State Crime and Court Roundup: Melrose man gets probation for animal mistreatmentWisconsin News
-- A west-central Wisconsin man will spend three years on probation for having malnourished animals in a barn with human comforts like satellite TV.
MELROSE - A west-central Wisconsin man will spend three years on probation for having malnourished animals in a barn with human comforts like satellite TV.
52-year-old Tarry Smithey of Melrose pleaded guilty in Jackson County to misdemeanor animal mistreatment. Prosecutors said he and his wife Renee lived in a barn with 70 neglected animals. Officials said dogs, horses, sheep, goats, mules, and others were given little-or-no water. The barn has no indoor plumbing, but it does have a bed and a computer. A judge ordered the Smitheys to clean up their barn, and give up all but two dogs and two mules. Renee is also charged, and is due in court next month.
A former Milwaukee child care operator has agreed to plead guilty to federal fraud, theft, and conspiracy charges. 34-year-old Latasha Jackson entered into a plea agreement this week. She ran two child care centers that defrauded state and federally-funded programs to care for children of the working poor. Prosecutors say they’ll ask a judge to make Jackson pay $333,000 in restitution. She also faces up to 35 years in prison – but she’s expected to get much less than that under federal sentencing guidelines. A sentencing date has not been set. Jackson’s case was profiled in a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel series that exposed numerous fraud in the Wisconsin Shares program. She received about three-million dollars in tax reimbursements from the state program, while the paper said regulators ignored red flags for a decade about her fraud. In the meantime, Jackson had built a 76-hundred square foot mansion with a Jaguar convertible. Both were destroyed in a fire in late 2009. Investigators called it suspicious, but nobody was ever charged. Jackson has since moved to Texas.
State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser wants to know exactly who’s accusing him of judicial misconduct, and why. The state’s Judicial Commission charged Prosser last week with three counts of violating the ethics code for judges, when he allegedly put a choke-hold on fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley last June. Yesterday, Prosser wrote commission director Jim Alexander – and he asked for the public release of statements he made to the panel. He also wanted the commission to give him the written statements of witnesses, plus a breakdown of the votes that were made in closed sessions on the decision to charge him. Alexander says he’ll get advice from the commission’s attorney before deciding what to do. Prosser has said he was defending himself during his altercation with Bradley. The Supreme Court could eventually be asked to determine if and how Prosser should be punished. But Prosser has said he might ask all of his fellow justices to withdraw from the case. He said all the justices but Pat Crooks witnessed the incident – and he inferred that they were parties to it.
No charges will be filed against a homeowner in Slinger who shot-and-killed a 20-year-old man who ran into an enclosed porch to hide from the police. Washington County District Attorney Mark Bensen said the unidentified homeowner acted in self-defense under Wisconsin’s new “Castle Doctrine” law. It assumes that homeowners are justified when using deadly force against intruders. Bo Morrison of West Bend was among those scampering from a nearby underage drinking party the police raided on March third. Washington County prosecutors said Morrison tucked himself between a dresser and refrigerator in the homeowner’s porch. And when the resident asked him what he was doing there, Morrison stood up, raised a hand, and took a step toward the homeowner – and that’s when the owner shot him in the chest and told his wife to call 911. Authorities said the homeowner was the one who called police about the drinking party – and he had confronted a couple people in car with loud music.