Wheeler News Service - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - Afternoon State News #2
Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com
Here are the headlines:
The State Supreme Court gets a grade of "F" for its disclosure requirements by justices when they have potential conflicts-of-interest in their cases...
A Milwaukee federal judge sentences a man to five years in prison for helping run a Jamaican lottery scam...
A Waukesha man is charged in the traffic death of a motorcyclist.
Here are the details:
The Wisconsin Supreme Court receiving a failing grade today for disclosure requirements by justices in cases where they might have conflicts-of-interest. A total of 43 states received grades of "F" by the Center for Public Integrity. California and Maryland had the highest grades of "C." Six other states got "D's." Actually, Wisconsin ranked 14th among what the center calls a dismal lot. The federal court system had a better grade than all the states. It was given a "B" for its conflict disclosure requirements. The report noted that Wisconsin justices faced ethics charges in recent years. Annette Ziegler was reprimanded for her involvement in a 2008 case as a Washington County judge, involving a bank in which her husband was a board member. The report also said Justice Ann Walsh Bradley took part in a case in 2011 involving Nestle U-S-A, when she owned at least five-thousand dollars in the company's stock. Bradley ruled against Nestle in that matter. Justices David Prosser and Michael Gableman have also faced ethics allegations in recent years. They and Bradley were not punished by their colleagues.
A federal judge in Milwaukee sentenced a man to five years in prison today, for helping run a lottery scam based in Jamaica. 28-year-old O'Brain Junior Lynch struck a plea deal in June, in which he admitted stealing at least 35-thousand dollars from over 50 people -- including a man from the Milwaukee suburb of Glendale. The man told Federal Judge J-P Stadtmueller how he and his family lost over 116-thousand dollars in the scam. Lynch convinced the victim that he won over five-million dollars plus two cars in the Jamaican Lottery, and the defendant kept pressuring Lynch to pay thousands in feeds to get a prize that was promised for a long time but never came. The man said he cashed out his life insurance, took a loan against his car, sold guns, and borrowed from a relative to pay Lynch. Defense lawyer Daniel Meylink said Lynch was a cab driver in Montego Bay when he was recruited to make what he called "easy money" to help his family -- and Lynch assumed he was pulling off a victimless crime.
A half-million-dollar bond has been set for a Waukesha man accused of driving with a suspended license while causing a crash that killed a motorcyclist. 23-year-old Edi Gomez is due back in court next Tuesday to have his case reviewed. Prosecutors said Gomez was late for work on October 11th when he passed a motorcycle on the right, then lost control and struck the bike. The motorcyclist, 58-year-old James Solveson of Waukesha, was thrown from his bike. Officials said his helmet came off, and his head struck a metal pole. The S-U-V driven by Gomez flipped over three times. At first, authorities said Gomez claimed the motorcycle tried passing him -- but he came clean when witnesses said otherwise. Officials said Gomez admitted tailgating, and he knew his license was suspended at the time. He's charged with negligent homicide, and causing death while driving under suspension.