Author: Benjamin Van Severen

New Proposal to Strengthen Wisconsin’s Social Host Law

Under a new law proposed by State Representative Andre Jacque and State Senator Van Wanggaard, it will be illegal for adults who knowingly allow people under 21 to drink alcohol on their property.  The social host law, found in Wis. Stat. § 125.07, is up for interpretation after an October 2016 Court of Appeals decision…

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Slow Drivers in the Left Lane

Anyone who commutes regularly on the highway system has no doubt encountered slow drivers traveling in the left lane.  For some, it’s a small inconvenience.  For others, it can lead to bouts of road rage.  A bill proposed in Maryland looks to fine drivers who remain in the left lane. Purpose The sponsor of the…

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Diversions and DPA’s Help to Avoid Convictions

Not all arrests result in convictions, or even criminal charges.  The obvious way to avoid a conviction is to take your case all the way to trial and have the jury return a not guilty verdict.  But some people can avoid a criminal conviction short of a trial even if they are arrested or investigated…

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Explaining Bail in Wisconsin

If you are charged with a crime in Wisconsin, your first court appearance is called your initial appearance.  You will be notified of the charges against you and the court will likely set bail.  “Bail” is defined in Section 969.001 of the Wisconsin Statutes as “monetary conditions of release.” Section 969.01(1) states defendants arrested for…

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Revocation Results in Prison Despite Not Guilty Verdict

How can someone be found not guilty by a jury of his peers and still be sent to prison?  Because he was on probation at the time he was charged with the crimes and his supervision was revoked.  Damien Payne took his felon in possession of a firearm and carrying a concealed weapon case to jury…

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Len Bias Law Prosecutions in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is seeing a significant increase in Len Bias homicide prosecutions in an effort to curb the delivery of opiate drugs and reduce overdose deaths.  The name Len Bias prosecutions became common parlance after the famous college basketball prospect overdosed on cocaine and died two days after he was drafted 2nd overall by the Boston Celtics…

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Sheriff to Increase Jail Staff

Between April and November 2016, four people have died at the Milwaukee County Jail.  The sheriff’s office hopes that increasing the jail staff will lead to better monitoring and supervision of inmates.  The office has gone on a hiring spree recently, hiring approximately 25 corrections officers in December.  The plan is to have another group…

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Court Ruling Keeps Schimel Videos Private

In a 5-2 Supreme Court ruling filed on December 28, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned decisions by lower courts requiring Attorney General Brad Schimel to make public two training videos he made as a state prosecutor.  The two videos in question were made for the Wisconsin Department of Justice in 2009 and 2013 when Schimel was…

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New OWI Penalties Begin January 1

A bill signed into law by Governor Scott Walker back in April is set to take effect as we ring in the New Year.  The new law affects the OWI penalties for repeat drunk drivers. OWI Penalties for 4th Offenses OWI penalties can be confusing, so let’s first look at what the current law is:…

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Drug Treatment Court in Milwaukee

Drug treatment court is a specialized program offered in many counties in Wisconsin.  This post will focus specifically on Milwaukee County, but many of the eligibility criteria are the same in neighboring counties. Purpose of Drug Treatment Court The mission statement of the drug treatment court program focuses on “enhancing public safety through the reduction…

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