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Plenty of crime down in La Crosse County because of virus

Brad Williams

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La Crosse County has had cases of murder, shootings, and drug busts as usual during the coronavirus shutdown, but minor crimes have dropped off, and the jail population is down to about half its normal level. 

District attorney Tim Gruenke tells the county criminal justice committee that he’s been getting odd calls about what’s allowed under quarantine rules, inquiring about which businesses are supposed to be open.    

Gruenke says one type of crime directly linked to the pandemic is robbers trying to steal other people’s government stimulus checks.  

He also says drug use appears to be up, with three overdose deaths in the last week. 

Gruenke says the county will attempt to avoid jury trials in the next few months, unless they absolutely have to hold one to obey “speedy trial” laws.    

It may take a while for the courts in La Crosse County to return to normal, once COVID-19 passes, because county court officials are working on ways to have jury trials that include social distancing.  

Gruenke serves on a statewide task force studying the coronavirus effects on Wisconsin courts.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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