Friday, September 01, 2006

Jensen Attorney Wants Restitution Dismissed

Dane County DA Brian Blanchard's filing yesterday seeking more than a half million in restitution from the three defendants in the caucus scandal convictions was in response to a request last Friday from Scott Jensen's attorney that the restitution requirement be eliminated in the case.

Stephen Meyer, the attorney for the former Republican Assembly Speaker, cites a letter from Assembly Chief Clerk Patrick Fuller to Blanchard saying since prior to 2001 legislative staff were not required to keep detailed time sheets, or a system of tracking the cost of state equipment or resources. Because of this, Fuller said he does not have records that could determine a damage amount. (You can see the correspondence between Blanchard and Fuller by clicking on the above "request" link and scrolling down.)

Meyer said that statutes place "the burden of demonstrating by preponderance of the evidence the amount of loss sustained by a victim as a result of the crime is on the victim (the Wisconsin Assembly). They have indicated they are unable to meet this burden."

Blanchard is also seeking more than $160,000 in attorneys fees paid for the trio by the Assembly Chief Clerk; $67,147 for Jensen, $27,981 for Foti, and $68,629 for Schultz.

At the time of the sentencing, Meyer states, Dane County Judge Steven Ebert ordered Blanchard to submit a restitution order within 45 days. It was to be served upon defense counsel within 90 days of the sentencing on May 16. Meyer had not received a proposed order as of the filing of the memo last Friday, and therefore Blanchard violated the order of the court.

"The accused can only conclude that the only explanation for the failue of the District Attorney to provide a proposed restitution order and itemization in support of that order is due to the fact that it recognizes that the victim in this case is unable to meet its burden of proof," said Meyer.

Meyer said Ebert should cancel the restitution hearing, scheduled for next Friday, and eliminate restitution as a requirement in the case. Failing that, Ebert should direct Blanchard to provide an order with supporting itemization and reschedule the hearing for a later time to give defense counsel to prepare, Meyer said.

Schultz's attorney, Stephen Morgan, joined Meyer in the motion.

An aide in Ebert's office said he has not ruled on Meyer's request, and won't do so until next week.

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