STATE CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: Sheboygan man ordered to stand trial on 17 criminal charges
A Sheboygan man has been ordered to stand trial on 17 criminal charges for allegedly torturing his family. At a preliminary hearing yesterday, Police detective Tamara Remington quoted one of Lao Jin’s children as saying that he ruled his house with quote, “terror and threats.” Remington said the 40-year-old Jin punched, whipped, and terrorized his five children, ages 6-to-14 – and the kids were afraid to sleep for fear that they’d be killed. Lin is scheduled to enter pleas next Tuesday to charges that include strangulation-and-suffocation, reckless endangerment, causing mental harm to children, intimidating victims, and possessing a short-barreled shotgun. If there’s not a plea deal, Circuit Judge Timothy Van Akkeren ordered seven separate trials for Jin – one for each child, one for his wife, and a firearms charge that’s not related to the case. Lin was facing 27 charges earlier this week, but 10 were dropped because some might have exceeded the statute-of-limitations. Prosecutor Jennifer Bork plans to re-file those, and possibly some others. She says the case remains under investigation.
A third judge has been named to hear the case of a man charged in Wausau with the death-and-dismemberment of a man from Saint Paul Minnesota. 26-year-old Kou Thao was supposed to have a preliminary hearing today on Marathon County charges of homicide, hiding a corpse, and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. The hearing was called off after a second judge was taken off the case. Prosecutors said Thao drove from Wausau to Milwaukee in April while carrying the severed head of 58-year-old Tong Pao Hang. Other body parts were found in the basement of a Milwaukee house where officers found Thao’s car. Circuit Judge Lamont Jacobson, a former prosecutor, pulled himself from the case. Judge Greg Huber was then appointed, but the defense used its one allowable substitution request. Judge Michael Moran will now hear the case, and the preliminary hearing is set for August seventh. Thao has been in jail since March on a one-million-dollar bond.
A self-help author will be released from prison today, after he served 20 months of a two-year sentence for the deaths of a Wisconsin man and two others in a sweat-lodge ceremony. 40-year-old James Shore of Milwaukee was among James Arthur Ray’s victims. They collapsed in October of 2009 at a “Spiritual Warrior” festival that Ray put on near Sedona Arizona. The sweat lodge was a hot tent where people were told they could experience powerful revelations in their lives. Prosecutors said Ray jacked up the heat too much, and then ignored pleas for help as he watched people get overcome. A jury acquitted him of manslaughter, opting instead for less serious negligent homicide convictions. Ray admitted responsibility for the deaths – but he did not say why he didn’t act as the chaos broke out. One of Shore’s friends, Matt Collins, joined a non-profit group formed by another survivor called “Seek Safely.” It’s designed to prevent future tragedies like the one at the sweat lodge. Survivors’ friends-and-relatives say they don’t want Ray returning to the self-help industry, or profiting from the tragedy. Collins said he hoped Ray re-invented himself in prison.
The Milwaukee police union has asked a judge to stop letting the city ignore a new state law that weakens local residency ordinances. Milwaukee continues to enforce its long-standing requirement that all city employees live in the city. That’s despite a measure in the new state budget which throws out residency requirements, except to make police-and-fire personnel live up to 15 miles away. The lawsuit says Milwaukee has a quote, “perverse belief” that the new state law puts an unconstitutional restraint on the city’s home-rule powers. Union attorney Jonathan Cermele said the city cannot argue that it will suffer injuries by following state law. Union president Michael Crivello and three other officers are listed as plaintiffs. All four said they want to move out of the city, and an unknown number of other officers want to do the same. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he’s not surprised by the action. He said the city’s position is that the issue will be decided by the courts.
A state Senate Democrat says the mining protestors who vandalized Gogebic Taconite’s drilling site did not speak for anyone but themselves. T-V stations have been showing a You-Tube video of the June 11th incident where exploratory drilling began for the proposed iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties. The video showed protestors swearing at mining workers, and making threats. Senator Bob Jauch called the protestors, quote, “idiots.” He said they do not represent quote, “the 99-point-9-9-9-9 percent of the citizens of Wisconsin” who have respect for the rule of law, regardless of their views on mining. Authorities said the protestors vandalized company equipment and stole a worker’s camera. 26-year-old Katie Kloth of Stevens Point is due in Iron County Circuit Court on Monday, after being charged with felony robbery and three misdemeanors. The incident prompted Gogebic Taconite to hire an Arizona firm with military-style security guards. They were temporarily removed on Wednesday, after it was learned that the company did not have a state license – which it’s in the process of getting.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court says the Legislature should pass some type of law that deals with surrogate mother agreements. In the meantime, the court issued a ground-breaking decision yesterday that upholds such agreements. On a unanimous vote, the justices said it’s a valid contract when a woman agrees to give birth for another couple who cannot conceive – except when it’s not in the child’s best interest. The case involved David and Marcia Rosecky of Menomonee Falls. Marcia could not conceive, so the couple agreed to have life-long friend Monica Schissel of Columbus carry the baby with Rosecky’s sperm that was artificially inseminated. A written contract called for Schissel to give up the baby and her parental rights to the Roseckys when the child was born. She changed her mind, and David Rosecky sued for breach-of-contract. At a trial in 2011, a Columbia County judge gave Rosecky sole custody but said Schissel could have the child every other weekend at varying times. The Roseckys appealed. The Supreme Court said the Roseckys have custody and primary placement rights, but Schissel did not lose her birth rights. The case now goes back to the circuit court to review the visitation issue. Appleton attorney Richard Schoenbohm praised the Supreme Court’s ruling. He represents two national groups for parents’ rights in surrogate agreements, and says the ruling removes uncertainty in the law.