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.
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