October 21, 2003
Are the gods crazy?
A disturbing story in the October 18 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports on driving after revocation, or OAR offenses. Last year the Legislature criminalized OAR offenses, and now the Milwaukee courts are overwhelmed with cases. People who think they need only pay a fine, learn to their dismay that they are charged as criminals. OAR cases, reports MJS, make up 60 percent of all criminal cases. I'm not kidding. The Legislature has too much time on its hands or, perhaps, it is intentional.
"Many of these drivers-disproportionately made up of poor, African-American males-find themselves in a Catch 22," the article says. To pay off fines and costs they must drive to work. But if they do, they run the risk of jail time for driving without a license. If they do not go to work they lose their jobs. What would you do?
Our over-worked and underpaid public defenders and prosecutors should spend their valuable time on serious crimes, but instead are bogged down because someone in the Legislature got an idea: A fine of $2,500 or up to a year in jail for OAR.
Ask yourself, Is Wisconsin following the lead of Jeb Bush in Florida? You know the drill. Pick out the group that always votes Democratic. Make it difficult for them to come to the polls. More on this tomorrow.
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