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Milwaukee pardons lawyerBy Bri Meyer and Jason Findling

With Governor Tony Evers in office, many people in Wisconsin are excited that pardons will be available once again. Unfortunately, the process of granting pardons to Wisconsin residents has gotten off to a slow start. Governor Evers, who promised during the campaign to issue pardons, said that he is “disappointed” that his administration has not set up the Pardon Advisory Board nearly four months into his term.

The Pardon Advisory Board will be made up of about 15 people who will review applications from felons and make recommendations to the governor. Gov. Evers said that he has a team of three lawyers who are working to revive the pardons review board and is hopeful that the Pardon Advisory Board will be operational by summer. Evers explained that his lawyers have not had enough time to resolve this pardon issue because they have been busy focusing on legal challenges to the lame-duck legislative session Republicans started in December.

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Milwaukee, WI criminal record expungement lawyerBy Bri Meyer and Jason Findling

After receiving overwhelming support from both Republicans and Democrats, Wisconsin lawmakers have continued to push for legislation that would allow more people to seek expungement. The bill is called the “Pathways to Employment,” a title that illustrates the purpose behind the proposed law: to help former non-violent offenders transition from prison into the workforce. The Pathways to Employment bill is designed to provide persons convicted of lower-level crimes with a second chance at life and also seeks to reduce Wisconsin’s labor shortage.

Expungement involves a person petitioning to have his or her criminal convictions expunged, or cleared from the public court record. Because a criminal record can hinder a person’s ability to secure housing, employment, financial aid, and other opportunities that require a background check, this new expungement law truly provides people with a second chance. Since the Pathways to Employment bill passed at the committee level with bipartisan support in both chambers, supporters believe that this bill will soon become law. A full vote to determine whether this expungement bill will become law is scheduled to take place in May. 

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Milwaukee, WI pardon application attorneyThe news that pardons will once again be granted in Wisconsin has gotten out, and pardon applications have begun rolling in. It is expected that once the Pardon Advisory Board is fully filled, even more pardon requests will be received by the state. 

The Pardon Advisory Board reviews pardon applications and makes recommendations to the Governor. Some of those seeking pardons ask for commutation of a sentence, while others have served their sentences and want to receive a pardon in order to be able to move on with their lives. Pardons typically restore all civil rights that were affected by the conviction, such as the right to vote, serve on a jury, possess a firearm, hold certain professional licenses, and run for office. 

Why Are Pardons Now an Option?

The new Wisconsin governor, Tony Evers, has recently announced that his office will entertain pardon requests. The prior governor, Scott Walker, had placed a moratorium on considering any pardons. 

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Milwaukee, WI mail fraud defense attorneyIn March 2019, a college admissions cheating scandal made headlines nationwide. According to prosecutors, wealthy parents of children seeking admission to some of the country’s top schools used the services of a man who would either bribe college employees or would help students cheat on standardized tests.

The college admissions scam is thought to be the biggest one ever prosecuted in this country. The FBI alleges that some of the accused parents spent between $200,000 and $6.5 million to get their children into select universities. Schools such as Yale, the University of Southern California, Georgetown, and Stanford are alleged to have unknowingly accepted students as part of this illegal scheme.  

The scam’s architect, William Rick Singer, has already pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and obstruction of justice. 

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Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer pardonsBy Ray Dall’Osto and Steve McGaver

Governor Scott Walker lost the November 6 gubernatorial election to Democrat Tony Evers. With the change in leadership in January 2019, hopefully there will come a change in priorities and policies in Wisconsin. One area that is expected to change is how pardons are handled. It is hoped that governor-elect Evers may reverse the current Walker policy of no pardons and no reviews and grant pardons to those he deems meritorious. 

Scott Walker was elected in 2010, and he has held office from 2011 through January 2019. He is the first governor in the State of Wisconsin’s history since 1848 to categorically refuse to exercise the state constitutional prerogative to consider or grant pardons or commutation, no matter how worthy a pardon applicant might be of getting such.

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Milwaukee criminal defense lawyerBy Raymond Dall’Osto and Christopher Strohbehn

After working in the Wisconsin criminal justice field for the past 40 years, I have learned a great deal. For one, the populations of state and federal prisons have increased from 250,000 to 1,500,000 during that time, even though the overall crime rate has decreased substantially. In 2010, there were 186,000 inmates in federal prisons, 98,000 of whom were incarcerated for drug crimes. When I began practicing law, the state of Wisconsin had fewer than 4,000 inmates in prison, but the number of inmates is now more than 20,000. Even though the crime rate has decreased, the U.S. continues to lead the world in the rate of people who are incarcerated. Many of us wonder how our society has reached this point and what can be done to fix the problem.

Harsh mandatory minimum sentence laws, increased sentence structures for felony offenses, and longer sentences being imposed by judges have all led to over-incarceration. Additional factors include the unavailability of parole or the elimination of programs providing early release for prisoners with good behavior or who have successfully completed treatment.

