So it begins, the digging into thousands of Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow’s decisions over the years. Those on the Left, and disappointingly, many on the Right, will take anything out of context to take her down politically.
This is even more evidence that JENNIFER DOROW IS THE FRONT RUNNER in Wisconsin’s battle for Supreme Court. Opponents don’t take shots at candidates in last place; they take aim at the one on top.
Milwaukee’s WTMJ 4 released a story regarding a case where Judge Dorow sentenced a domestic abuse perpetrator to four months in jail for three misdemeanor charges related to domestic violence. The court ordered the defendant to report to jail within two days to serve his time. Unfortunately, the perpetrator traveled to Crete, Illinois, and assaulted his ex-wife’s parents, according to a Sheriff’s report.
The untold story? In many misdemeanor cases throughout Wisconsin, it is common practice for defendants to be given future ‘report-in dates’ with regularity. Some defendants do not report for their jail sentences for weeks at a time while waiting for a bed to become available.
In the case cited by WTMJ, I do not contest the facts. Read them for yourself. The issue? WTMJ fails to provide for you, the viewer, the entire context. What WTMJ has failed to provide for you are similar reports related to the two other liberal circuit court judges in Milwaukee and Dane counties. What WTMJ has failed to explain is that the standard practice is that future ‘report-in dates’ are commonplace in the criminal justice system, especially for misdemeanor offenses. In some counties, offenders are sentenced to jail, only to later receive home detention on an electronic monitoring bracelet. WTMJ neglected to mention that little tidbit as well in their attack piece on Judge Dorow.
Interestingly, WTMJ sets us up with an expectation: That judges are somehow clairvoyant. Reality check! Judges are not. Truth is that no circuit court judge has a crystal ball to see the future. Judges can only deal with the facts presented to them. If the state fails to provide certain details to the court, or the defense demonstrates reliability on the part of a defendant, a circuit court judge must make the best decision based upon the information presented at the time of sentencing.
In this particular case, while Judge Dorow gave him two more days to report to jail to serve a four-month sentence, the truth is that Judge Dorow gave this offender an onerous jail term. As noted by former Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske, jail time is less common for first-time offenders and for misdemeanor convictions to begin with.
Dorow responded to the story in the following manner: ‘First off, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims for a speedy and full recovery. (Editor’s Note: The defendant stabbed his mother-in-law and father-in-law before the father-in-law took the knife and stabbed the defendant 14 times.) In this case, I sentenced Mr. Liu to jail despite it being his first offense. It’s unfortunate he did not report to jail as ordered and instead went to Illinois.’
Reality is that Judge Jennifer Dorow has presided over literally thousands of cases. Was she 100% perfect in all of them? Of course not. Every case demands an individualized approach. Voters need to see more than a single case before drawing conclusions and submitting a full appraisal.
In the case of the criminal justice system, there are always calculated risks. Not every case is a no brainer like the Parade Killer. Everyone (except maybe Mandela Barnes) agreed that his bail was way too low. However, not a single person could have conceived or predicted what he would do next. No one.
In the highlighted case, who could have predicted what the perpetrator would do? As a first-time offender, he received a 2-day ‘report-in date’, WTMJ also did not mention that the prosecutor dismissed and read-in five counts, including a felony stalking count and then recommended probation. Furthermore, as an engineer with several character letters including his own employer, the defendant noticeably provided not an inkling of evidence that he would go rogue and re-attack the victim and her family members.
What’s more? The defendant will now have to deal with the wrath of Judge Dorow in the future because he received ‘withheld’ sentences where he must again re-appear in Judge Dorow’s court. Will WTMJ be present to report on the maximum sentences that this offender will receive when he again faces the court eye to eye?
So, how will people react? Perhaps, many will be misguided by these media attacks, playing directly into the hands of Judge Dorow’s opponents.
What conclusions can we draw? Well, first of all, if you dig deep enough, you’re simply going to find less than ‘ideal’ rulings out of any busy circuit court judge with years of experience like Judge Dorow. I challenge you to find any judicial candidate with a flawless record. Every Supreme Court candidate with real life experience and a judicial record have had to make calculated decisions. It’s the nature of the job. The most important thing is that we have judges with experience who have been in the trenches… folks who know what it’s like on the front lines.
Secondly, when it comes to judicial races, it’s a sound judicial philosophy that is the key. Liberals follow a squishy relativist ‘living constitutionalism’ philosophy which is known more for its incoherence and uncritical intellectual leniency than for sound, conservative, textualist conventions of interpreting constitutional law and statutes.
Another takeaway? Well, ask yourself, what makes this Judge Dorow hit piece especially interesting? I, for one, have never seen the left-wing mainstream medium, in this case—TMJ4, respond with such rabid rapidity to a story. After all, the Left champions the idea of light sentences and low bail.
Well, if you think about it, at least two things must be true.
First is that the Left must be really scared of Judge Dorow. The Left knows that she will crush either of their two loser candidates, IF (and only if) she makes it through the primary. But, if the Left can get conservatives to jump ship early and often, then their liberal candidates will not have to face her. That’s their hope and their ultimate end game.
Sadly, there is something else that is probably true. It very well could be that the Left-wing media was fed the story from someone within our own Conservative ranks. I am aware of a list of story angles being ‘shopped’ around by the opposition in an effort to create a false narrative and weaken Judge Dorow as the front-runner. We saw this same playbook earlier this year, and unsurprisingly, the same cast of characters may well be involved. Some Conservative candidates have a sense of entitlement…as well as a ‘how dare another candidate enter the race and challenge me’ mentality.
Folks, it is time to set pride aside. It is time to come together. Stop the hyperbolic stories. Focus on the task at hand: Keeping Liberals from ruining the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Folks, no pattern has been established. Judge Jennifer Dorow is not a ‘squishy’ judge. She has a sound, conservative judicial philosophy. We all saw how she handled one of the most contentious trials in recent memory… with skill and class. Also, remember, were she less of a public servant, she would never have been re-elected twice in Waukesha County. Neither would she have been selected to serve as the chief judge for the 2nd Judicial District.
Her judicial colleagues have faith in her. She well deserves and merits our consideration, also.