Joseph Sommers
www . Sommers For Supreme Court . com

What Wisconsin's Major Newspapers Won't Tell You

What the Wisconsin State Journal, The Capital Times, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Will Not Tell You About the Prosecution of Adam Raisbeck

The prosecution of 17 year-old Adam Raisbeck for a non-drunk driving traffic fatality received notoriety because I told a judge that Raisbeck was being subjected to a "kangaroo court" (definition: "any crudely or irregularly operated court, especially one so controlled as to render a fair trial impossible"). The notoriety has resurfaced due to my candidacy for the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the OLR complaint against me often mentioned in the media. Maybe even scarier than the Raisbeck prosecution itself is the audacious cynicism of the Wisconsin State Journal, The Capital Times, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I am willing to bet that very few people who read this will have ever heard of the following fifteen facts, even though each one in itself is newsworthy. Simply ask yourself, "why not?" These facts can be relatively easily substantiated, and few, if any, are unknown to the above noted newspapers. We are willing to provide documentation upon request.

  1. The Dane County District Attorney's Office primary accident reconstruction expert, Robert Krenz, when deposed on April 8, 2005, conceded that after he received the photographic evidence on February 12, 2002 (three days prior to Raisbeck being bound over for trial) he informed the DA's Office possibly within a day or so that, to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, the evidence/analysis being used to have Raisbeck bound over for trial was invalid.
  2. The Dane County DA's Office had Robert Krenz testify, on April 7, 2003, that the photographic evidence indicated to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, that Raisbeck had never locked his brakes prior to leaving the roadway and that the expert summary provided by the DA's Office was accurate. When deposed on April 8, 2005, Krenz conceded that the photographic evidence was indicative of locking and the expert summary provided by the DA's Office was not accurate.
  3. Judge Daniel Moeser found that emails between the Dane County DA's Office and Robert Krenz proved the DA's Office had "intentionally misrepresented" expert Krenz's opinion. The person responsible for withholding these emails from both the court and the defense was DA Brian Blanchard himself.
  4. The law firm which had the most to gain from Raisbeck being convicted was Hausmann-McNally SC. The senior partner of this firm, Charles Hausmann, was recently convicted federally in Milwaukee in regard to a kickback scheme.
  5. DA Blanchard, in an internal letter dated January 20, 2004, conceded that an arrest warrant for Kevin McCoy was illegitimate, unjustified, and could have resulted in McCoy being harassed by being kept in the Dane County Jail. After this, on multiple dates in open court, the DA's Office (with Blanchard in the courtroom) withheld this concession when asked about the warrant's legitimacy.
  6. Multiple affidavits were filed with the court pertaining to the Dane County DA's Office harassment of Kevin McCoy, which attested to the illegal use of the subpoena power to force McCoy to twice submit to interrogations (where McCoy was apparently pressured into changing his original innocuous statement). And, one affidavit attested to McCoy needing to testify for the DA's Office in order to get out of the Dane County Jail.
  7. Judge Paul Higginbotham made factual findings, on two separate dates, that the Dane County DA's Office fabricated a sworn affidavit in regards to the availability of the photographic evidence. After Judge Higginbotham was appointed by Governor Doyle to the Court of Appeals, he obtained a special order where he revisited the Raisbeck case and revised his findings—going so far as to claim that he had never made his findings to begin with.
  8. The transcript pages of Judge Higginbotham's factual findings were provided to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the Governor, and the Attorney General. Judge Higginbotham later acknowledged without comment that he made the specific factual findings to which he had claimed otherwise. There is no indication that there has been any action taken by anyone on this matter.
  9. At the first motion hearing in Raisbeck on June 7, 2002, Judge Paul Higginbotham was informed that the Dane County DA's Office had threatened to "bleed" Raisbeck dry if he did not settle. Judge Higginbotham's immediate response was to accuse me of some vague, unethical conduct from years prior and then threaten me with contempt when I asked him what he was talking about. Incidentally, when Judge Higginbotham gave details, the court file he was referring to contained nothing in support of his assertions.
  10. The Dane County Courts agreed with the Dane County DA's Office that even if the DA's Office engaged in criminal conduct, systematically withheld evidence, falsified expert summaries, coerced potential witnesses, and utilized false testimony, Raisbeck was not entitled to an evidentiary hearing because none of this would affect Raisbeck's right to a fair trial and due process.
  11. DA Blanchard personally signed off on a submission where the DA's Office asserted that even if the court dismissed the case on the basis of prosecutorial misconduct, this "would be pointless since the state (DA's Office) would simply refile."
  12. Throughout the Raisbeck prosecution, the Dane County DA's Office frequently switched their expert's analysis. In one instance, they refused to provide the data (despite being court ordered) behind an expert's new analysis. When this data was finally obtained it revealed that the new speed estimate was predicated upon a tire mark distance of 132 feet, despite this expert's prior testimony that he personally measured the longest tire mark distance at 82 feet.
  13. The final judge in Raisbeck (Daniel Moeser) became judge because, in his own words, he "volunteered." At the time, his son was an Assistant Dane County District Attorney whose direct superiors were prosecuting Raisbeck.
  14. At Raisbeck's trial the medical coroner, Dr. Michael Stier, testified on direct that he held his conclusions to a 'reasonable degree of medical certainty.' On cross-examination he testified that he did not know what the term 'reasonable degree of medical certainty' meant, and asked that it be defined for him.
  15. At trial, Raisbeck was acquitted, despite defense expert Gregory Anderson (who had walked the accident scene on multiple dates) not being allowed to testify to his speed estimate because he acknowledged the limitations of the science and the existing data. The state's expert, Dennis Skogen (who received $300 per hour for his work) was allowed to testify to his speed estimate, despite never walking the accident scene until after the trial began, 3-1/2 years after the accident.

