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Johnson: I can’t support ‘soft on crime’ Judge Pocan

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — While liberal news outlets criticize U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson for his opposition to the nomination of Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge William Pocan to a seat on the federal court in Green Bay, Johnson has good reason for objecting to the appointment of another soft-on-crime, liberal judge.

Johnson (R-Oshkosh) and Wisconsin junior U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison) last June had recommended Pocan and three other candidates to fill the vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. President Joe Biden in December nominated Pocan to the federal court. He was awaiting confirmation from the Senate.

Johnson said he’s been hearing concerns from the Green Bay legal community “that they needed a judge who is locally based and actively involved in their community.”

“That is not the case with Judge Pocan,” Johnson said in a statement.

Pocan, the brother of far left U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison), lives in Milwaukee County.

Just as problematic, the senator said, is Pocan’s record of “soft on crime low bail policies and court orders.” Pocan is part of a liberal Milwaukee County criminal justice machine that keeps releasing career violent offenders to hurt again.

Exhibit A: Davario Washington.

In November 2014, Washington was charged with one count of armed robbery with the threat of force and one count of misdemeanor theft. Bail was originally set at $2,500. Milwaukee County court officials subsequently added an armed robbery charge with threat of force alleging Washington pointed a gun at a woman.

In 2015, Washington was charged with four counts of taking and driving a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent. In one case, he stole a car while the victim was sitting on the hood; Washington ran over the victim’s left leg and foot, breaking the foot and necessitating several stitches in the knee. In another case, the car was recovered after a high-speed chase against traffic during which the vehicle sideswiped two parked cars.

Finally, after the fourth car was stolen, Milwaukee County prosecutors filed a motion to increase Washington’s bail.

Pocan set the bail at $5,000 – an unusually low amount for an armed robbery charge and a long rap sheet of violent offenses.

Pocan certainly would have been aware of the four car thefts from the state’s motion when he made his final bail decision, and Washington’s violent criminal record.

Washington eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery with threat of force and was sentenced to eight years in prison.  He also pleaded guilty to two counts of taking and driving a vehicle without consent and was sentenced to four years in prison for those counts.

Sound familiar?

The same criminal justice system cheaply released a Milwaukee man now accused of driving his SUV into the Nov. 21 Waukesha Christmas parade and mowing down scores of people. Darrell Brooks Jr. has been charged with six counts of homicide and more than 70 related charges.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm’s office had recommended what even the liberal DA admitted was “inappropriately low” bail — a mere $1,000 — for Brooks just days before he is suspected of terrorizing Waukesha. Brooks had been in jail on eerily similar charges, accused of driving over the mother of his child in the same SUV just three weeks before the Waukesha massacre.

Chisholm blamed the low bail on “human error,” insisting an assistant DA set the amount without having access to a risk assessment file. But Chisholm sees himself as a national leader in liberal criminal justice reform, including low-bail/no-bail policies. Early in his 15-year tenure as Milwaukee County DA, Chisholm warned his policies could kill.

Johnson noted the Waukesha tragedy in his statement. Pocan was not involved in Brooks’ recent bail decision, but he and his fellow liberal Milwaukee County judges have aided and abetted Chisholm’s deadly work over the years.

“I cannot support someone for a lifetime appointment that has granted low bail for someone charged with violent felonies,” Johnson said. “That is not in the best interest of Wisconsinites nor Americans. I look forward to working with President Biden on selecting a suitable nominee.”

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