- Associated Press - Sunday, December 7, 2014
GOP lawmakers consider ‘John Doe’ law changes

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Republican lawmakers are considering changes to Wisconsin’s “John Doe” law after two lengthy investigations into Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign.

State Rep. David Craig, a Republican from the Town of Vernon, is leading the effort to write a bill that he says would provide “additional layers of judicial review so we don’t have prosecutions run amok.” Craig said he worries about whether the process adequately protects citizens’ rights to due process, privacy and free speech and against unreasonable searches and seizures, the Wisconsin State Journal (https://bit.ly/1Brd4mphttps://bit.ly/1Brd4mp ) reported.

Wisconsin’s law lays out an often-secretive process in which a prosecutor, supervised by a judge, investigates whether a crime has been committed and if so, by whom - thus the John Doe name.

Prosecutors say John Doe investigations are a valuable mechanism for collecting evidence and compelling testimony when witnesses are reluctant or suspects uncertain. But Tony Cotton, president-elect of the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said a John Doe is “an unchecked process that could be easily manipulated by any prosecutor - inadvertently or intentionally.”

During a John Doe, a prosecutor can subpoena witnesses who are forced to testify or face contempt of court charges. If probable cause is found that a crime was committed, the prosecutor can then issue charges.

Cotton said as a criminal defense attorney, he fears that John Does give too much power to police and prosecutors. During a normal investigation, a police officer can interview people but they’re not required to answer questions unless criminal charges are filed and they are subpoenaed to testify, he said.

“It gives them (police and prosecutors) an enhanced level of power that they don’t have if they just send a cop out to do an interview,” Cotton said. “Prosecutors have the ability to compel somebody to physically come to court.”

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Baby boy dies in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Authorities in Milwaukee are investigating a baby boy’s death as a possible co-sleeping death.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (https://bit.ly/12fgCsFhttps://bit.ly/12fgCsF ) says initial reports indicate the 2-month-old infant was sleeping with his mother and four siblings on an inflatable mattress.

The Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office says the baby was pronounced dead just after 5:30 a.m. Sunday. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Milwaukee police are working with the medical examiner’s office to determine the cause of death.

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, https://www.jsonline.comhttps://www.jsonline.com

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Crews rescue 5 fishermen stranded on lake ice

VILLAGE OF PIPE, Wis. (AP) - Crews have rescued five fishermen who were stranded on Lake Winnebago after a crack developed in the ice.

The Fond du Lac County sheriff’s office says the anglers, ages 16 to 20, became stranded Sunday about a half-mile out from the Village of Pipe when the wind switched and opened the crack.

The fishermen were unable to cross the crack, which had opened to about 50 yards wide.

Rescuers were able to get the fishermen and their gear to safety.

The sheriff’s office says what may appear to be solid, stable ice can open up depending on wind directions.

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Marquette might form own police force

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Marquette University is moving closer to a decision on whether to create its own private police force.

The university began exploring the possibility after the Legislature approved a way for creating a police force for Marquette, similar to those maintained at public schools including the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and UW-Madison.

University officials are now writing a report and recommendations to Marquette President Mike Lovell, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1G4cEA7https://bit.ly/1G4cEA7 ) reported.

A Marquette spokesman said there is no timeline for the recommendations or a decision.

If Marquette decides to proceed, the Jesuit school will need to reach an agreement with either the City of Milwaukee or the state Department of Justice. That last requirement was included in the legislation signed by Gov. Scott Walker in April that authorized Marquette to pursue the idea.

City of Milwaukee officials have been supportive of the proposal, saying it would provide additional resources to help ensure the overall safety of the more than 30 neighborhoods within Milwaukee Police District 3.

Capt. Jason Smith, district commander since 2013, said police have focused on connecting stable neighborhoods and working with private partners such as Harley-Davidson, MillerCoors and Potawatomi Hotel & Casino to accomplish that goal.

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