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As I See It

Our courts don’t need more bureaucracy



We all want to be safe in the community where we live. A bill now before the Wisconsin Legislature is an attempt to do help keep our streets safer. But such legislation isn’t necessary. A Senate committee this week took testimony on a proposal to make it harder for prosecutors to drop criminal charges in many types of cases. It would require prosecutors to get approval from a judge or court if they want to dismiss, or even amend, seven types of cases ranging from domestic abuse to car theft. Backers say it will hold prosecutors accountable, and reduce the rotating door of the same criminals offending over and over. That is a laudable goal, but this bill would not accomplish that. Judges already have the authority to reject proposed plea deals. There are many reasons for prosecutors to drop criminal charges, chief among them that the suspect is innocent, or that the prosecutor doesn’t feel they can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The legislation also would prohibit deferred prosecution agreements in many cases. Deferred prosecution forces an offender to agree to certain conditions, like drug testing or community service as a way to avoid prosecution. If passed, this legislation would further clog our courts, and add another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy.

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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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sunbeam

    August 24, 2023 at 2:19 pm

    So who appointed the prosecutors to act as judges? Let the judges, judge.

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