Today’s exercise in stupidity . . .

Posted February 7th, 2018 @ 3:19 PM by

I’ll be in court tomorrow, but I wanted to get this in writing in case I’m not allowed to speak. I’m sure enterprising folks can figure out who this is, but that’s not the point. I don’t really want to draw more attention to this person who is clearly struggling, but I do want the system to change. Regardless of what this person has done, they do have the right to exist even if they do not have a home, and especially if they don’t have a home they can’t just be banning people from existing where they exist. I dropped this off today with the judge, court commissioners and DAs office.

Honorable John Hyland
Dane County Court House Room: 7107
215 S Hamilton St
Madison WI 53703

Court Commissioners Brian Asmus & Jason Hanson
Dane County Courthouse Room 2000
215 S Hamilton St
Madison WI 53703-3286

District Attorney Ismael Ozanne (via email: xxx)
ADA Rebekah Rennicke & Jessica Miller
Dane County Courthouse
215 S. Hamilton St. #3000
Madison WI 53703-3297

Public Defender Schuyler Boccio
Via email: xxxx

Date: 2/7/2018

Re: Conditions of bail in 2018CMxxxxxx & 2018CMxxxxxx

Last Thursday, I became aware that my property (owned by myself and my husband Robert Bloch at 30 N Hancock St. in Madison, WI) has been listed as a place xxxxx is not allowed to be as a condition of bail. As you can imagine we were quite surprised by this, as we are not aware of any reason this condition would be necessary. The condition was originally placed in 2018CMxxxxxxx on 1/29/18 which was about a bail jumping charge for being [at xxxxx], 4 blocks from our property. The condition reads as follows:

Defendant shall not be at 30 N Hancock St in Madison.

I fail to see the connection to the bail jumping charge which led to the arrest and the restriction of xxxxx being at our property. We were not in court but we presume it was requested by ADA Rebekah M. Rennicke and approved by Court Commissioner Brian Asmus.

As you may or may not know, xxxxx is homeless and has been since last March. He literally has no place to go at many times of the day. His mere existence has been banned at many places around town. Due to his many challenges and because we are concerned about his safety, we do allow him to come to our porch to charge his phone, to rest (sit or lie down), change his socks, store his minimal belongings, get survival gear (boots, gloves, dry blankets, etc) or food from non-profit and grassroots organizations, etc. In many ways, the system has failed to find him housing that meet his needs. And sadly, our porch is the closest thing he has to a home and one of the safest places for him to be on cold Wisconsin days.

I know I don’t always see eye to eye with many people within the criminal justice system and I understand there are often reasons for things that in criminal matters that are not known to the public or the defendant. However, I wanted to try to understand what had happened. When xxxxx was released and I asked xxxxx about xxxxx conditions of bail xxxxx seemed confused and said there was nothing on xxxxx release papers about being at our address. I explained to xxxxx that I read on CCAP that xxxxx wasn’t allowed to be at our residence. xxxxx asked me if Rob and I had banned him from our porch and I said no. Because I did not understand what was going on and I was concerned, I brought xxxxx to a hotel and paid for it for the evening until I could figure out why this was a condition, or if, perhaps, it was a mistake. Friday I attempted to get some answers. I tried calling the jail, couldn’t get through, so I emailed Sheriff Mahoney, he said to talk to the Clerk of Courts. I called the Clerk of Courts, they told me to call the DA. I called the DA and they said I couldn’t talk to Rebekah Rennicke and they told me to contact the Judge’s office. The judge’s office did not answer on Friday afternoon. I called the public defender’s office and Atty. Boccio was out, so they told me to contact the DAs office – which I already knew was a dead end. After considerable effort, I was unable to get any answers before the weekend.

On Sunday evening xxxx’s friend knocked on the door and said the police were here and arrested xxxxx. My husband and I went to talk to the police. They said xxxxx was in violation of his bail conditions. I asked the police woman what the police were doing on my porch. She said they had not been on my porch, but that seems nearly impossible as they would have to be on my porch to see that xxxxx was there given the sightlines from the street and in order to arrest xxxxx. After further discussion the male officer said that they had received an email with a picture from my neighbor who runs an illegal airBnB business and doesn’t like homeless people being on our property, presumably because it is bad for his business. (It also seems possible it is retaliation for us opposing his request for a zoning exception.)

When he returned to court on 2/6/18 with a new case 2018CMxxxxxx in front of Court Commissioner Jason Hanson we again presume that ADA Jessica Miller requested a restriction which this time reads as follows:

Defendant shall not have any contact, direct or indirect, with 30 N Hancock St

The only connection we see to this restriction is that the previous unexplained restriction was not followed. And, quite frankly, we are unclear what the “indirect” contact means. Does that mean he cannot have contact with us as individuals? Is he prevented from walking by our house?

I understand that Wis. Stat. 969.01 (4) says “Conditions of release, other than monetary conditions, may be imposed for the purpose of protecting members of the community from serious bodily harm or preventing intimidation of witnesses.”

At this time my husband and I wish to inform the court and district attorney that:
We do not feel we are at risk of serious bodily harm, or any physical harm.
We are not aware that we are witnesses to any event relevant to any court proceedings.
We are not intimidated by xxxxx.

It seems that this condition of bail is in error in some way. If this is about our neighbor and any of his concerns, it seems the restriction should be for 26 N Hancock St. or, since my neighbor doesn’t really reside at that address, it might be more appropriate to have the restriction be for contact with Joseph Mortino.

If there is some other issue that we should be aware of, we would respectfully request that we be informed of such an issue.

Sincerely,

Brenda K. Konkel


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