Can a liberal Dane County judge win statewide election?

Do candidates campaign as being tough on crime, any more? Even candidates for judgeships? Not if they’re from Dane County, apparently.

The race for Wisconsin Supreme Court pits incumbent Daniel Kelly, a conservative jurist, against two liberals. 

Vote icon

Tues., Feb. 18

Jill Karofsky is a Dane County Circuit judge in good standing with her Madison-based political allies — people like “Cops Out of Schools” Ali Muldrow, Justified Anger’s Alex Gee, Judge Everett Mitchell, and Dane County’s liberal Democratic state legislative delegation. And, of course, Dane County’s challenged district attorney, Ishmael Ozanne.

The other supreme court challenger is Ed Fallone of Milwaukee, who touts the backing of a number of hispanic organizations, including Voces de la Frontera. He’s also backed by Milwaukee Democratic state senators Tim Carpenter and Chris Larson and that hard hat with the mustache guy, Randy Bryce. (Remember him?)

The primary election Tuesday, February 18, will winnow the three down to two.

Beat a cop, get probation

Madison journalist Matt Kittle is up with a story headlined, “Karofsky goes easy on police attackers.” 

In at least five separate cases, Karofsky withheld sentence for the violent offenders, instead ordering parole for crimes that carried a maximum of six years in prison, according to case files obtained by Empower Wisconsin.

Martin J. Jacob, 17, was arrested in February 2019 on felony charges of battery to a law enforcement officer and possession of narcotics. He was also charged with obstructing a police officer and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon. While Madison police officers were arresting Jacob, he head-butted a female law enforcement official, giving her a “very noticeable bruise on the right side of her forehead.”

Karofsky found Jacob guilty of battery, but gave him two years probation instead of a prison sentence. Granting the terms of a plea deal, the judge dismissed five other counts, including possession of heroin, cocaine, and carrying a concealed weapon.

Last month, Jacob was charged with battery with use of a dangerous weapon, and disorderly conduct. Karofsky is again the presiding judge.

Kittle reports that Karofsky has said she will be a social justice advocate who, if elected, would use her seat on the court as a bully pulpit for criminal justice reform.

Waukesha County resident Daniel Kelly, by contrast, got the endorsement of the Milwaukee Police Assn., which represents 1,600 uniformed officers. No word yet on Madison police union’s endorsement.

Who do YOU support?

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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16 Responses to Can a liberal Dane County judge win statewide election?

  1. dad29 says:

    Do candidates campaign as being tough on crime, any more?

    Yes. Republicans do it all the time, and double-cross the electorate every time, too. On WISN today, Belling described how an Ass committee removed all the teeth from a “crime” bill with the effect that there will be almost ZERO chance of revoking probation if the criminal offends again.

    Nygren, Ott, and the Yacht-Lady Duchow voted for this abomination.

    So. Yes, they campaign on “crime.” Then they commit it during session.


  2. BALBOA says:

    Went to middleton high school with her children back in the 80s. Good kids. I have no doubt if the homogenous middleton school district was more like MMSD i would have never known her children. They would have been at edgewood from start to finish. Cut the crap. Get out and vote Kelly

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paula Fitz says:

      Balboa, I suspect you’re right. It’s easy to be ideological when you don’t have to live in the mess you’ve helped create.


  3. Paula Fitz says:

    The pro-criminal / tie law enforcement’s collective hands platform is one of the reasons I’m finding it more difficult to vote Democratic these days. They weren’t always this way.


  4. George Parrino says:

    Tough on crime? Like the US DOJ complaining Rodger Stone’s sentence is to harsh, like republican senators saying yes, what the republican administration did was wrong and broke the law, but why punish him. Like this blog constantly harping on the lack of discipline in Madison’s schools, yet saying nothing on the lack of discipline of republicans in DC.


    • David Blaska says:

      Not to mention the coronavirus, which I am surprised you didn’t.


    • Paula Fitz says:

      George, not sure we’re on the same page. We’re referring to public safety crimes, such as assaults, murders, rapes, burglaries, and such.

      The examples you mentioned are separate issues and a Dane County judge would have no jurisdiction over them.


      • George Parrino says:

        White collar crimes are still crimes aren’t they? and in some cases may lead to deaths. A State Supreme Court Justice might have to rule on “White Collar” crimes.


        • Paula Fitz says:

          Yes, but you’re comparing apples to oranges. For this specific post, we’re talking about an appointment to the WISCONSIN Supreme Court. You’re referring to FEDERAL crimes.

          A Supreme Court Justice might indeed need to rule on white collar crimes, and I want that person to fairly apply the law as they would to public safety crimes. My focus, for now, is on PUBLIC SAFETY crimes.

          Based on Judge Karofsky’s rulings in Dane County, I’m not confident in her ability to do what’s right for public safety; can’t speak to her abilities on white collar crimes.

          That said, I don’t think politics should have a role in any judicial position. I find it troubling.


  5. Paula Fitz says:

    Will be interesting to see who MPPOA endorses.


  6. George's Son says:

    Yep, “restorative justice” at its best. Check any felon in Dane County, a juvie or a kid just outta HS the last 5 years, and ya see the same thing: MANY violent crime court cases still “open”…. OR adjudicated with probation. “Community Service? Not even…. More likely “1st Offender’s Program”…

    Yep, give us MORE of that criminal justice reform that is workin’ so well… Don’t fergit to lay on some “White Guilt” too.

    As far as the police union? As you & Paula have reiterated over time, they will emulate turtles and ostriches.


  7. Sprocket says:

    the judge dismissed five other counts, including possession of heroin, cocaine, and carrying a concealed weapon.

    Liberals: Punishing people who commit crimes while armed is bad, because of reasons and stuff.

    Also liberals: We demand you give your rights, because of safety and stuff. Think of the children.

    Kamala is a great example of this. If you were a criminal in San Francisco and got arrested with a stolen firearm, you could expect the weapons charges to be pled away or get, on average 90 days in jail. This was at the same time she wanted the police inspecting legal gun owners homes. It’s not about safety, it’s about control.


  8. dad29 says:

    would use her seat on the court as a bully pulpit for criminal justice reform.
    She would also use it for “reproductive rights for women”. Seems to me that that issue is moot for at least the next 5-10 years, but there you are.


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