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Jury trials delayed, crime lower in La Crosse County

Brad Williams

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La Crosse County may not be ready to resume jury trials for another couple of months, as measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus remain in place. 

Judge Scott Horne reports to the county criminal justice management council that in-person court appearances in La Crosse County, including trials, have been delayed until at least the second quarter of this year. 

Almost all circuit court business in the county, and around Wisconsin, has been conducted by Zoom throughout the pandemic. 

The first jury trial of the year for La Crosse County could happen during the first week of April, but the health department has to approve.  

Meanwhile, criminal cases in La Crosse County have been on the decline two years in a row.  In a report prepared by the district attorney’s office for the CJMC, the total number of crimes handled by the local courts was 3655 for 2020, an average of 10 cases a day.  

That’s down roughly 500 cases from the year before, and a drop of 1000 cases from 2018. 

The county officially issued 979 felony charges last year, which was down more than 100 from the total in 2019.  Misdemeanors made up the biggest category of local court cases, with 1157 filed during 2020.

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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