by Benjamin Yount
There are new calls from Republican lawmakers to get tougher on bail in the state.
Rep. Cindi Duchow, R-Pewaukee, on Wednesday said the charges against some of the suspects from last Friday’s mass shooting in downtown Milwaukee show more soft-on-crime failures by District Attorney John Chisholm.
“The charges filed in the aftermath of last week’s shootings highlight the ineptitude of failed D.A. John Chisholm and the Milwaukee County judicial system,” Duchow said.
She is pointing to two cases in particular.
Prosecutors on Wednesday charged 28-year-old Otis Green with felony firearm possession and felony bail jumping for his role in Friday’s shooting that left 16 people wounded. Duchow says Green had a pending illegal gun possession case last summer and was freed on $1,500 bond at the time of Friday’s shooting.
Another suspect, 20-year-old Jeremiah Fraylon is looking at carrying a concealed weapon and bail jumping charges for Friday’s mass shooting. Duchow said he had a pending misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct case related to domestic violence. He also had an open warrant for his arrest on Friday.
“People accused of a violent crime just have to sign a piece of paper promising to come back to court. And when they fail to come back to court, law enforcement agencies do not have the time and resources to find them. The cruelest hypocrisy of all is when the charges relate to gun crimes, those are the first charges dismissed as part of a plea agreement. What good would it do for the legislature to pass even tougher gun crime laws? They’ll just be dismissed as part of a plea agreement,” Duchow added.
Prosecutors added charges against three other suspects in Friday’s shooting on Wednesday as well. Two of the men, 24-year-old Marquise Jackson and 23-year-old Christopher Murry had open warrants on the night of the shooting.
More charges are expected against more suspects as police and prosecutors review the evidence in the case.
“The excuse legislators hear is that the Wisconsin Constitution limits the authority of judges and court commissioners to set bail for anything more than assuring the defendant’s appearance in court,” Duchow said. “I’m committed to seeing [the constitutional amendment] that lets judges consider past convictions for violent crime when setting bail become a part of the state constitution. It’s reasonable to set high bail when a violent offender continues to commit violent crimes.”
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Benjamin Yount is a contributor to The Center Square.
Photo “Cindi Duchow” by Representative Cindi Duchow. Background Photo “Wisconsin State Capitol” by Vijay Kumar Koulampet. CC BY-SA 3.0.