Madison, WI –With Milwaukee breaking its homicide record for the third year in a row in 2022, and 1 out of every 5 homicide suspects already out on bail or signature bond for another felony crime according to a Fox 6 report,
the first vote cast by a freshman southeast Wisconsin lawmaker will give our families more protection from violent criminals.
State Representative Nik Rettinger (R-Mukwonago) said it is common sense that we amend Wisconsin’s Constitution to allow judges to consider an alleged criminal’s past record when setting bail. Legislative passage of Assembly Joint Resolution 1 (AJR 1) now sends the bail amendment to Wisconsin voters in this April’s election.
“I was proud to cast my first vote on this critical measure today. Giving judges as much information as possible to consider when setting bail for violent habitual criminals is important to me and to the communities I represent. I was surprised to learn that this common sense practice wasn’t already on the books, and that judges who were taking past violent criminal convictions into account are in fact violating the Wisconsin Constitution they swore to uphold.”
The joint resolution provides an amendment to the state Constitution that removes restrictions on bail determination or denial by allowing judges to consider the safety of the community, the seriousness of the offense and previous violent criminal record.
Rettinger further said, “Many have tried to tie this bail reform movement just with the Waukesha Parade Massacre, but this legislation has been in the works since 2017. As a graduate of Waukesha South High School, and as someone who marched in that very parade wearing that same band uniform, I understand how the tragedy became the face of this amendment but it’s really about so much more. We must ensure that violent crime doesn’t rise to the scale of the parade massacre before it’s taken seriously. I commend Representative Duchow on her perseverance on this bi-partisan constitutional amendment as I strongly believe it will do just that. I look forward to seeing how the people of Wisconsin vote in April.”
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 48 states permit courts to consider “dangerousness’ in some fashion when crafting conditions of pretrial release.
Both chambers in the Wisconsin State Legislature have approved this constitutional amendment for two consecutive legislative sessions, the amendment will now be proposed to the voters.