Convoluted Brian

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The Importance of Understanding

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and His Evidence Testing Mess

A recent campaign ad for Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel shows him walking down some steps sans necktie, and shirt collars pulled out. It seems that he was trying to emulate character presentations at the beginning of procedural crime television shows.

The ad goes on to tout his great work in eliminating the backlog of untested rape kits. When Republican J.B. Van Hollen was attorney general (2007-2015), the backlog of DNA testing became an issue. Van Hollen promised the backlog would be solved. In 2014, Van Hollen stated there were still 6,000 untested rape kits. Under Schimel’s watch as Attorney General, there are growing backlogs in testing evidence, including rape kits and other DNA samples.

Schimel, Attorney General since 2015, has this year, 2018, claimed he will solve the testing backlog of rape kits. Simultaneous he has claimed there is no backlog. But, it has taken him until an election year to make an attempt to solve this problem. In 2017, over 6,300 untested rape kits were inventoried by the State Department of Justice.

This year, federal grants were allocated to Wisconsin to address the endemic problems with the backlog. When Schimel was pressed about progress of the grant, it took two weeks for him to speak out. He claimed that the funds were held up because of Wisconsin’s inability to meet requirement which included the massive local storage of untested kits.

In the Van Hollen days that Attorney General touted adding additional technicians to clean up the backlog. And still, there is a lack of DNA technicians. Schimel has complained that it will take two years to hire qualified personnel. So why has there not been a hiring scheme is place to bring additional persons into the lab?

And, Schimel has decided to spend $10,000 for commemorative coins that could be used to help fund testing. In addition, Schimel has been using State resources to join out of state lawsuits that are aimed to help Republican causes. At Governor Scott Walker’s direction, Schimel has filed a lawsuit that will overturn the Affordable Health Care Act while the number low income uninsured in Wisconsin grows. If he were forthright about the testing trouble, he would have used no funds for partisan lawsuits.

To be fair, there have been other issues. The Republican dominated Senate and Assembly have shown little interest in increasing funding to help the State Crime Lab. And local jurisdictions have been lackadaisical about forwarding kits to the state. But, that does not let Schimel off the hook.

Schimel has shown another failing in a 2015 hostage situation that occurred in Neenah, Wisconsin. On 5 December, 2015, Brian Flatoff took several people hostage inside the Eagle Nation Cycles building. During this operation, a hostage was shot and killed by Neenah police. The investigation that followed showed a messy police operation.

When a “Hasty Team” was preparing to enter, the hostage taker told the hostage negotiator that if police entered, he would start shooting. That information did not reach the Hasty Team. This could have avoided the gunshots that followed the entry into the building.

Two officers fell down a flight of stairs after entry to Eagle Nation Cycles by the team. Only one police officer fired his weapon in the building. A bullet hit a fire extinguisher and one member of the entrance team was struck in his helmet by a bullet. There was no determination of who shot first, the source of the bullet that struck the officer, or even if the hostage taker had fired his weapon during this time.

The hostage who was killed was identified early on and that included a description of distinctive clothing he was wearing. Some officers who entered during the hasty operation stated they recognized him. There was also a rather bizarre claim that police felt it was an ambush after hostages took cover during the shooting that took place during the hasty entrance. Apparently, hostages are supposed to remain seated in the area of fire according to this hypothesis.

The officer whose helmet was struck by gunfire was told to leave, but he refused. That officer also shouted to something to stay away from the scene. Other officers who were next to him did not react to anyone on the perimeter, although another further away repeated the injured officers shout. The injured officer was involved in the killing of the hostage.

Brad Schimel concluded that there was no prosecutable offence committed by police and then forgot about the event. This was an opportunity to look at communication failures, poor planning, and disobedience that needed to be addressed. If Schimel cares about innocent victims of police operations, he would have taken action. . If Schimel cares about the safety of police officers in an event like this, he would have taken action. This does not mean blaming the police for the mess. It means not having a mess on reoccurrences. Schimel showed he does not care about improving police performance, police safety, and citizen safely.

This comes back to Brad Schimel’s record on testing rape kits and other crime scene evidence. While the press emphasis is on finding and charging perpetrators, there is also the issue of prosecuting the innocent and freeing the falsely convicted. Of course, Brad Schimel would rather keep innocent people in prison instead of addressing deficiencies in the criminal justice system in Wisconsin.

Here Schimel has demonstrated his desire to keep falsely convicted persons in prison.

Since there is an increasing backlog in testing crime scene evidence, this means some people spend an increasing period of time in jail waiting for results. If an accused cannot afford bail, they stay in jail and are subjected to false testimoney of jailhouse snitches and lack of good leagal aid.

Brad Schimel has had time to develop plans and protocols to deal with submission and testing of evidence. His methods have been to deny that problems exist or blame others for the problems. The result is people suffer.

by Brian McCorkle
posted on 31 October, 2018 at 19:52 pm
in category Criminal Justice,Rants

Brad Schimel waits until an election year to address problems with crime scene evidence analysis.Then his approach is to deny and blame.



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