“Deferred Prosecution” Merits Debated In Milwaukee


A Wisconsin man repeatedly accused of harassing police officers cut a deal called a deferred prosecution, under which a criminal charge is wiped from the books if he stays out of trouble between now and early March and gets substance abuse and mental health treatment in the meantime. Some deputies are not happy, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “What happens after the six months that they monitor this guy?” asked one Milwaukee County officer. “This guy is just a cop hater, for whatever reason.”

Under Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, prosecutors grant many of these deals to first-time offenders – those expected to be scared straight by the experience – so officials can focus on major crimes. Usually, felony charges are reduced or dismissed under deferred prosecutions if offenders steer clear of problems and get treatment. At times, Milwaukee prosecutors stretch the rules when handing out deals, like a case in which a prosecutor awarded one to someone busted for operating while intoxicated for at least the fifth time. State law prohibits deferred prosecutions in OWI cases.

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