Crime and Court Roundup: Milwaukee juror who left to take a vacation won't be happy when she comes backWisconsin News
-- A juror who walked out on deliberations to take a vacation in Cancun probably won’t be happy to come home.
A juror who walked out on deliberations to take a vacation in Cancun probably won’t be happy to come home. Ivana Samardzic of Milwaukee could face sanctions from Circuit Judge J-D Watts. And at the very least, officials say she’ll be thrown right back into the pool of prospective jurors for next month, instead of getting a customary four-year reprieve. Samardzic was part of a jury hearing a reckless injury case last week. After two hours of deliberations, Judge Watts told them to go home and return the next day. But only 11 came back – and Samardzic told a court clerk she was on her way to a vacation in Cancun Mexico. With an agreement from the attorneys, the judge allowed the remaining 11 jurors to proceed. They found Spartacus Outlaw guilty of owning a firearm as a convicted felon – but they could not reach a unanimous verdict on a reckless injury charge, and a mistrial was declared. Judge Watts has ordered Samardzic back into court next Tuesday. Court officials said she probably could have gotten out of hearing the case if she mentioned the vacation at the start. But once a trial begins, the selected jurors must serve for the entire proceedings.
A one-million-dollar bond was set yesterday for an Illinois man suspected of killing a woman and her unborn child in Door County. Authorities said 35-year-old Brian Cooper confessed to killing 21-year-old Alisha Bromfield, who was six-and-a-half months’ pregnant. Officials said Cooper was not the father. Both adults are from Plainfield Illinois. District Attorney Ray Pelrine said the two had worked together for a number of years, and he brought Bromfield to a wedding in Door County over the weekend in the hopes of sparking romance. But the D-A said she wasn’t interested – and he got angry after she rejected his plans to do things together on Sunday. Pelrine told a judge that Cooper strangled the woman at their resort near Sturgeon Bay, and he then had sexual contact before he fell asleep. On Sunday, the D-A said Cooper drove throughout Door County with the idea of drowning – but he called police from a store in Sister Bay, admitted the killings, and was arrested a short time later. Pelrine said he expects charges to be filed by the end of the week. Cooper is due back in court September fifth. Police recommend two counts of homicide, and a charge of third-degree sexual assault.
A state appeals court has refused to give a new trial or a lighter prison sentence to a former Fox Valley teacher who molested a fifth-grade boy. The Third District Appellate Court in Wausau said 29-year-old Daniel Callan must serve his entire 17-year prison sentence for child enticement, and letting a child watch sexual activity. He claimed that what he told police should not have been used against him in court – but the appellate judges disagreed. Callan is a former fifth-grade teacher at Saint Bernadette Elementary School in Menasha. Prosecutors said he used classroom conversations about sex to groom his 10-year-old target for sexual encounters. It happened in 2008. Callan must also spend 18 years under extended supervision once he leaves prison.
The son of the Oak Creek Sikh Temple president who was killed in this month’s shooting spree says he’d like to see hate groups classified as terrorist organizations. Amardeep Kaleka said his family supports a request for a congressional hearing made yesterday by the Sikh Coalition and 150 other groups. They want the U-S Senate’s Judiciary Committee to review federal hate crime laws and the proliferation of hate groups, while the Oak Creek tragedy is fresh in people’s minds. Kaleka’s father Satwant was among six people killed and four wounded when white supremist Wade Michael Page opened fire at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on August fifth. In a letter requesting the hearing, the groups also cited incidents against Muslims in seven other states. They’ve questioned the validity of federal hate crime statistics, since it’s only voluntary for local police to report them. And they’re uncertain whether previous hate crime laws are being adequately enforced. Retiring Wisconsin Senate Democrat Herb Kohl is a member of the Judiciary Committee. A panel aide said Chairman Patrick Leahy has received the letter, and he expects several members to be interested in having a hearing.