A Sparta man convicted of attacking a La Crosse policeman with a screwdriver could be released from state custody next month.
Joseph Smith has been cleared for conditional release, pending a court hearing in La Crosse on July 1.
Smith was ordered to spend 46 years in a state hospital after the stabbing attempt against La Crosse Officer Jon Wenger in March of 2006. He was released briefly in 2010 before being committed again.
Tuesday, Judge Gloria Doyle approved the conditional release of the 38-year-old, after being told that the district attorney’s office is not opposed to a plan where Smith would receive outpatient treatment.
Smith is now being held in the La Crosse County jail because of a shortage of space at Mendota.
He was found to be hallucinating when he stabbed Wenger during a Rose Street traffic stop. Wenger was protected by a bullet proof vest during the attack, and another officer at the scene shot and wounded Smith, who was later charged with attempted murder.