Mar 6, 2015

Conviction Integrity Unit Needed in Several Wisconsin Counties

Politicians, Police, Prosecutors, Judges the Whole Criminal Justice System Is Bleeding Lives
The career politician Scott Walker has left many victims in his wake.

In 1998 state Rep. Scott Walker (R-Wauwatosa) served as chair of the Assembly Corrections and Courts Committee.

Whether God-sent or not, Walker hit upon the idea the problem with the Wisconsin criminal justice system then was that not enough people were in prison long-enough.

Walker authored the "truth-in-sentencing" law, which was passed in 1998 and took effect in January 2000.

What wasn't known in 1998 is that Walker was a member of the Koch brothers-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that "helped pioneer ... laws ... like mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenders, 'three strikes' laws, and 'truth in sentencing' laws. In 1995 alone, ALEC’s Truth in Sentencing Act (PRWatch) was signed into law in twenty-five states." (Nichols, The Nation)

ALEC also pushed for the privatization of prisons by advocating bills allowing state contracts with for-profit prison corporations. (ALEC Exposed, Prisons)

Four years later in 2002, Walker began his furtive run for the 2006 Republican nominee for Wisconsin governor by ordering the installation of the first of at least two secret email systems in the Milwaukee County Executive's office used by Walker and his aides to secretly campaign from public office. (Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive.

Today, we see the tragic results. "Wisconsin ... has actually invested more in public and private prisons over the last 20 years. The state budget now allots more funding for corrections than it does for higher education. Wisconsin also incarcerates the most black men in the country, and in Milwaukee County, more than half of all black men in their 30s and 40s have served time. In the 53206 Zip Code alone, 62 percent of all men have spent time in an adult correctional facility by age 34. (WUWM)

As governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker announced in December 2013 he would not issue pardons because 1,000s of Wisconsin deserve pardons; yes, Scott Walker said that.

As Walker coyly plays I'm-the-gonna-run-for-president game, the real POTUS released the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing Includes Recommendations to Protect the Innocent. See also Remarks by the President after Meeting with Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

In December, the Center for Prosecutor Integrity issued a white paper, Conviction Integrity Units: Vanguard of Criminal Justice Reform. Other white papers include: An Epidemic of Prosecutor Misconduct.

As Texas drools over killing another innocent man, Rodney Reed, and a rare stay of [cold-blooded] execution was granted, the All In with Chris Hayes Show featured a spectacular segment last night on Mr. Reed's story.

In Wisconsin, we also have the spectacle of a volatile District Attorney, Martin Lipske, of Iron County running interference for sex trafficking of minors, and often using the Felony Bailjumping charge indiscriminately and maliciously in revoking bail and in one recent case quite possibly driving another innocent man to death with unsubstantiated charges, literally killing him with stress and betrayal.

We need a Conviction Integrity Unit in several Wisconsin counties including Iron, Milwaukee, and Dane Counties.

Every case involving former Dane County Sheriff's deputy's Andrew Steele should be reexamined, for example.

If misconduct or an inadequate basis for conviction is found, the wrongfully convicted should be ordered released. Just ask Penny Brummer, an innocent woman still behind bars.

All In America: The 11th Hour

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