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: 473*
Total number of misdemeanor and felony cases: 1,370
Percent of misdemeanor and felony cases that include bail-jumping charges: 35%
Total number of felony cases with bail-jumping charges: 296**
Total number of all felony cases: 740
Percent of felony cases that include bail-jumping charges: 40%
Total number of misdemeanor cases with bail-jumping charges: 177
Total number of all misdemeanor cases: 630
Percent of misdemeanor cases that include bail-jumping charges: 28%
Largest number of bail-jumping charges issued in a single case: 14
Number of felony bail-jumping charges issued: 549
Number of misdemeanor bail-jumping charges issued: 469
*Excludes criminal traffic misdemeanor cases that include bail-jumping charges. Criminal traffic charges are not included in this analysis.
**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.
Two witnesses reported seeing Natalie punch and hit a man in the head and face.
An off-duty Portage police officer, on his way into a fitness facility, also “heard a man and a woman screaming at each other and causing a disturbance,” according to a criminal complaint. The officer recognized both.
The man told police that he and Natalie had lived together for about a year and that she was upset that they broke up. Natalie came up to the man from behind, he said, and started hitting him in the head.
Natalie told police she and the man had spent the night together in a hotel.
Natalie, then 19, was charged with disorderly conduct / domestic abuse, which carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, and a $100 domestic-abuse assessment.
Columbia County Circuit Judge W. Andrew Voigt set a $500 signature bond on July 8, 2021. Natalie was ordered not to have contact with the victim.
She did not listen, according to a criminal complaint.
Exactly one week later, on July 15, Natalie was charged with misdemeanor bail jumping, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
After spending about half an hour with the same man, who had just been released from jail, in a friend’s bathroom, a frantic Natalie emerged “yelling for help,” according to the complaint. The man had overdosed. Natalie told her friend “not to call 9-1-1 because she did not want (her boyfriend) to go back to jail,” the complaint said. The friend called anyway. The man survived.
Natalie was released on a $250 signature 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.
It took more than three weeks this time before Natalie faced more charges – two counts involving credit cards and two more counts of misdemeanor bail jumping. Natalie and the boyfriend sometimes stayed with a woman and took an opportunity to relieve the woman of her wallet and debit card. The debit card was used in $300 worth of transactions. The boyfriend said Natalie took the wallet for drug money, according to the complaint. Natalie said the boyfriend took the wallet and then ditched her.
Voigt set a $1,000 signature bond and ordered Natalie not to have contact with the victim or the boyfriend.
The four charges each carried a maximum penalty of nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
In October, Natalie screamed at a woman loud enough to be heard by others and for someone to call the police.
She was charged with disorderly conduct and three counts of misdemeanor bail jumping. She faced another 2½ years in prison and $31,000 in fines.
Circuit Judge Todd Hepler set a $500 signature bond.
All together, Natalie faced 6½ years behind bars and $82,100 in fines. Of that, 4½ years and $60,000 was attributable to misdemeanor bail-jumping charges.
Natalie eventually pleaded no contest to the disorderly conduct / domestic abuse complaint and to two counts of misdemeanor bail jumping in a plea deal that covered all four cases.
Judge James Evenson sentenced her to two years’ probation. Evenson assessed costs and ordered Natalie, with her boyfriend, to pay $300 in restitution. The judge agreed to make her record eligible for expunction if she kept out of trouble.
But in May of this year, Natalie was charged in Dane County Circuit Court with felony identity theft and felony credit card fraud. In June she was charged in Columbia County with felony possession of narcotics, misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
Those charges are pending.
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 data was reported as of Jan. 31. 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.
Help WJI advocate for justice in Wisconsin