We Pick Your Attorney, Whether You Like It Or Not: The Fountain Homicide and McCants Conviction #2

As requested by the Dane County DA’s Office, Sommers was removed by Judge Nichol as McCants’ attorney.  McCants would have three sets of replacement attorneys, none of which he wanted.  And none of which would pursue the aforementioned defense, or the facts that led to Sommers being removed.  McCants was subsequently convicted, and in all probability he will die in prison.

McCants is no angel.  However, what occurred in his prosecution is obviously disturbing, and there is very good reason to believe that a jury would have acquitted McCants, if they only knew what was the actual evidence.  The following four easily-verifiable factual scenarios should scare all fair-minded citizens of Dane County, Wisconsin and the United States.

1)   Don’t give that name

McCants was sentenced in federal court the same week he was charged in Dane County for the Fountain homicide.  It was established that the son of a local politician was the particular drug dealer connected to drugs found in the safe at McCants’ apartment.  It was established that this individual had obtained a handgun of the same type that was utilized in the homicide, shortly before the homicide.  It was also established that this particular gun was missing and never located, while the handgun of a similar type found in McCants’ apartment, which the press inferred was the homicide weapon, was in fact not the homicide weapon.

The above, though, was not the most stunning development.  It has never been explained why this individual, who could have been easily convicted for drug dealing, in part due to the testimony produced in court at McCants’ sentencing, was never charged either federally or in state court.  However, it gets stranger…

Even more inexplicable that day was that the U.S. Attorney successfully persuaded the judge that the individual in question should not be identified by his name during the testimony.  Sommers, and probably almost all criminal defense attorneys in Wisconsin, have never experienced anything remotely of a similar nature. (See Attachment #75)

There were reporters in the courtroom that day.  After the hearing, Sommers had a discussion with one of the reporters, Kevin Murphy.  In particular, they discussed the peculiar ruling preventing the son of the politician/ drug dealer being identified by his name during testimony.  However, Murphy’s story nor any other story on that day’s proceedings informed the public on the court’s peculiar ruling.

2)   Planted news story

McCants’ scheduled initial appearance led to headlines and news stories, wherein it was claimed that Sommers failed to show up in court and was responsible for the proceedings being delayed.  In actuality, there was not a shred of truth to this planted falsification in the Madison papers.  Dane County Judge John C. Albert would make a point of setting the record straight when he handled the preliminary hearing.  However, the Madison papers and other media outlets would withhold this from the public.

Who was responsible for the planting of the false story?  And why did the Madison papers run it without seeking to verify it or to talk to Atty. Sommers?  In whose interest was it to falsely discredit Atty. Sommers?

The Capital Times newspaper story did have one benefit. (See Attachment #76)  It confirms that the DA’s office attempted to prevent Sommers from becoming McCants’ attorney due to the SPD certification issue.  It also confirms that Sommers’ retort was that he had beaten the Dane County DA’s Office on five out of six class B felony trials.

3)   Detective Todd Stetzer and Steven Collins

After Sommers became Collins’ attorney a very troubling thing was going on.  Despite Collins being represented by Sommers and seeking leniency on his pending cases via Sommers, Det. Todd Stetzer, the case detective on the Fountain homicide, was meeting with Collins, behind Sommers’ back, in the Dane County Jail, with the knowledge of the Dane County DA’s Office.

One does not have to be a lawyer to know that the above is very disturbing, unethical and contrary to the law.  Nothing has ever been done about it because in Dane County no one ever dares to raise such issues.  Sommers never had any standing to raise the issue because he never found out about what was going on until he was in the process of being removed as McCants’ attorney.  To the court, that, and only that, was the issue that mattered.

4)   Detective Todd Stetzer’s falsified police report

One of the strongest mechanisms that the Dane County DA’s Office and police have to keep individuals in line is their utilization of false information planted in police reports to discredit those they want to discredit.  Usually, it is very difficult to prove that something like this has occurred.  The following is a rare instance wherein the inferred falsified facts can be proven by merely comparing two documents authored by the same person.

Det. Todd Stetzer drafted a police report for his meeting with Collins on July 24, 2003 (Attachment #77).  In this report, Stetzer gives a dramatic account where he claims that he confronts Collins on Collins’ purported information on the Fountain homicide.  Stetzer has Collins tell his story about whom Collins is claiming committed the homicide.  Stetzer’s report infers that July 24, 2003 is the first time that Collins is providing Stetzer with the name of the killer.

Stetzer’s dramatic account goes on to where Stetzer breaks Collins down, and Collins confesses that the whole story is a lie.  Stetzer claims that due to the “gravity” of what Collins is saying, he summons another officer into the room to act as a witness; and then Collins reveals that Sommers was behind his fabricated story, and that Sommers promised Collins that he would receive leniency for his fabrications.

After reading this police report, one would think, ‘how did Atty. Sommers ever escape being disbarred, let alone criminally charged?’  Sommers was never in any such danger if the evidence was fully revealed.  Why?  Because there was a witness named Det. Todd Stetzer who could attest that the strong inference of Det. Todd Stetzer’s report that Sommers was behind Collins providing fabricated statements, was undoubtedly false.

In addition to the aforementioned police report, Det. Stetzer signed off on a sworn affidavit dated July 31, 2003 (Attachment #78).  In that affidavit (paragraph 7), Stetzer acknowledges that case detectives met with Collins on May 14, 2003 and Stetzer met with Collins on May 23, 2003; and in paragraph 8 of his sworn affidavit, Stetzer asserted that Collins on May 23rd named to the detectives the same individual that Stetzer would claim Collins named on July 24, 2003 as committing the homicide.

However, Stetzer’s report indicates that Sommers first met with Collins on May 28th.  The report though omits Stetzer’s meeting with Collins on May 23rdMeaning that the report withheld that Stetzer knew Collins had provided to Stetzer the individual’s name five days before Collins had ever even met with Sommers – a fact that puts Stetzer’s police report in a vastly different light, and substantiates Stetzer’s extreme dishonesty.

This is the way things are done in Dane County.  This is why ADA Kaiser would have felt very confident that he could get away with his blatant cheating in the Cruz Delvalle prosecution.  This is why ADA Stephan would be confident that he can get away with cheating in the Gray prosecution.  This is why Dane County police officers are confident that they can get away with perjury.

Det. Stetzer’s report and his affidavit were provided to the editors of a number of media outlets, including both the Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times.  Dee Hall led Sommers to believe that an article on what had taken place was coming.  Apparently, more newsworthy stories got in the way.

If one asks, ‘where are the defense attorneys in Dane County?’ the answer is provided in the next piece.  The bottom line is, in the twisted legal world of Dane County, one wins by losing and loses by winning.

« PreviousNext »