The Wisconsin legislature, under intense pressure as the result of the Mark Benson tragedy, recently made some changes to Wisconsin's DUI (or OWI, your choice) laws. They were touted as toughening drunk driving penalties, but the reality isn't nearly as clear. Yes, 4th offenses are now felonies, meaning prison is now a possibility instead of a 1 year jail sentence. However, there really aren't that many 4th offenses anyway, so the effect isn't likely to be that great and judges are not required to impose prison, just permitted to do so. For the much larger category of drunk drivers, the 2nd and 3rd time offenders, the laws are actually likely to result in more lenient sentences.
January 2010 Archives
States everywhere continue to modify their laws to allow for the use of marijuana for medical purposes. What about Wisconsin? Civilization doesn't seem to be crumbling in these other states. While we're at it, why not decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for all of us? Prosecutors complain about not enough resources to charge all the cases that are brought to them. Maybe the answer is to stop bringing them cases that have no business in the criminal justice system. There is considerable disparity in the various Wisconsin counties regarding the prosecution of marijuana cases. Ozaukee County cops bring all marijuana cases into the DA's office because the county has no ordinances prohibiting possession. Just across the county line in Milwaukee County, MPD cops routinely dump small amounts of pot out and send people on their way rather than do the paperwork to even send them to municipal court. Let's end the injustice of uneven prosecution. Decriminalization-the time has come.