Every August 1st, in Milwaukee County and the other more populated counties where judges have only one type of case to deal with at a time, judges are reassigned to other types of cases to help keep them up to speed on all areas of the law. For example, if a judge has been hearing only juvenile cases for the last year or more, he may transfer to family court or adult criminal court to hear different kinds of cases. If a criminal defendant's case is on-going at the time of a change in judges, he may get a different judge on his case after August 1. If he doesn't like the judge assigned to his case, this can be good news. Perhaps the new judge will be a better choice. Of course, if the judge you have is perceived to be better than average, you may be sad to see him or her go. Sometimes there can be some strategy involved at this time of year. Your lawyer can try to speed your case up to get it resolved before the rotation, if you want your judge to be your sentencing judge. However, if you and your attorney think the next judge may be a better choice, there are sometimes ways to drag a case out to take advantage of the upcoming change in judges. If you have a case going on, be sure to discuss with your attorney the implications of the upcoming judicial rotation. If you don't have a lawyer and you think this issue may affect your case, feel free to contact us at reddinandsinger.com.
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.
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.
Looking at maybe going to jail in Wisconsin? Sometimes there's no way to actually win the case and all you can do is try to minimize the damage. Why do some lawyers' clients do better than others when the judgment day rolls around? Here's some tips.