All told, in the Raisbeck prosecution, the DA's Office:

  1. achieved bind-over on invalid evidence
  2. filed at least three false affidavits
  3. interfered at least three times with defense subpoenas
  4. abused the power of subpoena at least three times to force potential witnesses to submit to interrogations
  5. utilized on at least two occasions materially false testimony
  6. obtained at least one fraudulent arrest warrant
  7. provided on at least three occasions falsified expert analysis
  8. withheld, on a number of occasions, exculpatory evidence
  9. made at least 25 documented factual material misrepresentations during the prosecution
  10. had Raisbeck bound over for trial on the alleged factual basis that he had never touched his brakes prior to leaving the roadway, and then at trial tried to have him convicted because he allegedly heavily applied his brakes! (The jury was never informed of the DA's Office prior position).

The Wisconsin State Journal was provided with almost all the documentation over one year ago, and their investigative reporter has repeatedly claimed that a story is coming on this and other misconduct. However, for whatever reason, they have never gotten around to it. The Capital Times, which rarely misses an opportunity to try to discredit me over Raisbeck, has felt no obligation to inform the public to the facts. Lastly, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel interviewed a number of individuals, sent a photographer to take photos related to the story, and claimed on a Friday afternoon that a story was to run that Sunday. For reasons unknown, the story was killed. Later, they claimed the story would run, only for it to be killed again for reasons unknown.

Why Does the Wisconsin State Journal and Other Media Keep from the Public the Dane County District Attorney's Office's Disturbing Use of Pseudo Science?

In this Sunday's paper (January 21, 2007) the Wisconsin State Journal ran a piece by investigative reporter Dee Hall titled, "Expert doubts his murder ruling in Green Bay arson case." The article was well-written and accompanied another story by the Associated Press titled "Hundreds of arson cases may be bogus." It is good for the Wisconsin State Journal to run stories like these. However, the Wisconsin State Journal appears absolutely determined to ignore what is happening in its own backyard.

When it comes to the danger of utilizing pseudo science in prosecutions, there can be no better example than the use of accident reconstruction analysis, as shown by the following tables. These tables relate solely to the experts utilized by the Dane County DA's Office in their unsuccessful effort to convict Adam Raisbeck. Keep in mind that these data numbers were allegedly bonafide facts to a 'reasonable degree of scientific certainty', and that speed estimates are the results of mathematical calculations using these numbers. Raisbeck was acquitted despite the jury never becoming aware that the DA's Office had produced more than one speed analysis.

Expert Date of analysis Speed estimate Application of brakes Distance of longest tire mark Total Distance traveled after vehicle left roadway Distance traveled through brush Distance that vehicle rolled over
1. Deputy Gnacinski Fall 2001 88.87 mph Brakes never applied 82 ft. 318 ft. 94 ft. 224 ft.
2. Robert Krenz Feb. 2002 73-81 mph* Substantial braking

82-83 ft.

335 ft.

138 ft.

197 ft.
3. Deputy Gnacinski Aug. 2002 77 mph Brakes locked 132 ft. 268 ft. 94 ft. 174 ft.
4. Dennis Skogen Jan. 2005 70-76 mph Substantial braking 62 ft. 346 ft. 236 ft. 110 ft.

* In mid-May 2004 Krenz utilized a second test that produces a speed estimate of 62-74 mph when you plug in his data. This fact was withheld from the defense.

Table Continued from Above

Tire mark distance furthest left Tire mark distance second furthest left Tire mark distance third furthest left Tire mark distance furthest right Rate of dec. on roadway Rate of dec. through brush Rate of dec. through roll-over
1. Deputy Gnacinski 30 ft. 49 ft. 48 ft. 82 ft. N/A N/A N/A
2. Robert Krenz 22-23 ft. 48 ft. 49 ft 82-83 ft. .5-.6 g .35-.45 g .56 g
3. Deputy Gnacinski ? ? ? 132 ft. .5-.71 g .3 g .5 g ?
4. Dennis Skogen

36 ft. 16 ft. 62 ft. 41 ft. .55-.6 g .4-.5 g .45-.5 g

Note: dec. = deceleration.

There appears to be a grave danger that experts could be coming up with speed estimates and then working their way backward. For example, both Robert Krenz and Dennis Skogen came up with their speed estimates and data numbers prior to visiting the accident scene. And while accident reconstruction may be a manipulative science, it is not a cheap science. The state's last expert in the Raisbeck case, Dennis Skogen, was paid at a rate of $300 per hour.

While the Madison media has given the above no attention, there was disinformation relayed to the public to the benefit of the Dane County DA's Office. Five weeks prior to trial, in a March 9, 2005 broadcast (and on their website) Madison Channel 27 News claimed that the DA's Office's case rested on testimony that Raisbeck was speeding at 100 mph at the time of the accident. While Channel 27 would print a correction on their website, they would never do likewise on the air.

None of the above should be a secret to the Wisconsin State Journal, The Capital Times, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and all of the information from the tables above is contained in the Raisbeck court file. The Wisconsin State Journal's investigative reporter, Dee Hall, has been in possession of this information/documents for a long period of time. Ms. Hall has repeatedly claimed that a story is coming, but for whatever reason, the Wisconsin State Journal has never gotten around to it. One would think that the Wisconsin State Journal and other media outlets would feel some urgency to alert the public, given that this pseudo science has been used to convict and is still being utilized by the Dane County DA's Office and other prosecutors throughout the state.

One of the reasons that I am running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court is that it is important that the public become aware of what actually goes on in our courtrooms, and to call attention to how innocent individuals are wrongly convicted. One wonders when, if ever, the major Wisconsin media outlets will decide this is their responsibility as well.

Vote for Joe Sommers on February 20th and April 3rd.

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