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Milwaukee criminal justice attorneyBy Ray Dall’Osto

After laboring in the criminal justice field in Wisconsin for forty years, what have I learned? First, that the state and federal prison populations have grown from 250,000 to 1,500,000 in that time period, yet overall, crime rates are substantially down. Of the 186,000 federal prison inmates in 2010, 98,000 were in prison for drug offenses. When I first started to practice, there were less than 4,000 prison inmates in Wisconsin, and now that number is consistently over 20,000. While crime rates have gone down, the United States remains the world leader in rates of incarceration. What is wrong with this picture? How have we as a society ended up here? What can be done?

Harsh sentencing laws such as mandatory minimums, sharp increases in felony sentence structures, and judges handing down longer prison sentences, combined with the elimination of parole and early release programs for good behavior and successful treatment completion, has created this over-incarceration morass. 

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I Was Arrested and Charged with a Crime: What Happens Next?

Milwaukee, WI criminal charges defense attorneyThe criminal justice system in Wisconsin is complex, and those facing criminal charges may struggle to understand the processes that will be followed, the legal requirements that must be met, and the steps that should be taken. If you are arrested and charged with a crime, you should be aware of how your case will move through the courts and the proper measures you should take to protect your rights and achieve a positive outcome.

The Wisconsin Criminal Process

A criminal case in the state of Wisconsin will typically follow these steps:

  1. Arrest - If law enforcement officers have probable cause to believe you have committed a crime, they can arrest you and take you into custody. When arrested, you will be informed of your Miranda Rights, which state that you have the right to remain silent and the right to be represented by an attorney. In most cases, it is best to ask to speak to an attorney before answering any questions that police officers ask following an arrest.
  2. Initial court appearance - In your first court appearance, you will receive a copy of the criminal complaint against you, and a bail amount will be set by a judge. If you pay this amount, you will be released while the case continues to move forward through the courts. In misdemeanor cases, you can enter a plea during the initial appearance; however, in felony cases, a preliminary hearing must first be held.
  3. Preliminary hearing - During this hearing, the prosecution will present evidence to demonstrate that there is probable cause to charge you with the crime. If the judge determines that there is no probable cause, the case may be dismissed. You can waive your right to a preliminary hearing if you wish to proceed directly to arraignment.
  4. Arraignment - At this hearing, the criminal charges against you will be formally presented and you can enter a plea. If you plead guilty or no contest, the case will proceed to sentencing. If you plead not guilty, then the case will go to trial.
  5. Pre-trial hearings - Hearings may be held prior to the beginning of the trial in which the prosecution or defense may ask the judge to make decisions about a variety of issues, such as what evidence can be presented or what types of arguments can be made. 
  6. Trial - A trial will be held before a jury and both sides will present evidence, call witnesses, and make arguments. The jury will reach a verdict, deciding whether you are guilty or not guilty of the charges.
  7. Sentencing hearing - If you are found guilty, the judge may decide on a sentence immediately. However, in some cases, a separate hearing will be held to determine what sentence should be imposed. This hearing may include statements from victims, evidence regarding issues such as mental health or drug treatment, or testimony about your character from family members or friends. 
  8. Appeal - If you are found guilty, and you believe errors were committed during the trial that led to an incorrect verdict or sentence, you may file an appeal, asking a higher court to overturn the verdict or order a new trial.

Contact a Milwaukee, WI Criminal Defense Attorney

Understanding the criminal justice system is essential for determining the best defense strategy that will help you reach a favorable outcome to your case. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, our Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers are highly experienced in a wide variety of criminal cases, and we can provide you with the guidance and advocacy you need when you are facing criminal charges. Contact us at 414-271-1440 to arrange a personalized consultation. 

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Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys, federal criminal appeal, appeals process,  federal appeal, appealing a verdictMany people are familiar with the idea of appealing a verdict in a criminal trial and taking a case to a higher court if they did not receive a satisfactory outcome. However, the actual appeals process is complicated. Thus, it is important to understand the requirements that must be met and the process that must be followed during a federal appeal.

The Federal Appeals Process

A case cannot be appealed simply because one of the parties did not agree with the verdict; there must be a legal basis for the appeal, such as errors made during the trial or an incorrect interpretation of the law. Furthermore, in criminal cases, only a defendant is typically allowed to appeal a verdict—an appeal by the prosecution could result in the defendant being tried twice for the same crime (known as double jeopardy), which is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.

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Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys, drug paraphernalia, drug paraphernalia possession, drug paraphernalia conviction, possession charges  If the State issues charges against you for drug paraphernalia, you may wonder how severe of consequences you face, especially if police did not find drugs on your person. Wisconsin law typically considers possession of drug paraphernalia a misdemeanor. Although a misdemeanor is not considered as serious as a felony charge,, you may still face jail time and any conviction could have consequences for you later in life. Further, Wisconsin classifies any drug paraphernalia possession that relates to methamphetamine use as a felony.

It is critical that you fight a charge of drug paraphernalia possession. Convictions like these can follow people as they attempt to get employment, housing, or an education. If you have other convictions on your record, a drug paraphernalia conviction could be used to show that you have a history of disregarding the law.

Hiring an experienced Milwaukee criminal attorney will help you understand your options, including seeking drug treatment or another program that may mitigate the charges you face.

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