Crime and Court Roundup: Wisconsinites will receive money back if their homes were improperly foreclosedWisconsin News
-- Almost 19-hundred Wisconsinites who had their homes improperly foreclosed upon have received 86-million-dollars by the end of September under a legal settlement.
Almost 19-hundred Wisconsinites who had their homes improperly foreclosed upon have received 86-million-dollars by the end of September under a legal settlement. The State Justice Department said yesterday the benefits are averaging 46-thousand-dollars, as part of a settlement with five banks in a mortgage abuse case. Also, around 500 Wisconsinites are approved for modifications to their mortgages, totaling around 32-million dollars. But Justice spokeswoman Dana Brueck says the numbers are gross figures which are not credited dollar-for-dollar. And therefore, it’s impossible to determine how well the banks are doing in achieving their 20-billion-dollar settlement payments which they promised to make over a three-year period. Still, Attorney General J-B Van Hollen says he’s encouraged by the numbers – and the banks appear to be honoring the settlement agreement. A number of states sued Bank of America, Citi-group, Wells Fargo, J-P Morgan Chase, and Ally-G-M-A-C over mortgage abuses that led to numerous foreclosures between 2008-and-last-year. Residents have until January 18th to make claims. The settlement was announced earlier this year, and Democrats criticized Republican leaders for devoting 25-million dollars of the settlement to help cover the state’s budget deficit.
A judge in Milwaukee will hold a hearing December 21st on a request by a 76-year-old man to have a jury from outside the area hear his murder trial – if his case gets that far. John Spooner is scheduled to go on trial January 14th for allegedly killing a 13-year-old neighbor over guns missing from the man’s home. Spooner’s attorney says news coverage of the case inflamed public sentiment against his client, as shown by comments posted by readers to Internet news stories. Prosecutors said Spooner killed 13-year-old Darius Simmons on May 31st while the teen was taking out his family’s garbage. Spooner has pleaded innocent by insanity. Spooner is white and Simmons was black – and groups that include Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow-PUSH Coalition have asked that Spooner be charged with a hate crime. Also, Milwaukee’s Fire-and-Police Commission said it found problems with the way officers treated the victim’s mother, Patricia Larry, at the shooting scene. Larry has filed a wrongful death suit against Spooner.
An Adams man is due in court this morning on charges that he killed a man and injured several others in a drunken boating crash. 22-year-old Christopher Collins will have the status of his case reviewed in Juneau County Circuit Court. A plea hearing is currently set for December 13th on two felony charges related to homicide by drunk boating, and two misdemeanor counts of causing injury in the same manner. Prosecutors said Collins was driving a boat with four passengers the night of July 21st on Castle Rock Lake when he hit a bridge support which threw his passengers forward. 23-year-old Michael Miklavicic of Friendship died. According to authorities, Collins claimed he heard a warning – and he tried to steer around the bridge support but couldn’t. His blood alcohol level at the time was point-13, over one-and-a-half times the minimum level for intoxication.
A judge in Milwaukee has ordered a mental evaluation for a child molester suspected in the 1970 murder of a nine-year-old neighbor girl. 73-year-old Robert Hill is being held for psychiatric treatment, after he recently finished a prison term for molesting four girls. Prosecutors say they’ve lost evidence in the murder case over the years. So they’re trying to convince the courts to declare Hill as a sexually-violent person – which could allow indefinite confinement under the state’s Chapter 980 mental health law for sex offenders. Yesterday, Circuit Judge David Hansher found probable cause to hold Hill for a psychiatric evaluation. Hill’s attorney said he would seek a trial on a possible confinement. Hill is currently at the Sand Ridge Treatment Center in Mauston. Third-grader Donna Willing was on her way to a bakery to buy bread when she was raped, strangled, and left under a car in a garage. The case went unsolved for almost a quarter-century before the victim’s sister asked police to re-investigate in 2004. Police said he provided details about the crime that only officers knew – but he recanted his confession several years later. Members of Willing’s family attended Hill’s confinement hearing yesterday. Hill took part in the proceedings on a video from Mauston.