By M.D. Kittle
MADISON —When will it end?
Another career criminal sent through Milwaukee County’s revolving door criminal justice system has gone on to be charged with murder. The Republican lawmakers who have championed bills to rein in the left’s deadly low bail/no bail policies say the madness will continue until leaders in Milwaukee and Madison get serious about stopping violent crime.
Allen Dale Grant, 61, recently was charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the July 8 shooting deaths of his Milwaukee neighbor and his former girlfriend.
Grant, with a criminal record stretching back to the late 1970s, was charged in March with fleeing an officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Court records show he led Milwaukee Police officers on a high-speed chase in which Grant nearly hit several bystanders. Police say Grant had a loaded handgun on him at the time of his March 4 arrest.
At the time of the July 8 homicides, Grant was out on a measly $1,000 bail. Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Milton Childs thought it proper to reduce Grant’s bail from $10,000 to $1,000 for reasons that remain unclear.
It’s the latest case of inappropriately low bail set in Milwaukee County for a suspect who has gone on to be charged with very violent crimes.
“We’re all sick about seeing these events, particularly in Milwaukee where it’s just rinse and repeat, without an adequate rinse,” said state Rep. Dan Knodl.
The Germantown Republican co-sponsored three bills aimed at breaking the circle of cheaply released felons who go on to commit violent crimes. One measure would require judges to set a minimum $10,000 bond for any defendant with a prior felony conviction or a violent misdemeanor conviction. Another bill would mandate judges set a minimum $5,000 bond for any defendant with a prior conviction for bail jumping.
Both bills passed in the Assembly but failed to make it through the Senate before the end of the last session.
Knodl believes Gov. Tony Evers would have vetoed the bills had they made it to his desk. Evers in his budget proposed doing away with felony bail jumping charges. He has pushed a liberal criminal justice reform agenda built on halving the state’s prison population.
In 2020, as his social justice allies were screaming for states and cities to “de-fund the police,” Evers was vetoing several bills with stiffened penalties for offenders. The Democrat even vetoed legislation requiring the state Department of Corrections to recommend sending parolees and criminals on extended supervision back to prison if they are charged with committing a crime on court supervision.
State Rep. Cindi Duchow (R-Delafield) said a convicted felon in possession of a gun should automatically receive a five-year prison sentence, a penalty that would save lives. Duchow said she will be introducing such a bill in the next session.
The lawmaker is one of the authors of a constitutional amendment that allows a court to consider a suspect’s past criminal record when setting bail. Judges would also be able to take into consideration “the need to protect members of the community from serious harm or prevent the intimidation of witnesses.”
“This will let us hold these judges’ feet to the fire,” Duchow said. “Now they can’t look at past criminal history. With this amendment, they don’t have an excuse.”
The proposed amendment must pass in two consecutive sessions of the Legislature. Then it would go to voters to decide.
There are many players in the revolving door criminal justice system. Prosecutors like Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm have been complicit in letting dangerous criminals free on low bail. Chisholm’s office recommended “inappropriately low” bail for the violent career criminal charged in last year’s Waukesha Christmas parade massacre. It wasn’t the first time Chisholm’s office helped cheaply release a criminal who went on to kill. Chisholm years ago predicted his form of progressive justice would do just that.
Victims of the Waukesha mass murders (six people were killed, scores more injured in the vehicular rampage), pleaded with Evers to investigate and fire Chisholm. Evers refused.
Duchow said voters have failed to hold accountable the judges and district attorneys who keep releasing violent criminals back into their neighborhoods.
“The people there want these bad guys locked up, but they’re not voting to do that.”