- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Judge throw out Wis. Capitol protest case

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A judge has struck down permit rules being used to prosecute outstanding tickets against Wisconsin Capitol protesters.

A Dane County judge Wednesday dismissed a ticket against Michael Crute.

The judge found state rules requiring small groups of protesters in the statehouse to obtain a permit were unconstitutional.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1fvZEqGhttps://bit.ly/1fvZEqG ) reports the ruling has a limited effect because of a settlement in a prior case.

To settle a federal free speech lawsuit, Gov. Scott Walker’s administration agreed in October to pay more than $88,000 in attorneys fees and drop its requirement that larger groups protesting in the Capitol receive a permit.

However, the administration and the Wisconsin Department of Justice have continued to pursue outstanding citations issued before the settlement.

The state Justice Department is reviewing the ruling.


No verdict yet in Wis. doctor’s assault trial

SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) - Jurors have deliberated a second day without reaching a verdict in the trial of an Eau Claire pediatrician accused of sexually assaulting male patients during medical exams.

The jury of eight men and four women deliberated for 10 hours Wednesday before asking the judge if they could go home for the day.

The Leader-Telegram reports Judge Michael Schumacher dismissed jurors and instructed them to return to their deliberations at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

Jurors got the case of Dr. David Van de Loo on Tuesday and deliberated two hours on the first day.

Van de Loo is facing 16 charges that include multiple child sex assault counts. He maintains there were legitimate medical reasons for the exams.

The trial was moved from Eau Claire to Superior because of pre-trial publicity.



Mystery surrounds theft of Stradivarius violin

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Violin virtuoso Frank Almond was walking to his car after an evening performance at the Wisconsin Lutheran College when someone jumped out of a van, shocked him with a stun gun and seized the rare and extremely valuable Stradivarius on loan to him.

The robber got back into the waiting vehicle, which sped off.

Almond, who had been knocked to the ground, wasn’t seriously hurt. But he was devastated by the loss of the violin, which was crafted in 1715 and has been appraised for insurance purposes at $5 million.

The brazen Jan. 27 crime set off a frantic search and raised questions about why someone would steal an item that would be nearly impossible to sell. Would-be buyers in the tiny market for rare violins would certainly know it was stolen, and keeping it in hiding would mean never getting to show it off.

The case in which Almond kept the instrument was found, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra announced someone was offering $100,000 for the instrument’s safe return. But there weren’t any breaks in the robbery until this week, when prosecutors confirmed Wednesday that three people had been arrested in connection with the theft.

However, Police Chief Ed Flynn said at an afternoon news conference that authorities haven’t recovered the violin, and he hoped the reward would induce the public to come forward with tips.

“It’s a reasonable supposition that it’s still in our jurisdiction,” Flynn said. He declined to go into detail.


Wis. DOJ charges man with state loan fraud

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Wisconsin Department of Justice has accused a Racine business executive of misusing a loan from the now-defunct state Department of Commerce.

Abimael Gutierrez, president of Milwaukee Ironworks LLC, faces felony counts of theft by false representation and illegally transferring property.

According to a criminal complaint, the Commerce Department gave Gutierrez nearly $83,000 in loans in 2010 so he could purchase equipment. But investigators say he never used $28,000 that was supposed to go for a crane and four other pieces of equipment worth a combined $38,770 that he did buy are missing.

Court records indicate the charges were filed Jan. 30 but didn’t list an attorney for him. A call to Milwaukee Ironworks met with a busy signal. No residential listing for him could be found.

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