Sunday, February 11, 2007

McCann's Final Gift: Child Molesters

Evidently the now-retired Milwaukee County DA doesn't read the law too often. I mean, hey! Working on retirement-party planning, figuring out how to spend the pension...who has time for all that legal stuff?

A law that went on the books in June required guys like Scholke and Diperna to do several years of hard time unless a judge declares - for the record - that there is some extraordinary reason not to throw the book at the felons.

But by their admission, Milwaukee County prosecutors were clueless for about a half-year about the new law. From June until December, they were charging defendants, recommending sentences to judges and cutting plea deals without using the power legislators had entrusted in them.

The impact of the goof-up will be felt for months, much to the benefit of the perverts.
In our review of the records, we found at least 20 criminal cases, including one filed Feb. 1, in which prosecutors listed the potential penalty on the complaint as the old, lighter sentence, not the one now on the books.

The new law set a "presumptive minimum" prison term, meaning the judge is urged to lock up the defendant and could impose a lesser sentence only in highly unusual cases, for certain child-sex crimes. For instance, those like Scholke who are convicted of using a computer to hook up with a minor for sex are to face a presumptive minimum sentence of five years behind bars and five years of extended supervision. The law also boosted the maximum penalty from 25 years in prison to 40 years.

An occasional review of Legislative activity should be on the calendar for Milwaukee's new DA, we hope.

1 comment:

Headless Blogger said...

This could have potentially tragic consequences. The defense attorneys had to know that they were pulling one over on these prosecuters.

The annual education requirement for attorneys would be better spent learning about new laws, rather than how best to structure their retirement benefits, golfing and socializing at a sunny resort.