May 8, 2014

John Doe Investigation Halted, Again


5/8/14 – An attorney for a conservative group said it was “enormously embarrassing” to prosecutors to have a judge halt their John Doe probe into recall campaign activities.  For the second time in three days, Milwaukee Federal Judge Rudolph Randa today ordered a halt to the nearly two-year-old John Doe investigation.  Randa said prosecutors filed a frivolous appeal to his previous ruling that the state was not immune from being sued — and he struck down that appeal, so the John Doe was halted again.  The state Justice Department and prosecutors did not immediately comment on today’s development.  Randa initially halted the probe on Tuesday, saying one of the targets of the investigation — the Wisconsin Club for Growth — had its rights to free speech violated.  The Doe probe centers on alleged illegal coordination between outside groups and G-O-P candidates in the 2011-and-’12 recall elections, including Governor Scott Walker.  Plaintiff’s attorney David Rivkin said he would now seek sworn testimony from prosecutors, to be used in a full-blown appeal which the state is expected to seek to keep the John Doe going.  Critics say the Doe is meant to embarrass Walker as he runs for re-election this fall, and perhaps for president in 2016.


Fox Lake May Drop New World


5/8/14 – Not every law enforcement agency in Dodge County may sign-on to a countywide system for records management. New World has two main uses: one is in squad cars as a data system for tasks like searching records and issuing citations; the other is back in the office for records management. All participating agencies have access to a common set of records, sharing names, photos, contact information, and any related case status on suspects and victims in real time.  County taxpayers picked up the tab on the $580-thousand dollar package, though individual municipalities have to pay a couple hundred dollars to integrate the software into their existing hardware. The program went online in the sheriff’s office in September and area departments started coming on board in January.  The plan all along has been to get all law enforcement records in Dodge County on the system.


Fox Lake currently uses New World in its squad cars for data but Police Chief Jim Rohr says problems so far have him thinking twice. Rohr says the State Patrol will soon offer a system called MACH that he is very seriously considering because of the ongoing problems his department has seen with New World. Rohr says new fixes for New World are attempted every couple weeks with no success, which he calls a “red flag.” Rohr is also thinking about dropping plans to switch to New World as a records management system in the office.  Fox Lake is under contract with a different company for that through the end of next month and Rohr says the New World system is not as functional as he had hoped it would be by now.


Sheriff Pat Ninmann says her office continues to configure New World to meet the needs of users.  By the end of May, she says they will be uploading the newest version of New World which will correct some of the issues.  Ninmann says they are also scheduling additional training, but not all departments are taking advantage of the training.


Legal Costs Recouped From Former Fox Lake Assessor


5/8/14 – The City of Fox Lake has settled a lawsuit against the former Fox Lake city assessor. Art Kind of the now-defunct Value Services of Eau Claire filed a report with the state in 2011 on the TIF District’s valuation that was off by $16-million, forcing the city to borrow money to keep tax rates level. The lawsuit sought to recoup between $6000 and $7000 in interest on the borrowing. City Attorney Steve Hannan says Kind provided documentation during the discovery process that indicates he is surviving solely on Social Security. The settlement with Kind, approved by the council Wednesday night, will result in the city getting $2500 for legal expenses.


Sex Sting Suspect Arraigned


5/8/14 – A Fox Lake man who allegedly tried to arrange an encounter with an underage boy entered a “not guilty” plea at arraignment yesterday. Robert Bistrick is charged with a felony count of Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 40 years, if he is convicted. The 46-year-old responded to a post on the website Craigslist from someone claiming to be a 13-year-old Beaver Dam boy; it was actually an undercover agent from the Beaver Dam Police Department. At one point, he joked that (quote) “maybe this is some undercover sting operation.” The dialogue became extremely explicit and a meeting was arranged across from the Beaver Dam Middle School before school started. When Bistrick was arrested, he reportedly admitted everything and even offered the police advice on what to say and not say in future sting operations. Bistrick is currently on parole for armed robbery. He has court activity on the calendar again in next month.


West Bend Woman Arraigned In Beaver Dam Hit and Run


5/8/14 – A West Bend woman entered a “not guilty” plea at arraignment yesterday to charges that she fled the scene after striking and severely injuring a pedestrian in Beaver Dam. 22-year-old Stephanie Goltz is facing felony counts of Hit and Run Causing Great Bodily Harm and Knowingly Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Revoked License. A Beaver Dam man was struck by a dark-colored sedan on Madison Street in the early morning hours of January 26. He was taken to the Beaver Dam Community Hospital before being transported to UW Hospital in Madison. The victim went over the hood, on top of the vehicle and was said to be caught up in the wheel well at one point. The offending vehicle never stopped and sped away toward Highway 151. Authorities received a call the next day from an attorney for a passenger in the vehicle. The passenger told police he had been drinking in Beaver Dam and did not realize they had hit a pedestrian until he heard it on the news. He said there may have been a thump but with the blowing snow it was difficult to see. The passenger said Goltz was the designated driver and was drinking water most of the night but also maybe a beer or two. Court activity is on the calendar again next month.


Wisconsin Man Among Those Arrested In Drug Crackdown


5/8/14 – Nine people have been arrested — including one from central Wisconsin — as the result of a federal indictment in Denver as part of a crackdown on synthetic drugs.  The U-S Attorney for Colorado listed Kenneth Chastain, the owner of the Avalon-on-Fourth store in Marshfield, as among those receiving shipments of “Spice” from other defendants a grand jury indicted yesterday.  According to the indictment, John Bowen and Daniel Bernier ran companies in Colorado and Florida which imported chemicals from China that were used to manufacture synthetic drugs sold throughout the U-S.  Prosecutors said that for the first time, a smokable version of synthetic pot was discovered.  Besides the Wisconsin businessman, wholesalers and retailers from Illinois, Nebraska, and Colorado were arrested.  U-S Attorney John Walsh told reporters in Denver that the indictment was the culmination of an eight-month investigation spurred by authorities who took action last summer due to large numbers of users getting sick.  Prosecutors said over 220 users of synthetic marijuana went to emergency rooms in the Denver and Colorado Springs areas last August and September — and at least one death was attributed to “Spice.”


Lomira Students Visiting Fox Lake American Legion


5/8/14 – About 90 students from Lomira will be among the many students who will attend a children’s education event at the Fond du Lac American Legion Post over the next two days. Jim Guell says it’s a chance for the kids and the public to hear from the veterans who have served the country in wars from World War II up to the present. He says they will also see the uniforms that were worn and some of the memorabilia from those wars. The event is from 10am to 3pm each day.