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CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: Adams County deputy receives purple heart

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news Ellsworth, 54011
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

An Adams County sheriff's deputy has received a purple heart award from his department. Todd Johnson was shot-and-wounded February 19th when he showed up at a house in Big Flats to look for a missing couple from suburban Milwaukee. A judge had ordered Thomas Costigan of West Allis to stay away from his wife Karen while the two were having marital problems. When they both turned up missing, West Allis Police became concerned for her safety -- and they asked Adams County deputies to check the couple's property at Big Flats. The 55-year-old Costigan fired several shots at officers after they arrived. One bullet hit Johnson, and Costigan then shot himself to death. Johnson was away for almost seven months before he returned on September 11th. Sheriff Sam Wollin and Chief Deputy Terry Fahrenkrug presented Johnson with his purple heart award yesterday. 

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Wisconsinites will have their say today on whether 17-year-old suspects for non-violent crimes should be treated as juveniles instead of adults. The Assembly Criminal Justice Committee will hold public hearing at the Capitol late this morning on a bill to return non-violent 17-year-olds to the juvenile court system. Supporters say it would give them a better chance of getting treatment, instead of just being locked up with older criminals in prison. The bill reverses a 1996 law which charges all 17-year-olds in adult court. Advocacy groups have been trying to repeal the law in recent years without success. The new measure is a compromise in which teens charged with the most serious crimes like homicide and rape could still face adult penalties. The same would be true for repeat offenders. Wisconsin is one of 11 states where defendants under 18 are automatically charged as adults. Attorney General J-B Van Hollen says the system works just fine. Those supporting the change include the state Public Defender's office, the State Bar, and the Wisconsin Catholic Conference.  

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A suburban Milwaukee woman will spend a year in jail and four years on probation for killing a developmentally-disabled man in a traffic crash. 31-year-old Josephine Sardina of Greendale had pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of homicide by negligent driving. She was originally charged with drunken homicide after her S-U-V struck and killed disabled pedestrian David Budge last October in Greenfield. Authorities said Sardina had marijuana in her system, and she was reading a text message around the time she struck the 54-year-old Budge. He was on his way to get training at Easter Seals. Circuit Judge David Borowski also ordered Sardina to perform 500 hours of community service after she leaves the Milwaukee County House of Correction. Sardina apologized for what she did.

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A former insurance agent in La Crosse has agreed to pay over a-million-dollars to settle a civil lawsuit -- but he apparently won't be paying it anytime soon. The Securities-and-Exchange Commission said Jeremy Fisher only had about 95-dollars in all of his bank accounts as of September ninth. The S-E-C sued Fisher after he allegedly sold fraudulent securities to several clients in his Good Life Financial Group between 2009 and last December. Officials said he raised just over a million dollars from 18 investors, which he promised to invest in a trading platform. Once he learned the platform was a scam, the S-E-C said Fisher said he kept 880-thousand dollars for himself -- and he used 166-thousand to pay returns for other investors. Fisher was allowed not to admit or deny the allegations in settling the lawsuit.

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Wisconsin's highest court is hitting the road again. The State Supreme Court will hold a session in Sheboygan today -- the 24th session outside of Madison since 1993. It's part of an outreach initiative to show school students and others throughout the state how the Supreme Court works. Spectators will get to hear arguments in two ground-breaking cases. Both involve the question of whether it's constitutional for police to track down a suspect by obtaining the person's cell phone data without a warrant. Nicolas Subdiaz-Osorio claims that Kenosha Police violated his rights when officers worked with his cell phone provider to track his signal, and arrest him for a murder. The second case also involves the police usage of cell phone signals to find a murder suspect.

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