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06-20-06, 09:35 PM #1WhateverVerified LEO
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Speaking of out-of-control Judges...
So much for impartiality.
Judge's actions during traffic stop criticized
Police officer says passenger tried to undermine his efforts to administer breath test to driver
Posted: June 19, 2006
Waukesha - Circuit Judge Linda Van De Water was "offensive and discourteous" during a traffic stop in advising an acquaintance not to perform a breath test when police suspected him of drunken driving, according to a prosecutor who reviewed the matter.
Timothy Kay, Oconomowoc Lake's prosecutor, concluded that the officer who made the traffic stop "defused an escalating situation" when Van De Water, a passenger in the driver's car, intervened and contended that police had no legal basis to request the test.
But Van De Water, a former Waukesha County assistant district attorney, said Monday that the roadside encounter last month amounted to a "non-incident." She did nothing inappropriate, she said, adding, "I was professional and courteous to the officers the whole time."
Van De Water answered questions Monday about the May 6 traffic stop in Oconomowoc Lake when she was a passenger in a car driven by Matthew J. Dunder, 40, of the city of Pewaukee.
Dunder eventually agreed to perform a preliminary breath test that night, which indicated he had an alcohol concentration slightly below the 0.08 standard considered legal evidence of intoxication in Wisconsin, according to the officer's report.
The report gives the following account:
Officer Christopher Wizner stopped Dunder's car on Beach Road about 10 p.m. on suspicion of traveling 35 mph in a 15-mph zone. Dunder told Wizner that he was lost and trying to find his way home.
Wizner decided to issue Dunder a ticket for disorderly conduct with a motor vehicle, and in explaining the citation to Dunder detected the scent of alcohol in his car.
When Wizner asked the driver and his passenger about drinking, the two whispered and Dunder eventually replied, "It's been awhile."
"He will not submit to a breath sample," Van De Water told Wizner.
When the officer instructed the driver to turn off his engine and step out of the car, according to the report, Van De Water intervened.
"No, he does not have to," Van De Water advised. "You do not have probable cause."
Dunder climbed out of the car anyway and was about to be handcuffed when Van De Water got out. Wizner told her to get back in the car and finished handcuffing Dunder.
As Wizner was leading Dunder to the squad car, Van De Water approached the officer and was told to return to her seat in the car, but she initially refused and stood in the road, prompting Wizner to lead her back to Dunder's car.
Van De Water eventually settled back into her seat and Wizner returned to Dunder, asking him why he was asking Van De Water for advice. "Because she is a judge," he replied.
When a second police car arrived at the scene, Van De Water again climbed out of the car and approached Wizner and Dunder, saying, "I have to talk to him."
Wizner again escorted Van De Water back to her seat in Dunder's car.
After Dunder performed the preliminary breath test with a 0.076 reading, he was told he would not be arrested, but was prohibited from driving. Van De Water offered to drive, and Wizner told her she would have to perform a breath test herself. She provided a sample with a 0.126 reading.
Another person, who was not identified, subsequently was telephoned and picked up Van De Water and Dunder. While waiting for the ride, Wizner and Van De Water talked briefly about her advising Dunder to refuse the test.
"I explained to Van De Water that since she is a judge she should know that we both are on the same 'team,' " Wizner wrote in the report.
"Van De Water again told me that they were lost and that it was only a 15-mph speed zone," Wizner wrote.
Van De Water said Monday she did not volunteer to drive Dunder's car from the stop scene. "I never offered to drive," she said. "I called for a ride."
She also said she told Wizner that she was a judge only after Dunder revealed her occupation and the officer asked her if Dunder was telling the truth.
After reviewing the circumstances of the stop that night, Kay wrote in a letter to Oconomowoc Lake Police Chief Donald Wiemer, "I personally believe there is little, if any, justification for her actions," but added that there was no basis to issue any municipal tickets to Van De Water.
06-20-06, 10:30 PM #2
An out of control Judge...imagine that.
06-20-06, 10:50 PM #3GrasshopperVerified LEO
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Wow. If he hadn't known she was a judge, how do you think that would have gone?And Shepards we shall be,
for thee, My Lord, for thee,
Power hath descended forth from Thy hand,
That our feet may swiftly carry out Thy Command.
So we shall flow a river forth to Thee
And teeming with souls will it ever be.
In Nomine Patris, Et Filli, Et Spiritus Sancti.
06-22-06, 07:52 AM #4
I don't know how it is in your jurisdictions, but here the chain of command works like this:
2. Chief Circuit Judge
3. Any other Judge.
p.s. # 2-3 sometimes think that they are # 1.'The Art of War' teaches us to "Rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's coming, but on our own readiness to receive him"--Sun Tsu
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