Monday, June 19, 2006

Hearing Today to Determine if Jensen Remains Free During Appeal

There is much at stake for former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen at his hearing this morning, particularly whether or not he will be allowed to remain a free man while he appeals his conviction on felony charges of misconduct in office.

At the same time, his co-defendant, Sherry Schultz, has begun to serve her four-month home confinement sentence and is on electronic monitoring. She has, however, filed a notice of post-conviction relief with Dane County Judge Steven Ebert. The filing keeps the door open for a possible appeal, according to her lawyer.

"We certainly disagreed all along with many of the rulings that were made prior to and during the trial," said attorney Stephen Morgan. "She has ended up being convicted of a felony, and we want to reserve our rights to appeal that at some point in the future."

Schultz's felony conviction for misconduct in office also carries with it a five-year probation.

Jensen's attorneys are trying to keep their client out of prison until his appeal is settled. They are arguing that his 15-month sentence would likely be completed before the appellate process is over.

The motion hearing in the case is scheduled for today at 10:30 a.m. Jensen is scheduled to report to jail on July 15 if his appeal is unsuccessful.

"If ... Mr. Jensen's conviction is overturned, failure to grant bond pending appeal will be the cause of an irreparable injustice. Nothing can or will ever replace the damage done to Mr. Jensen and his young family," the attorneys wrote.

In a filing earlier this month, Dane County DA Brian Blanchard argued that Jensen "did do violence to the trust necessary to a democratic system of government" and shouldn't be out on the streets.

"While it is more difficult for him to facilitate or participate directly in official misconduct now that he is no longer a public official, his belief that he did nothing wrong represents a risk that he will engage in other fraudulent conduct, because he believes he is entitled to do so," Blanchard wrote.

"The State's suggestion that Mr. Jensen poses a present danger to the community is, to say the least, overreaching," say Jensen's attorneys and "manifests an unfortunately skewed zealousness."

See the Jensen team's filing: http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/060906_Jensen_Reply_Brief.pdf

See the Blanchard filing from June 2: http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/060602jensen.pdf

See the Schultz filing: http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/061506SchultzFiling.pdf

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