was free to leave the Slinger police station.
Bartelt argued to the Court that police improperly questioned him after he invoked his right to counsel. The Court found, however, that Bartelt was not in custody when he first said anything about an attorney.
The right to counsel does not attach until a suspect is “in custody,” which occurs when, under the totality of the circumstances, “a reasonable person would not feel free to terminate the interview and leave the scene,” according to the Court.
In July 2013, detectives from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department and Hartford Police Department investigated an armed assault in a Richfield park and a subsequent murder in Hartford. Detectives quickly identified Bartelt as a person of interest regarding the assault based on a vehicle seen at the crime scene and a composite sketch of the attacker. The murder victim was Bartelt’s former girlfriend.
A detective contacted Bartelt and asked to speak with him about an unspecified incident. Bartelt agreed to meet with Washington County Sheriff’s Department detectives at the Slinger Police Department. Bartelt believed the detectives wanted to talk about the murder.
Two detectives questioned Bartelt in an interview room containing a table and three chairs. One door to the room was open and the other was unlocked. The detectives did not search Bartelt. They told Bartelt that he was not in trouble, was not under arrest, and could leave at any time. They then asked questions about the attack in the park.
The interview lasted about 30 minutes. While questioning Bartelt, one of the detectives moved his chair from one side of the table to about two feet from Bartelt and accused Bartelt of lying. After more questioning, Bartelt admitted he had attacked the woman in the park.
A detective asked Bartelt to put the confession in writing and said there likely would be more questions. Bartelt then asked whether he should “speak to a lawyer or anything.” The detective said yes, that was an option, to which Bartelt responded, “I think I’d prefer that.”
At that point, the detectives suspended the interview, took Bartelt’s cell phone, and left the room. They returned a few minutes later, told Bartelt he was under arrest, handcuffed him, and sent him to the Washington County Jail.
The next day, in a Washington County Sheriff’s Department interview room, Hartford Police Department detectives questioned Bartelt about the murder. Although the detectives read Bartelt his Miranda rights before questioning him, no counsel was present notwithstanding Bartelt’s mention of a lawyer the day before.
Bartelt waived all of his Miranda rights and was questioned for about 90 minutes regarding his relationship with the murder victim and his whereabouts on the day she died. Based on statements Bartelt made during the second interview, detectives found physical evidence linking Bartelt to the murder.
In court, Bartelt moved to suppress his statements and any evidence derived from them. Following denial of the motion by Washington County Circuit Judge Todd Martens, a jury convicted Bartelt of first-degree intentional homicide and he was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of release.
On appeal, Bartelt conceded that he was not in custody at the start of his first interview. But he pointed out that during the interview one detective moved his chair closer, the tone of the questioning changed, and he was increasingly treated as a target of the investigation. Bartelt argued that once he confessed to the attack in the park, a reasonable person in his circumstances would have believed he was not free to leave the police station, thus transforming the interview into a custodial interrogation and requiring the detectives to cease all questioning once he asked for any attorney. Therefore, he argued, detectives violated his Fifth Amendment rights when they questioned him the next day about the murder.
However, the Court concluded that although admission of guilt to a serious crime “is a factor to consider in a custody analysis,” given the totality of circumstances Bartelt’s confession to the attack did not transform his status into one of custody.
The Court noted in particular that even after Bartelt’s confession the detectives spoke in a conversational tone and did not restrain his freedom of movement. Thus, as Bartelt was not in custody, his request for a lawyer did not need to be honored.
Bradley, joined in dissent by Justice Shirley Abrahamson, criticized the court for ignoring reality:
“I committed a serious, violent felony.” If suspects uttered these words, would law enforcement let them walk out of the station? Would a reasonable person feel free to simply get up and leave? Engaging in a work of fantasy, the majority says yes. Mired to the grips of reality, I say no.
Legal decisions regarding the “free to leave” standard do not reflect how reasonable people actually think and act, Bradley said.
She then continued: “Our jurisprudence should reflect reality. It should be based on true inclinations and thought processes rather than pushing the mythical ‘reasonable person’ even further from the bounds of the real world. The majority accomplishes the latter.”
Bradley further charged the majority with omitting relevant facts from its analysis, such as how Bartelt would have had to walk around one of the detectives to leave the room; how the detective’s movement of the chair blocked Bartelt’s exit, put the detective within arm’s reach, and changed the atmosphere in the room; and how the tone of questioning had turned coarse by the time of Bartelt’s confession, enhancing coercive pressure.
