What Matters to the State Public Defender #2
Since the end of January 2011, eight felony cases resolved in the Dane County courts, to which I, Joseph Sommers, was appointed via the SPD. The results of these cases are easily verifiable in today’s age of CCAP.
To begin with, of the eight resolved cases, six were dismissed and one was resolved by time-served. None of the dismissals were pursuant to a plea agreement on another case. This means, seven of the eight were resolved as well as they could have been for the defendant. None of this means anything to the State Public Defender.
The first case was State v. Jamar Sanders-Jackson, Dane County Case 10 CF 1585. Sanders-Jackson had his armed-robbery charge reduced to misdemeanor theft, and the defendant received a time-served sentence. The result was in the context of the defense pushing the issue that the prosecution was actually an effort to assist an incorrigible drug dealer on a drug debt. Evidence was repeatedly withheld, and when obtained substantiated that the alleged victim on a prior occasion had sought to frame others for his own drug dealing. Beyond this, evidence suggested that the alleged victim received special treatment on another bust. Treatment that has never been explained and to which the only logical explanation appears to be that he is an informant, despite assertions to the contrary.
The second case was State v. Tyrone Baker, Dane County Case 10 CF 2111. In this case, the defendant was convicted on drug and gun counts pursuant to a plea agreement, whereafter he received all told a 3 ½ year prison sentence.
The third case was State. v. Maurice Wilson, Dane County Case 10 CF 1852. This case was dismissed outright. This case revolved around gun charges and an allegation that Wilson had shot at a crowd. The dismissal came after considerable withheld evidence was discovered and in the context of evidence being obtained that the state’s star witnesses had actually committed crimes on the day in question, to which they had inexplicably received a pass. This was a very draining and disturbing matter.
The fourth case was State v. Maurice Wilson, Dane County Case 11 CF 47. This case was dismissed outright. In fact, it is very difficult to comprehend why this case was charged as it was to begin with. The most reasonable scenario is that it was charged primarily for the sake of leverage on the immediately aforementioned case. The bottom line was the state had no case, and there was evidence suggesting that purported evidence in this case was actually rigged.
The fifth case was State v. Weldon Wesson, Dane County Case 11 CF 897. One could say that the case was charged in good faith; however it is difficult to conceive how the case could have resulted in a conviction at trial. I have never lost a trial when confronted with evidence so weak. For this or other reasons, the state dismissed outright.
The sixth case was State v. Julian Thomas, Dane County Case 11 CF 281. This case was dismissed outright. This is the check forgery case that was discussed in the Evans’ pieces of this document. It is difficult to see how this case could have ever been charged in good faith. However, this case was not easily dismissed, and this only occurred in the context of evidence of possible misconduct.
The seventh case was State vs. Julian Thomas, Dane County Case 11 CF 282. This case was dismissed outright. This is the second armed robbery of the Check Advance discussed in the Evans’ pieces of this document. There was also an unsuccessful attempt to revoke the defendant’s probation due to this charge. Attachment #79 is the revocation decision in favor of the defendant which speaks for itself and to the quality of the State’s evidence. To say that this case was a very difficult and draining affair is a considerable understatement. This case, as set out before, raised all kinds of issues of police misconduct and the systematic withholding and distorting of evidence.
The eighth case was State vs. Titus Edwards, Dane County Case 11 CF 936. This case was dismissed in the context of the state withholding, until the eve of trial, considerable evidence, much of which was exculpatory. The state has recently recharged this case, however they have considerable problems. To begin with, they are now proceeding despite two police officers being forced to admit under oath that the evidence of heroin possession is actually stronger against another witness who has not been charged. The evidence suggests that this witness may be an informant.
The state’s purported star witness is now claiming that the defendant is innocent and that he is being threatened with federal charges that could result in twenty years unless he changes his tune, to the prosecution’s satisfaction. Due to the Supreme Court’s recent action, I won’t be around when this case is resolved.
One must realize that the SPD has greatly reduced the number of appointments I have received compared to what I once received. My few appointments are often because the defendant requests that I be the attorney, because the word he has received from others (and sometimes even from other attorneys) is, if you are being railroaded, the man you want is Sommers.
The bottom line is, in light of the above, could anyone fairly dispute that my representation of SPD clients in Dane County in the past year has gone very well for these individuals? In all candor, I would defy the SPD to find another attorney whose clients have come out so well. And yet, as shown next, I was decertified by the SPD in a letter dated March 21, 2012. (See Attachment #80)
The timing of my decertification is in the context of the all-important evidentiary hearing that took place on March 26, 2012 in the Gray case. In that matter I have been appointed by the SPD. The March 26th hearing revolved around the issue of why the Dane County DA’s Office had not turned over evidence that was first court-ordered last November, and re-ordered on February 1, 2012. It also revolved around the Dane County DA’s Office’s effort to have me taken off the case.
The Dane County court involved has yet to rule. However, it’s now academic because of the Supreme Court’s decision of March 30, 2012.
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