State Crime and Court Roundup: 'Huffed' driving is not drunk drivingWisconsin News
-- “Huffed” driving is not drunk driving.
APPLETON- “Huffed” driving is not drunk driving. That’s what a state appeals court ruled yesterday, when it upheld the dismissal of an OWI charge against an Appleton woman.
Fourty Marilyn Torbeck was arrested after doctors learned that she inhaled an aerosol to get high in a practice known as “huffing.” Authorities said she almost hit a mini-van before driving her car into a ditch in Oshkosh last year. A blood test found the aerosol chemical DFE in her system. But Winnebago County Circuit Judge Karen Seifert ruled that DFE is not a legal intoxicant, so she threw out the driving-while-intoxicated charge against Torbeck. The Second District Appellate Court agreed, noting that DFE is not officially a controlled substance under state-or-federal laws. The court also noted the definition of “intoxicate” as being excited or stupefied by alcohol or drugs – and DFE is not a drug. And the appellate judges said Torbeck could have been cited for reckless driving instead. Winnebago County District Attorney Christian Gossett argued that DFE causes a reduction in muscle control and euphoria And he said a state chemist concluded that it causes a “marked impairment” for driving. Gossett also said the ruling goes against the intent of Wisconsin’s OWI laws by not protecting other drivers from huffers.
A 16-year-old boy will be charged as an adult for allegedly shooting a seven-year-old girl in the back with an arrow in Campbellsport. Fond du Lac County Circuit Judge Dale English ruled yesterday that it’s not in the public’s best interest to keep the case in juvenile court. The boy told police that he and a friend were shooting at a squirrel in May when they heard a girl scream – and he was afraid to come forward. Aryanna Schneeberg of Campbellsport was walking when she was hit by the arrow. She needed surgery after injuring her lung, diaphragm, spleen, liver, and stomach. The boy’s attorney, Mary Wolfe, said the case should stay in juvenile court because her client did not mean to hurt Aryanna – and he’s had counseling. But prosecutors said a juvenile conviction would only give the boy two years of supervision, and it would not be long enough to make him pay adequate restitution for the girl’s medical expenses. Fond du Lac County District Attorney Dan Kaminsky said he would not recommend prison time for the boy – he wants to make sure the victim’s paid back. Her mother Laura told the judge yesterday that Aryanna has woken up with nightmares following the incident – and she’s scared to go out by herself.
A federal grand jury has indicted a Madison man who’s accused of making over 100 telephone threats to the Wisconsin Democratic Party headquarters. 61-year-old William Diederich was arrested in May in northern Wisconsin. He was charged by prosecutors with using a telephone to threaten property damage, death, or injuries by explosives. The grand jury confirmed the charge in the indictment it handed down yesterday. Authorities said Diederich threatened to blow up the Democrats’ offices, shoot at Democrats walking on Madison’s Capitol Square, and shoot anyone who ran in the recall election against Governor Scott Walker. Officials said Diederich made over 100 calls to the Democrats’ Madison headquarters from January through May, during the campaign to recall the Republican governor.
Fourteen men could be deported from the U.S. after they were arrested in Milwaukee in a crackdown on foreign-born gang members. Immigration officials said 13 Mexican nationals were taken into custody for being members or associates of Milwaukee’s “Mexican Posse” street gang. A man from the Dominican Republic was also arrested. He’s been charged with illegally re-entering the U.S. after he was deported once before. Authorities say all 14 suspects have U.S. criminal histories that include convictions for drug trafficking, criminal damage, and theft. The U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency conducted this week’s sweep, with help from Milwaukee, Greenfield, and Greendale police officers.
Several people are under arrest for the shooting death of a 15-year-old boy in Green Bay. Police were told that a home in nearby Oneida might have been connected with the incident – and officers executed a search warrant there last night. Jeremy Teller was killed near his aunt’s house late Tuesday night. His father Joseph said an unknown man asked Jeremy if someone named Chris lived upstairs – and when Jeremy said yes, the man shot him twice in the back. He died a short time later at a Green Bay hospital. Nobody else was hurt in the incident. Jeremy Teller would have been a freshman this fall at Green Bay Preble High School. And as part of a Native American ritual, a fire is burning in his honor in the back yard of his grandmother’s house. Joseph Teller says it represents the boy’s journey into the spiritual world – and his loved ones will watch the fire to make sure it stays lit for four days.
A child abuse case near Lake Geneva has drawn international attention. Martin and Kathleen O’Brien were charged in May with severely abusing their six adopted children. Three came from Russia, which announced this week that it’s tightening its adoption rules for U.S. citizens after 19 Russian kids died in American homes over the last decade. A Russian TV network is covering the O’Briens’ court case in Walworth County. The couple is charged with almost two dozen counts of felony child abuse and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. According to authorities, the O’Briens – both 49 – made their adopted children stand naked while the couple and their four biological children ate dinner. An 18-year-old told police that the adopted kids were often punished by being locked in a room together for days – and they were also ordered to stand barefoot in snow, kneel on sharp rocks, and stand in a dog pen with feces. If one child did something wrong, all six were reportedly punished. Officials were also told they could not go to school, read books, use the family pool, or be in the house on summer days. Last August, Walworth County took custody of five of the adopted youngsters, including all three from Russia. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said the county did not file a report with the state about the case until the paper asked state officials about it. And the county has yet to file a required follow-up report. Both O’Briens have been ordered to stand trial. They recently asked for a new judge, and have yet to enter pleas. Both are free on signature bonds.