She noted that although the “free to leave” test requires assessment of objective facts rather than subjective views of those involved, one of the detectives testified that once Bartelt confessed, the detective believed Bartelt was not free to leave. “If even the interrogating detective testified that a suspect was not free to leave, would a reasonable suspect in such a position really think he could just get up and walk out?” Bradley wrote. “Only in a fantasy world would a suspect act in this manner.“
The number of traffic cases filed in Municipal Court rose 30% in 2017, but still lagged far behind the traffic caseload the court saw as recently as 2013.
There were 57,324 traffic cases opened last year, up 13,146 from the number filed in 2016, court statistics show.
Reckless and dangerous driving in Milwaukee has angered residents and city officials, prompting former Police Chief Edward Flynn, who oversaw a sharp decline in traffic offenses, to promise last year to crack down on offenses. The Municipal Court statistics simply reflect Police Department activity.
Traffic ticket cases peaked in 2009, when 11,864 cases were opened, according to Municipal Court statistics. That is 49% more cases than were opened last year.
While traffic cases were up substantially last year, other types were down. The number of adult general ordinance cases - things like disorderly conduct, marijuana cases, and minor retail theft -- filed last year dropped from 13,153 to 11,632, a decline of 12%
WJI joined with other groups in the statement below. Thanks to the ACLU of Wisconsin for leading the effort.
The Wisconsin State Assembly proposed a $350 million plan to build a new prison. The following is a joint statement from the ACLU of Wisconsin, African-American Civic Engagement Roundtable, Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC), Black Lives Matter to Wisconsin Unitarian Universalists, Dominican Center, EXPO (EX-incarcerated People Organizing), Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT), MICAH (Milwaukee Inner City Congregations Allied for Hope), NAACP Milwaukee Branch, Priceless Incite, Progressive Baptist Church, Uplifting Black Liberation and Community (UBLAC), Wisconsin Justice Initiative, Wisconsin Transgender Health Coalition, WISDOM, and Youth Justice Milwaukee reacting to the announcement:
Wisconsin does not need a new prison. It needs to adopt smart reforms in its criminal justice system that reduce prison populations, reduce recidivism and make communities safer and stronger. Many people are trapped in systems of incarceration because they have committed minor crimes that are often the result of substance abuse problems or mental illness. Rather than warehousing people in prisons, we must provide treatment in our communities. Too many people who could be supervised safely in their communities serve long sentences that decrease their chances of successful rehabilitation and reentry. Similarly, hair trigger revocations of probation and parole send too many people back into the prison system for rule violations. Our groups are committed to creating meaningful reforms in these systems.
During a time when many states are reforming their broken criminal justice systems and closing down unneeded or unsafe prisons, the Wisconsin legislature seems intent on locking up more Wisconsinites. Building costly new prisons isn't a solution to crime.
We need a bold plan that follows the lead of states like Texas, where investment in community-based alternatives to prison not only saved taxpayers money but led to a dramatic reduction in the prison population and, at the same time, a decline in the crime rate that was greater than the national average.
Wisconsin needs legislators who are committed to fixing what is broken. It is past time to address the continued criminalization of people of color, of the homeless, of the chemically-addicted, and of the mentally ill. We need to provide quality treatment and services. We need to envision a new criminal justice system—one that is substantially smaller and committed to the personal safety, health, and dignity of every individual as well as the broader community.
We should not be creating new laws that ensnare increasing numbers of people, and then building a new prison to accommodate this costly and ineffective punitive approach to criminal justice. We can develop effective means of holding people accountable that increase safety in the short and long term; and address the socioeconomic and structural factors that make crime likely in the first place.
Wisconsin spends billions of dollars on a failed system of imprisonment that does not address the root cause of systematic problems. According to the state’s data, about a third of people who leave the system are convicted and sentenced to a new prison term within three years.
Wisconsin must do better by following in the footsteps of other states and reducing corrections populations and costs by: expanding approaches that have proven track records for keeping people out of prison; reducing the number of prison admissions that don’t involve new convictions; and reducing recidivism by removing barriers to employment.
We're reaching back to 2015 in our continual updating of who gets charged with felony possession of marijuana second offense or greater -- yup, still black people.
