Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

July 19, 2006

Former district attorney faces two more felonies

Former Winnebago County District Attorney Joseph Paulus, already serving a 58-month federal prison term, likely will serve two more years in prison after being charged with two felonies by the state Department of Justice.

Paulus has agreed to plead guilty to misconduct in public office and conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to Michael Bauer, legal services administrator with the state attorney general's office. Paulus will not contest prosecutors' recommendation that he serve two more years in prison upon his release from federal custody, said his defense attorney, Franklyn Gimbel.

The charges involve the same conduct that resulted in federal charges against Paulus in 2004. Paulus accepted bribes from defense attorney Milton Schierland in 28 criminal, drunken driving and traffic cases, court records state.

Oshkosh Northwestern

Joseph Paulus cases

Paulus cases identified in criminal complaint

The following is a list of Paulus-era cases identified by the FBI and Wisconsin Department of Justice in a new state DOJ criminal complaint against Paulus. It alleges misconduct and conspiracy to obstruct justice. The cases are referenced in relation to bribes between Paulus and defense attorney Milton “Mitch” Schierland. Reduced charges, reduced sentencing, dismissals or no charges at all were the result. Below, the initial charge(s) is/are listed along with the outcomes according to the state’s criminal complaint:

1. State v. Vern Wagner, 1998
Charge of operating while intoxicated; reduced to reckless driving. Charge of operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol count of .10; charge dismissed.

2. State v. William Routhieaux, 1998
Charge of operating while intoxicated, fourth offense. Two separate charges were both dismissed.

3. State v. Eric Schlicting, 1998
Charge of felony battery and disorderly conduct. Both charges dismissed.

4. State v. William Peters, 1999
Felony drug possession charge (second offense); amended to misdemeanor possession.

5. State v. Mark Rink, 1999
Charge of operating after revocation as a habitual traffic offender; amended to operating without a valid license, first offense.

6. State v. William Schmunk, 1999
Charge of operating while intoxicated, third offense; amended to reckless driving.

7. State v. David Tate, 1999
Charges of operating while intoxicated, third offense and hit and run of a police squad car and BAC point .239; hit and run: dismissed, mandatory minimum penalties for all other charges.

8. State v. Dennis Nitz, 1999
Charge of operating while intoxicated, fourth offense; amended to negligent operation of a vehicle. Charge of operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol count of .10 (fourth offense); charge dismissed.
In May, Nitz was again charged with a fourth offense of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He pleaded no contest to that charge in early June.

9. State v. Joseph Hartman, 1999
Charge of operating while intoxicated, second offense; amended to charge of operating while intoxicated, first offense.

10. State v. Patrick Hayes, 1999
Charge of operating while intoxicated, second offense; amended to reckless driving, endangering safety.

11. State v. Robert Snyder, 1999
Charge of operating while intoxicated, second offense; amended to reckless driving, endangering safety.

12. State v. Steven Wilber, 1999
Two charges of operating while intoxicated on the same date; charged with OWI, third offense; OWI fourth offense not charged.

13. State v. Timothy Sommer, 1999
Charge of operating while intoxicated, third offense; amended to operating while intoxicated, second offense.

14. State v. Connie Christensen, 1999
Charge of operating while intoxicated, third offense; amended to reckless driving.
In 2004, Christensen was again charged with a third offense of operating while intoxicated. She pleaded no contest to that charge.

15. State v. Emily Srubas, 1999
Charge of operating while intoxicated, second offense; reduced to reckless driving.

16. State v. Lee Hidde, 1999
Charge of operating while intoxicated, fourth offense; reduced to operating while intoxicated, third offense.

17. State v. Daniel Lenz, 1999
Charge of operating while intoxicated, first offense; amended to reckless driving.

18. State v. Field Hadley, 2000
Charge of theft of movable property less than $1,000; charge dismissed.

19. State v. Jesse Swenson, 2000
Charge of criminal damage to property; dismissed.

20. State v. Michael Albright, 2000
Three felony charges of manufacturing/delivering a controlled substance (marijuana); amended to misdemeanor possession charges.

21. State v. Jack Blansette, 2000
Charge of operating while intoxicated, fourth offense; reduced to operating while intoxicated, third offense.

22. State v. Rita Deinert, 2000
Charge of hit and run-attended vehicle and operating while intoxicated, second offense; Reduced to hit and run-unattended vehicle and reckless driving.

23. State v. Jay Safford, 2000
Charge of operating while intoxicated, third offense; amended to operating while intoxicated, second offense.

24. State v. Daren Gabrielson, 2000
Charge of operating while intoxicated, fourth offense; reduced to operating while intoxicated, third offense.

25. State v. Shelli Day, 2000
Charge of operating while intoxicated; reduced to reckless driving.

26. State v. David Danielson, 2000
Charge of hunting violations for possessing a deer in closed season and failing to attach ear tag. Vehicle was not forfeited in the penalty.

27. Steven Markelz – investigation into prostitution. Never charged.

28. “Christopher B.” – juvenile, involved in counterfeiting investigation in 1999. Never charged.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Justice criminal complaint against Joseph Paulus filed Wednesday.


Police/Prosecutor Misconduct
Truth in Justice