Turns out La Crosse is not alone in a battle over how to treat those who are accused of breaking the law. In fact, the controversy over judges allegedly being soft on crime has attracted the attention of state lawmakers. La Crosse’s battle between the police and the courts has been a very public one, with top police officials openly criticizing the county court system for repeatedly releasing those accused of sometimes serious crimes. Turns out a similar debate is raging across the state, and now our lawmakers in Madison are considering giving local judges more leeway in dealing with criminal defendants before they go to trial. It is a tricky subject, as our local judges point out. Offenders are by law presumed innocent before they go to trial, and are protected from excessive bail by the United States Constitution. And in Wisconsin, offenders are guaranteed the right to be released before they go to trial. Changes in state law to be considered by a state committee would give local judges more flexibility in ensuring a defendant remains behind bars until trial. Changes wouldn’t be easy and could require a change in the state Constitution. Given the ongoing battle between our police and judicial system, it would be helpful if those who write the laws would offer a little more guidance.