Criminal Justice

Hands grabbing steel green bars

Advocates push to end life without parole for juveniles in Wisconsin

BY: - January 20, 2022

In Wisconsin, advocates are pushing to end the practice of giving life sentences to juveniles, something many other states have already accomplished. A group of them gathered in the capitol Wednesday to endorse a bipartisan bill, authored by Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee), to do just that. At a press conference Wednesday to highlight the bill, […]

bags of heroin or other drugs containing fentanyl with skull and crossbones representing fatalities reads "Danger contains Fentanyl. Highly toxic, May be fatal)

Hearing on fentanyl testing strips upends stereotypes

BY: - January 14, 2022

A proposal to legalize fentanyl testing strips stirred strong emotions  during the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety hearing Thursday. Currently in the state of Wisconsin, possessing or distributing fentanyl testing strips can lead to a felony charge. Since fentanyl is the driving factor behind a surge in overdose deaths across the state, the […]

Rioters enter the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Federal prosecutors file seditious conspiracy charges against Oath Keepers in Jan. 6 attack

BY: - January 14, 2022

WASHINGTON — Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers, was charged with seditious conspiracy in organizing an attack on the U.S. Capitol and disrupting the Electoral College certification of the president, the Justice Department announced Thursday.  Edward Vallejo, 63, of Phoenix is charged along with Rhodes in connection with events […]

Bail bonds and fine concept. Money and gavel as symbol of law.

Bail reform debate proceeds without data following Waukesha tragedy

BY: - January 11, 2022

In the weeks since Darrell Brooks Jr. drove his car through the Waukesha Christmas Parade on Nov. 21, Wisconsin policymakers have been engaged in a debate about the state’s bail system. Brooks was out of jail for a previous crime on $1,000 — an amount legislators of both parties and Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm […]

Hans Christian Heg statute 2012

Damage to historical properties could become class I felony

BY: - January 7, 2022

Damaging or leaving graffiti on a historical monument like a statue, plaque, or painting on public land could become a class I felony in the state of Wisconsin. At least, that’s the goal of a bill authored by Rep. Andre’ Jacque (R-DePere) and Rep. William Penterman (R-Columbus) introduced to the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice […]

A lone Milwaukee police squad monitoring traffic. (Photo | Isiah Holmes)

Republicans want to sustain police departments with one-time federal money

BY: - January 5, 2022

Republican officials are pushing a new package of bills steering $25 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money towards recruiting, training and equipping more law enforcement officers statewide. From providing $5,000 sign-on bonuses for recruits to creating grants for various equipment and medical tests, the package aims to remedy funding and staffing shortfalls […]

Gov. Tony Evers speaks to students at Winnequah School in Monona

Evers sets record for pardons in his first three years

BY: - January 4, 2022

A total of 337 pardons were issued by Gov. Tony Evers during his first three years in office, the largest number of any Wisconsin governor in contemporary history. Evers stated that  the pardons give “a second chance to folks who’ve made amends and paid their debt to society.” He added that “these individuals have recognized […]

Woman in room filled with drying marijuana plants hung upside down

Federal law still treats marijuana as an illegal drug, creating headaches for states

BY: - December 28, 2021

Most states in the U.S. are in violation of a major federal drug statute.  The 1971 Controlled Substances Act lists marijuana in the most dangerous category defined in the law, on par with cocaine and heroin because of its supposed potential for abuse and lack of medical applications.  But 36 states plus the District of […]

Photographs taken by a Wauwatosa officer at a protest in August, 2020. (Photo | Wauwatosa Police Department)

How should fusion centers be used during protests?

BY: - December 22, 2021

When they were first conceived after the attacks on Sept. 11 2001, so-called fusion centers, that bring together local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, had several of goals. The idea was to improve the flow of information and intelligence throughout government agencies, which could then detect and prevent future acts of terrorism. As fusion […]

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm (Photo courtesy of Milwaukee County)

Legislators grant pay raises for state workers, except for Milwaukee DA

BY: - December 22, 2021

Just in time for Christmas, the Wisconsin Legislature’s committee on employment relations voted Tuesday to approve a 2% pay raise for all state employees, except for the Milwaukee County District Attorney. Co-chair of the committee Republican Senate President Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), directly referenced the ongoing controversy over the release of Darrell Brooks on $1,000 bail. […]

Close-Up Of The Hands Of A Mother And Her Child showing parenting, hands pulling apart separation

Republican family law bills make it easier to use ‘civil death penalty’

BY: - December 13, 2021

A series of bills introduced by Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature to change the state’s child services system puts too much power in the hands of prosecutors and unfairly targets Native Americans and people of color, advocates say.  All of the bills, according to their author, Rep. Barbara Dittrich (R-Oconomowoc), are meant to get children […]

COMMENTARY
KENOSHA, WISCONSIN - NOVEMBER 10: Kyle Rittenhouse becomes emotional describing events leading up to the shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum as he testifies during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on November 10, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse shot three demonstrators, killing two of them, during a night of unrest that erupted in Kenosha after a police officer shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back while police attempted to arrest him in August 2020. Rittenhouse, from Antioch, Illinois, was 17 at the time of the shooting and armed with an assault rifle. He faces counts of felony homicide and felony attempted homicide. (Photo by Mark Hertzberg-Pool/Getty Images)

Stop calling Kyle Rittenhouse a hero. He killed two unarmed people

BY: - December 10, 2021

Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot three men at a riot in Kenosha, killing two of them, was acquitted of all criminal charges. He has been hailed as a hero. He has been feted by politicians, including Donald Trump. He has been compared to John Wayne as a symbol of law-abiding people fighting back against lawlessness. When […]