LETTER: Vote for Protasiewicz, against cash bail items

To the editor:

On April 4, we have the opportunity to elect Janet Protasiewicz for Supreme Court justice. In nearly a decade as circuit court judge, she has developed a reputation for being fair and impartial. Judge Janet is the best candidate to return common sense back to the court.

Protected by the Republican legislative majority and the current conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, we now have a voter-hostile election system, gerrymandered congressional and legislative maps, a near total abortion ban and anti-union policies. However, voters in the February primary showed they wanted to loosen this control. Fifty-four percent of those going to the polls voted for one of the progressive candidates.

“Community safety” is being used as an emotional appeal to get conservative voters to the polls. On the ballot will also be two amendments to the Wisconsin State Constitution. Everyone wants a safe neighborhood, but most people also want others to be treated fairly and given a chance.

What’s wrong with allowing those charged with low-risk crimes to return to their job and their lives with specific conditions of release that, if violated, would lead to their immediate detention? There isn’t a single study that shows ending the cash-bail system leads to higher crime. Holding people in custody before a trial actually makes them more likely to commit another crime.

Voting “no” on cash bail amendment Questions 1 and 2 will open the door for reform. Right now, the only factor a judge is to consider when setting the amount of bail is the risk of a defendant failing to appear. If these amendments to our constitution are approved, judges would have the leeway to consider anything they want when setting a bail amount. Those guidelines are undefined at this time and wouldn’t be finalized until after the amendment is passed.

Showing up to vote on April 4 can free our state to move in a different direction, one that is in sync with the majority of Wisconsinites.

Jan Koch, Shawano