Wisconsin State Journal

Humphrey took 30 percent longer than peers to handle felonies

September 28, 2007

A computer analysis of Paul Humphrey's caseload compared to the rest of the Dane County District Attorney's Office over an 11-year period shows that while the prosecutor handled less serious cases in the same amount of time as others in the office, when it came to felonies, he took 30 percent longer than his peers.

Humphrey's defenders say that he's a hard-working prosecutor who carries a larger-than-average caseload. But his main detractor, defense attorney Joseph Sommers, charges Humphrey uses delay as a tactic to win cases.

Sommers testified during Humphrey's July disciplinary hearing about an encounter on May 1, 2002 in which he said Humphrey threatened to stretch out a prosecution to pressure defendant Adam Raisbeck to plead guilty in his vehicular homicide case. The case ended up lasting more than three and a half years.

"He made (the statement) something to the effect that, basically, 'This kid better be thinking about pleading out or I'm going to financially ruin him,' " Sommers testified.

Darlene Raisbeck also has filed a sworn affidavit recounting a similar statement from the prosecutor. Humphrey has denied making those threats.

The analysis by Court Data Technologies of Madison examined all cases handled by Humphrey between 1995 and 2005 and found that the long-time prosecutor handled the less serious ones in about the same time as others in the district attorney's office.

But when it came to felonies — such as the Raisbeck case — Humphrey's median time to resolve a case was a month longer than the office median, the analysis showed. Humphrey's boss, Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard, said resolving a case quickly may not always be in the best interest of justice, or the defendant. He put little stock in the analysis generated by Court Data Technologies.

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