Crime and Court Roundup: Waterloo man sentenced to prison for drug possessionWisconsin News
-- A southern Wisconsin man has been sentenced to seven years in a federal prison, after he admitted possessing almost 40 pounds of drugs.
A southern Wisconsin man has been sentenced to seven years in a federal prison, after he admitted possessing almost 40 pounds of drugs. 33-year-old Chad Ruenger of Waterloo was arrested in May, when he was caught with 35 pounds of marijuana, three pounds of hashish, and three handguns. He pleaded guilty in October to federal charges of possessing marijuana with the intent to sell, and possessing firearms while drug trafficking. In a related case, 27-year-old Josh Campbell of Madison will be sentenced next month after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute pot. Three men from Fairfax California are scheduled to go on trial in late March on drug possession and conspiracy charges in the same sales ring.
We could find out today whether same-sex couples in Wisconsin will continue to have dozens of legal rights. The state’s Fourth District Appeals Court in Madison is scheduled to rule on a challenge to the state’s domestic partner registry. The Wisconsin Family Action group says the registry violates the state’s constitutional ban against gay marriage and civil unions. It was formed in 2009, and a circuit judge in Madison ruled last year that it’s constitutional. The registry allows same-sex couples to receive up to one-fifth of the nearly 200 benefits that married couples get in the Badger State. That includes the right for partners to visit each other in hospitals – and to make end-of-life decisions. The case has been kicked around the courts ever since the domestic partner registry took effect – and before. The Family Action group first asked the Supreme Court to strike it down before it could take effect. But the justices said the group had to use the normal channels of going to the circuit court first. After the law was upheld there, Family Action appealed the ruling to the Madison appellate panel – which refused to rule on it, and kicked it upstairs to the Supreme Court. The justices said the appellate court had to make a ruling, and that’s what we expect today, weather permitting.
Governor Scott Walker says domestic abuse suspects who are under restraining orders should be placed on G-P-S monitors, so victims can know if their abusers are close by. Walker tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he’s still working on the proposal – and it might be included in the next state budget he’ll submit to the Legislature in February. The governor is under pressure to support gun law changes in response to last week’s school massacre in Newtown Connecticut. But Walker says he wants to wait until more is known about the causes of that tragedy – and he wants to see what President Obama asks Congress to approve. Obama has said he would spell out of his gun control measures in the next few weeks. In the meantime, Walker says he’ll address reforms that could avoid a repeat of the Sikh Temple shootings in Oak Creek by white supremist Wade Michael Page – and the October murders of three women in a Brookfield spa by one of the victims’ estranged husband. Walker said he’s cautious to say that any reforms would prevent any violence because quote, “nothing’s fool-proof.” But Brookfield gunman Radcliffe Haughton was under a restraining order at the time of the slayings. And if he had worn a G-P-S bracelet, Walker said his wife could have known he was coming. Earlier this year, Walker signed a law letting judges put violators of restraining orders on G-P-S if they’re found to be likely to cause harm to the person who sought the order. That law takes full effect in 2014.