CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: The John Doe investigation is back on
A John Doe investigation is back on concerning the recall election campaigns of Governor Scott Walker and G-O-P state senators. A three-judge federal appeals panel in Chicago has ordered a stay of Tuesday's injunction by Federal Judge Rudolph Randa which halted the probe. Observers said Randa's ruling was a huge victory for the Republican Walker, who's been dogged by critics as he runs for re-election this fall and possibly for president in 2016. The appellate panel said the John Doe prosecutors can keep the evidence they've gathered over the past two years, saying Randa was premature in ordering that it be destroyed. However, the appeals court said Randa's order could be re-instated if it's shown that a separate appeal from prosecutors was frivolous. That one said the Milwaukee County D-A's office was immune from the lawsuit filed against it by the Wisconsin Club for Growth. That group is a main target of the John Doe probe, which is looking into alleged illegal campaign coordination between outside groups and Republican recall election candidates from 2011-and-'12 -- including Governor Walker. If yesterday's stay is lifted, the court said prosecutors could ask for another one. The Club for Growth is not commenting on the new development. Prosecutors have not commented, either. Meanwhile, Judge Randa agreed yesterday to let five media groups enter the case, as they try to unseal hundreds of pages of court filings. All sides were given a week to file briefs which explain their positions.
Authorities in Oshkosh are considering juvenile delinquency actions against a 12-year-old girl and three teenage boys involved in the trading of lude photos in text messages -- so-called "sexting." Officials at the Valley Christian School called police when they learned about the photos. By the time police met with the youngsters this week, the photos had been deleted from their cell-phones -- but they confessed to the activity, which occurred about three weeks ago. A police official said the girl appeared to be pressured by the three boys when she sent them nude photos of herself. Officials said one of the boys -- ages 14-and-15 -- also sent a nude picture of himself to the girl.
The state Justice Department told a federal appeals court yesterday why it should not let Chippewa Indians hunt deer at night in northern Wisconsin. Six Chippewa tribes failed to convince Federal Judge Barbara Crabb to re-consider her decision from 1991 which banned night hunting in the territory where the Chippewa have had hunting-and-fishing treaty rights for centuries. The tribes asked the Seventh Circuit appeals court in Chicago earlier this year to force Crabb to re-open the matter. Crabb cited the D-N-R's safety concerns in rejecting the night deer hunting. But the Chippewa say it's an excuse that no longer applies, because the state allowed wolf hunters to shoot at night -- and the state has imposed night hunting to protect crops, prevent car-deer collisions, and prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease in the deer herd. Judge Crabb said the night wolf hunting only lasted for one year before lawmakers cut it off. The Justice Department said the state has used night hunting for decades to solve various problems, and nothing has changed. The state's legal brief points out that the general public has not been allowed to hunt deer at night since 1989.
Nine people have been arrested -- including one from central Wisconsin -- as the result of a federal indictment in Denver as part of a crackdown on synthetic drugs. The U-S Attorney for Colorado listed Kenneth Chastain, the owner of the Avalon-on-Fourth store in Marshfield, as among those receiving shipments of "Spice" from other defendants a grand jury indicted yesterday. According to the indictment, John Bowen and Daniel Bernier ran companies in Colorado and Florida which imported chemicals from China that were used to manufacture synthetic drugs sold throughout the U-S. Prosecutors said that for the first time, a smokable version of synthetic pot was discovered. Besides the Wisconsin businessman, wholesalers and retailers from Illinois, Nebraska, and Colorado were arrested. U-S Attorney John Walsh told reporters in Denver that the indictment was the culmination of an eight-month investigation spurred by authorities who took action last summer due to large numbers of users getting sick. Prosecutors said over 220 users of synthetic marijuana went to emergency rooms in the Denver and Colorado Springs areas last August and September -- and at least one death was attributed to "Spice."