Saturday State News Briefs: AG Van Hollen files brief on Voter ID caseWisconsin News
-- Wisconsin’s attorney general filed a legal brief this afternoon, in which he tries to prove that it’s not a burden for people to show photo ID’s in order to vote.
MADISON - Wisconsin’s attorney general filed a legal brief this afternoon, in which he tries to prove that it’s not a burden for people to show photo ID’s in order to vote.
J.B. Van Hollen filed a document with the state appeals court in Waukesha, where the state is challenging a ruling from Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan which struck down the ID requirement. Flanagan said the 2011 law impairs the right to vote for more than 300,000 Wisconsinites who don’t have the acceptable ID’s. Van Hollen disagreed, saying that adult residents can get free ID’s, and the state has an interest in preventing voter fraud. But the judge noted that those without birth certificates would have to buy them in order to get the required ID’s. Flanagan was one of two Dane County judges to strike down the voter ID mandate in response to a pair of state lawsuits. The Justice Department is appealing the other case as well. And Van Hollen has asked the Supreme Court to take up both cases now, in an effort to bring back the photo ID requirement for the November elections.
Police shot and wounded a robbery suspect near Mukwonago yesterday afternoon. Waukesha County authorities said the suspect was linked with a bank heist in neighboring Walworth County. It was not immediately known whether the robbery was pulled off. According to several media reports, multiple police agencies were pursuing the robber before the person crashed a vehicle on a rural road. The suspect was taken to a hospital.
It took a Milwaukee County jury less than 90 minutes to find former county supervisor Johnny Thomas not guilty of bribery and misconduct charges. The trial had focused on whether Thomas’ actions in a bribery sting were criminal. Prosecutors said he had accepted $500 cash last December at a coffee shop. Tapes of that conversation and others with a top county official who was pretending to offer campaign donations on behalf of a contractor were played in court. After his acquittal, Thomas said he knew he had done nothing wrong. Jurors say it was apparent Thomas had been set up and wasn’t guilty of the charges.
Child pornography charges filed against a former coach at UW-Eau Claire are leading officials at the Wisconsin school to start an independent investigation. Todd Hoffner coached the Blugold football team for seven seasons. So far, local investigators say they have found no evidence on wrongdoing. Hoffner was put on administrative leave last week from his coaching position at Minnesota State-Mankato. He was arrested when IT workers found videos of the coach’s three children jumping around and dancing naked. Hoffner’s attorney has said there is no evidence the videos are criminal because they didn’t include graphic, abusive or exploitative content. A jury would have to decide whether the footage discovered on the phone was sexually explicit.
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue says it is going to start checking on the state’s roll-your-own tobacco machines again, to see if operators have the permits and tax stamps required on cigarette packages leaving their stores. The enforcement effort actually started last year. It meant the owners of those machines had to pay a higher tax rate on the products they were selling. One tobacco store owner in Wausau sued, arguing the customers of roll-your-own cigarettes actually do the manufacturing themselves. That became moot when President Obama signed federal legislation last month declaring that owners of the machines were manufacturers by definition.
A seventh person has been charged in connection with last month’s shooting death of a Green Bay teenager. Twenty-one year old Celia Holguin of Green Bay made a Brown County Court appearance yesterday. She was charged with two felonies. Fifteen year old Jeremy Teller was killed July 31st on Green Bay’s east side. If convicted, Holguin could be given a life sentence. Six other people also face felony charges in the killing, including 18 year old Julio Gonzalez, the man prosecutors think shot Teller in the back. Holguin is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing next month.