We've posted 22 cases from 2015 so far; defendants in 18 were African-American, three defendants were white, and one was Hispanic, according to court records.
Overall, WJI has posted details about 72 cases opened in 2015 and 2016. A total of 60 African-Americans were charged, which is 7.5 times the number – eight – of whites charged. the number – eight – of whites charged. There were four Hispanics charged, according to records.
Fifty-six of the total arrests occurred in the city of Milwaukee north of I-94 and six occurred in the city south of I-94, a 9.3-to-1 north side - south side ratio.
A total of 10 cases began with arrests in county suburbs.
The Brookings Institution last year reported that while blacks and whites nationally use marijuana at about the same rates, blacks were more than 3.5 times as likely as whites to be arrested for possession.
That is only about half the disparity that exists in Milwaukee County felony possession of marijuana cases.
Follow along with us as we continue to track the arrests and their disparities. Still to come – 2017 cases.
Trump judge nominee Giampietro: criminals came from public schools; the pill is an "assault on nature"
Criminals came from public schools, birth control pills are an assault on nature, and legal recognition of gay marriage could open the door to polygamy, according to Gordon Giampietro, President Trump's nominee to be a federal judge in Milwaukee.
Giampietro in 2014, commenting on a blog post, also wrote that “calls for diversity” are “code for relaxed standards (moral and intellectual),” Buzzfeed reported Thursday.
The in-house lawyer for Northwestern Mutual Life, is not a member of the Wisconsin Bar and has litigated, he says, about 31 cases to conclusion in his entire career. WJI outlined some of his history in an earlier post.
Buzzfeed published additional information about Giampietro, including comments he made during two interviews with Lydia LoCoco and links to the audio of the shows.
His comments about public schools came during a 2002 interview with the Milwaukee Business Journal. Giampietro, a strong supporter the Milwaukee Parental Choice voucher program, said his views about the program were affected by what he saw growing up in Washington and by having a university professor for a father.
"I grew up next to lawyers, architects and crack dealers," he told the paper. "The common denominator I saw was that the children who succeeded in Washington were in private schools, and the children who turned out to be criminals were in public schools."
Giampietro, as a Choice advocate, appeared in opposition to a 1999 bill that would have prohibited discrimination against voucher school students based on "sex, race, religion, national origin, ancestry, creed, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation or physical, mental, emotional or learning disability."
"Whenever you go against God’s plan, bad things are gonna happen.” – Gordon Giampietro
In 2014 and 2015 interviews with LoCoco on Relevant Radio, Giampietro further explained some of his views related to sexual orientation.
Recognition of same-sex marriage, he said, would undermine the “very idea of marriage.”
LoCoco talked during the July 2014 interview about Thomas More, who was beheaded after refusing to recongize King Henry VIII as the head of the Church of England. More, she said, went to his death to follow his conscience and follow his God.
"Do you think those times are coming?" she asked.
“I think we always have to be prepared for them," Giampietro responded. "Is it going to happen this year or next year, its hard to say. But I think at the end of the day, we’ve reached a point of, we’ve moved beyond civil society. When the government doesn’t allow people to disagree with it, to live in peace, what options are you giving those people to carry on? … It sounds alarmist, it sounds crazy, but we’re entering a very dangerous time in our history.”
In the July 2015 interview, not long after the U.S. Supreme Court did recognize gay marriage, Giampietro opined: "Given this constitutional principle that the Court has laid down there really is no principled reason polygamy isn't the next thing to go. ... There's no limiting principle here. There's no reason why it couldn't be these other arrangements. ..."
"The seeds for this problem go back decades, right?" he said. "As soon as the contraceptive mentality set root, what is the articulation for why marriage should be with opposite-sex couples? There isn’t one, unless society agrees that it has to do with the raising of children. And so we really are reaping what we sowed a few years ago.”
LoCoco continued the theme. “So when my husband rants and raves about every problem in the world and his answer to everything is, ‘It was the pill! It was the pill! He’s absolutely right. I mean, in a sense.”
“Yes. Yes," Giampietro said. "Because that’s an assault on nature. And anytime you assault nature there’s gonna be a backlash. And that’s what we’re seeing today. In all kinds of ways, not just with respect to contraception and marriage. Whenever you go against God’s plan, bad things are gonna happen.”
Gretchen Schuldt is executive director of the Wisconsin Justice Initiative.
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