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.
Misdemeanor bail jumping occurs when a person out on bond on a misdemeanor charge violates the conditions of that bond. Felony bail jumping occurs when a person out on bond on a felony charge violates the conditions of that bond.
A bail-jumping offense may not itself be a crime. Missing a court date, violating a local ordinance, having a drink, or using an illegal drug could all be bail-jumping offenses if bond conditions prohibit the activity.
Largest number of bail-jumping charges issued in a single case: 10
Number of felony bail-jumping charges issued: 156
Number of misdemeanor bail-jumping charges issued: 78
*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.
During ten days in spring 2021, Kelsey Alexandra Grams landed herself in criminal legal trouble twice. Her second criminal case included a charge of misdemeanor bail jumping.
From April 30 to May 1, 2021, Grams called 9-1-1 more than 170 times from her residence in Superior. Sometimes she hung up and sometimes she laughed or screamed or told jokes. Other times she provided information including, among other things, that there were two dead bodies in her basement, someone was shot in her backyard, someone stole her child’s toys from her yard, she was running a sex trafficking ring, someone was peeping in her windows, and there was an overdose death next door.
Squads were dispatched to Grams’ residence multiple times. One officer in particular responded to the residence at least four times and spent more than two hours there. Grams sometimes talked with him or yelled at him, and other times she did not.
Officers investigated the residence next door and found it was empty.
After Grams failed to stop calling 9-1-1, officers obtained a warrant and arrested her inside her residence. They found no bodies on the property.
Grams was charged on May 3, 2021, with three counts of false-emergency (9-1-1) phone use. Each misdemeanor count exposed Grams to a fine of between $100 and $600 and 90 days in jail.
Court Commissioner Rebecca Lovejoy released Grams on a $1000 signature bond. By law, release conditions included that Grams not commit any crimes.
Just four days later, on May 7, police responded to a call from a social worker for the Douglas County Department of Health and Human Services. The social worker reported that she was working on a child custody case involving Grams.
The social worker had just found voicemail messages from Grams from the evening of May 6 and morning of May 7. In one message, Grams said she knew where her child was and that if the child was not returned to her “’it wouldn’t be pretty.’” In another, Grams said that if the social worker did not return Grams’ child the social worker would be “’lucky to survive.’”
The social worker said she feared for her safety and that of the foster family caring for Grams’ child because Grams knew their address.
Officers found Grams and arrested her.
On May 10, 2021, Grams was charged with felony stalking and misdemeanor bail jumping because of the release condition in the prior case that she not commit any crimes. The felony carried a potential three and a half years in prison and $10,000 fine. The misdemeanor bail jumping carried a potential nine months in custody and $10,000 fine.
Lovejoy set $500 cash bail and conditions that Grams not contact the social worker or foster parents.
Grams did not pay the cash bail amount and remained in custody. The court denied a request by Grams’ attorney to replace the cash bond with a signature bond.
On July 12, 2021, Grams pleaded no contest to one count of false-emergency phone use in the first case and an amended misdemeanor charge of unlawful use of a phone in the second case. The other false-emergency counts and the bail-jumping count were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Douglas County Circuit Judge Kelly J. Thimm sentenced Grams on the false-emergency count to 89 days in jail, with 67 days of credit for time served, and a $100 fine plus court costs. On the unlawful-phone-use count Thimm imposed 60 days in jail (with no sentence credit) but stayed that custody and imposed two years of probation, and a $25 fine plus court costs.
Thimm also ordered Grams to have no contact with the social worker.
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. Facts set forth in the case file section are allegations from criminal complaints.
The intent of the project is to show a variety of bail-jumping cases and the frequency with which such charges are made.
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