July 30, 2009

Turner works on bill to protect felony victims

Rep. Bob Turner hopes to minimize the number of times victims of crimes have to testify in court.

Turner, D-Racine, is working with Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, and other Democrats and Republicans to allow testimony in certain criminal proceedings to be readmitted at later hearings. Now, victims are often required to re-testify several times during criminal proceedings.

Here's an excerpt from a release on the proposal:
In many instances, rather than simply readmitting the previously delivered testimony, the victim must also testify at a revocation hearing because the accused person was already on probation, parole, or extended supervision.

"This bill comes at the urging and request of the Kenosha County Victim Witness coordinators at the Kenosha District Attorney’s Office. Based on their hands-on experience assisting crime victims through this often difficult process, they believe that this change would extend an important additional protection during a very challenging time," Representative Barca explained. “This will be especially helpful in protecting children.”

The proposal would allow for testimony taken from a felony victim at a preliminary hearing to be used in a subsequent revocation hearing in cases where the defendant was already serving a previous sentence. Under the bill, if a party can show good cause for requiring the victim to appear they could still be forced to testify.

Representative Turner, Chairman of the Assembly Criminal Justice Committee explained, "If a state court has already established ‘probable cause’ based on the victim’s sworn testimony, it should be sufficient evidence in a later hearing before the Department of Corrections."

Identical legislation passed the Assembly as Assembly Bill 431 in the previous session with the support of the Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association, the Wisconsin Troopers Association, and the Milwaukee Police Association.


  1. Too bad he did not work to keep the thugs in prison vs letting them come to back to Racine.
    God forbid that anyone gets killed by one that Doyle is letting out if so the blood is on your hands!

  2. This guy is still in office?!?? C'mon Racine!!!!

  3. Bob Turner is now a sell-out in my mind.

    It's easy to take away rights from people who can't vote, isn't it, Bob? It's even easier when you can trade in those rights for the votes and written support of law enforcement officers and agencies, isn't it?

    It is the right of an accused party to have the accuser present for testimony. In revocation cases, there is already a requirement in place that minimizes the necessity of this. (as the story reported) In those cases, "good cause" must be demonstrated in order for a victim to be called. End of story.

    The only reason this law is being supported is so that, next election, you can see the words "Endorsed by the Police and Sheriff's Department" on every piece of Bob Turner's election propaganda.

  4. There should have been an additional banner flown over Racine on the 4th of July that said, "Bob Turner is bad for Wisonsin."