Empower Wisconsin | May 16, 2022
When Tony Evers campaigned for governor on halving the state’s prison population, law-abiding citizens hoped a guy who stabbed his wife more than 40 times wouldn’t be in the release line.
But such was the case of brutal murderer Douglas Balsewicz before intense public pressure forced soft-on-crime Evers to urge John Tate, his soft-on-crime chairman of the Wisconsin Parole Commission, to reverse his decision.
Tate had signed off on parole for Balsewicz, who has served 24 years of an 80-year prison sentence. He escaped a life sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree homicide and armed burglary.
Tate said Balsewicz had met all requirements. He was set to be released on Tuesday.
“The Commission has determined that the amount of time served is sufficient so as not to diminish the seriousness of the offense,” Tate said in a statement.
Evers, facing a difficult re-election bid, apparently didn’t have any problems with the killer’s pending release until the victim’s family made a very emotional public appeal.
This is the man who Evers’ Parole board was prepared to release back into society:
Balsewicz stabbed his 23-year-old estranged wife, Johanna, 42 times — in front of their two young children.
It was no crime of passion, but a cold and calculated killing.
The savage slaying was the culmination of Douglas Balsewicz’s obsession with preventing his estranged wife from developing a relationship with another man. Documents filed in the husband’s homicide case say that in the months before her death, he constantly hounded his wife who told her divorce lawyer she was afraid of her husband, keeping a knife under her pillow at night.
Twice Johanna Balsewicz barricaded herself in a room out of fear of her husband. Once Douglas Balsewicz told his sister-in-law that he was planning to kill his wife because if he couldn’t have her, “no one would,” according to court records.
Before the murder, Douglas Balsewicz obsessively tracked his wife. He paged his wife up to 50 times a day to keep track of her whereabouts.
Finally, early on June 3, 1997, after a night of heavy drinking, he forced his way into his wife’s home and killed her.
“The homicide of Johanna Balsewicz was an attack and struggle that covered several rooms of the house,” Assistant District Attorney Mark Williams wrote in a pretrial motion at the time. “It began in the downstairs residence and it continued upstairs.
“Blood was throughout the house.”
The slaying was not discovered until after daylight, when a neighbor noticed the dead woman’s children wandering outside their home with blood on their hands and feet, according to the criminal complaint.
So why on earth would this brutal killer, who has served less than a third of his sentence, be set free?
That’s what Johanna’s family wanted to know.
They begged Tate to reverse his decision. They begged Evers to do something. They begged for a meeting with the governor, but were told by his puppet master, chief of staff Maggie Gau, that he wasn’t available. His handlers said the governor did not have the authority to block Tate’s decision.
Finally, after intense public pressure, the governor met with Johanna’s family and sent a letter to Tate urging him to consider the victims’ statements. It was a weeny request from a weeny governor. Would Tate please consider “whether this additional victim input changes your opinion as to whether release would depreciate the seriousness of the offense”?
“I do not agree with this decision, and I have considerable concerns regarding whether Johanna’s family was afforded sufficient opportunity to voice their memories, perspectives, and concerns before this decision was made,” Evers wrote.
He doesn’t agree with Tate’s decision now, maybe. After he’s taken a beating in the press. Where was he days before the public outcry?
The parole board was simply following the lead of a low bail/no bail/early release governor. This is the same governor who vilified police moments before rioters began ripping up and burning down parts of Kenosha. The same governor who couldn’t bring himself to call the looters and criminals rioters and who was painfully slow in calling up enough state resources to bring law and order back to cities under siege. The same governor who refused to even condemn, let alone remove, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm whose office let a career criminal free on $500 bail just days later jumped into his SUV and killed six and injured scores more in Waukesha’s Christmas parade.
This is the governor who was all about an early release program and halting reincarceration of offenders for rule violations.
This is the governor, when asked in 2018 if he supported a proposal by liberal activists to reduce Wisconsin’s prison population by 50 percent said, “Absolutely — and that’s a goal worth accomplishing.”
He appointed John Tate as chairman of the Parole Committee because “improving our parole system is an important part of reforming our criminal justice system ..”
Tate, a former social worker and Racine alderman, has said one of his top priorities is increasing the number of people paroled. He has included Douglas Balsewicz in those numbers.
John Tate is a tool of the far left ideas of social justice that Gov. Tony Evers really believes in. That’s why a brutal murderer was just days away from being released from prison after just 24 years in prison.
That’s why the Parole Committee chairman and the governor who appointed him are collectively Empower Wisconsin’s Tool of the Week.