Monday, June 2, 2014

David Clarke - Smacked down!

Now we see why Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke doesn't do a lot of in-person debates, because it requires a countering opinion to be heard. Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm gave him some of that feedback today, after Clarke shot his mouth off last week complaining about the DA's office making plea agreements with criminals who end up back on the street and later commit crimes. As part of Clarke's pose job, he asked that that the DA's office stop making plea agreements and deferred prosecutions with people accused of violent crimes. What follows is a smackdown of a massive order. Here's a taste.
The suggestion that we suspend all plea negotations in (murder) cases is legally, ethically and practically irresponsible. It would lead to the permanent loss of witnesses and evidence. Please negotiations often allow us to assure the lengthy incapactiation of violent offenders, and the loss of that practive would instead result in these individuals' being freed in the community because backed-up court documents violate defendants' speedy trial rights. You were here in the early 1990s when this was a reality. Police budgets on homicide cases alone would be decimated, and we would have to pull detectives and officers off the streets to sit in court for weeks, even when the defendant is willing to plead the charge. Unforutantely, criminals and crime do not stop to wait for a jury verdict. Despite the rhetoric coming from certain law enforcement officials about "plea bargaining," the same officials privately complain to me that the cannot afford to have their officers and detectives in court trying cases, testifying in motions and preliminary hearings, and also do the work necessary to follow up on these most serious of offenses and investigate the new ones. In recent years, we have seen a serious decline in clearance by charged offense in homicides,and this is often attributed to a lack of investigative resources.

I know this does not affect you. Your agency does not investigate homicides, nor does it have the capacity to do so after long years of neglect at your hands. Nevertheless, such measures would directly detriment the budgets of every major police department in the county, which do investigate and help us prosecute violent offenders.
And just in case you didn't get the message the first time, Sheriff Clarke, here it is when it comes to prosecuting sexually violent criminals.
....The suggestion on your part would have the practical effect of telling my prosecutors not to consult with victims on their desires related to the case, and would demand that they try every case without consideration of the best interest of the victim and community. That would be a travesty. Again, the dockets would be backed up for three to four years, violent sex offenders would be released, and victims would stop being cooperative. You talk about cruel experiments. Your proposal would result in a cruel reality.

You should know this from your time as an administator in the Milwaukee Police Department, but again, your office does not investigate these cases nor does it have the skills to do so after years of neglect at your hands.
Now I'm sure Clarke will whine on the Sykes and Belling shows in the coming days about how Chisholm is being a big meanie, but Chisholm's facts behind this smackdown illustrate a bigger point. It's easy to talk big when you're on talk radio and in the right-wing bubble, but it FAILS MISERABLY in the day-to-day reality.

And this letter from Chisholm tells me that maybe he does have this John Doe thing under control. I thought he had wimped out under pressure when he decided against charging Scott Walker for what seemed to be approval of crimes committed as Milwaukee County Executive, but maybe catching Walker led to bigger fish, and they're all getting reeled in. Us in the world of decency can only hope.

In the meantime, read this letter again. Cause it's pretty damn cool to see that blowhard a-hole David Clarke finally get the first of what I wish is numerous smackdowns for the way he has besmirched the job of Milwaukee County Sheriff.

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