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As I See It

Don’t like the job our judges are doing? Do something about it



When it comes to police and the courts, it seems nearly everyone is taking sides in La Crosse. Some argue that judges in La Crosse’s circuit courts are coddling criminals. Police are fueling the argument, tired of arresting the same bad guys over and over, only to have them given a break by the courts, and have them end up back on the streets. It is frustrating to see the same frequent fliers clog up our courts, but it really isn’t that simple. We often hear only some details of the case, while judges are required to consider every piece of evidence. Judges are bound by state sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors often work out plea deals, or diversion agreements with defendants, in an effort to give them a chance for reform, and to keep our already crowded jail from getting more crowded. And there is no evidence that La Crosse’s judges are any softer or harder on crime than judges in any other Wisconsin county. But there is an answer for those frustrated with our local system of justice. Run for judge. Or encourage others to run. Our judges most often run unopposed, leaving voters only one choice on election day. If you don’t like the job La Crosse’s judges are doing then do something about it. You do the job. But be ready for people to judge your every decision.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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