‘Skin in the game’
On Dec. 12, I went to the sentencing of Timothy Riley. Mr. Riley had been convicted by a jury of disorderly conduct (repeater); felony bail jumping (repeater); felony substantial battery intend bodily harm (repeater); and felony bail jumping (repeater).
Grant County Circuit Judge Craig Day opened the hearing to address a five-page letter that he, the district attorney and defense lawyer had received from me. This letter addressed concerns over what Mr. Riley should receive in sentencing and several concerns commenting on Judge Day’s handling of the case. District Attorney Lisa Riniker gave her opinion that it should be “considered for what it is.” The defense lawyer was not asked his opinion.
Judge Day said he did not read my letter and would not consider it. He said I had “no skin in the game.” He said my information was old. He also said if he let my letter in, he would have to allow letters from “anti-prison people” or “anti-government people.”
Excuse me! I was astonished at his violation of my citizen rights to free speech and petitioning government to redress grievances of his court.
I did not request to testify verbally or as an “expert witness.” My letter did disclose I was a former probation agent of Mr. Riley. I came just as a common “Joe Citizen” who follows violent criminals like Riley and am concerned over lenient sentencing Judges like Judge Day.
In my opinion, I was also subjected to a lot of negative body language and negative facial expressions from the court when Judge Day issued his opinion. I felt like I was being sentenced by rejection for doing a public service.
The letter was short, other than four pages of Mr. Riley’s criminal record from online court records, along with a few comments in the margins. I also requested a presentence investigation (social history) be done, and questioned Mr. Riley about being out on bond pending sentencing, saying he should have been remanded into custody.
Judge Day sentenced Mr. Riley to a total of four years and 90 days of incarceration and three years of extended supervision (other sentences were concurrent to a previous probation or the above sentences). D.A. Riniker recommended almost seven years of incarceration and several years of extended supervision. I recommended a sentence of three to five years of imprisonment and five to seven years of extended supervision for a total of 10 years.
The bottom line: In the future I will file a judicial misconduct allegation against Judge Day for any additional unethical/unconstitutional violations of my civil rights as a citizen. I am forwarding a copy of this letter to the Chief Judge in Day’s judicial district.
Scott M. Martin
Scott Martin is a retired probation and parole agent.
‘Regular Joes like me’
What lies can you find on both sides of Chestnut Street between Main Street and Pine Street? Apparently there is no transparency; only visions of grandeur in the minds of the profiteers.
The use of smoke and mirrors belies the shell game used to confuse and then steal away the concerns of the citizens.
How many twists and turns must we endure as they stretch us out like taffy while they laugh fat and sassy all the way to the bank?
Pull the wool over your eyes as they slip a noose around my neck and say relax, it’s going to be a great ride. They plan to seat over 700 people at the pizza parlor spectacle. But I must warn you to come early to avoid the congestion. The car parking plan at Steve’s Pizza left only room for 11.
Barriers put in place for some, while others seem preordained with the city’s blessings. I pay my taxes and don’t ask for much. Are rights to be granted based on the size of the window dressing?
I hope in all fairness movers and shakers and regular Joes like me should want to be treated equally. The pizza consortium had months to prepare for the Plan Commission decision on Dec. 7. As for me, I was given a day to prepare for a stay of execution.
The city council now deliberates the pros and cons of the pizza parlor pipe dream. I think what crazy person would take on such a thankless action. Whatever their decision is sure to bring forth a divisive reaction. Transparency is the key that would have alleviated the anxiety. Transparency in this city seems to me … sadly … lacking.
Appreciation of police
This is to express our appreciation of the Platteville Police Department for their assistance in locating the individual who trashed our Christmas decorations, and particularly Officers Sam Vandevort and Andrea Droessler. The Police Department will be receiving a $50 donation. We also appreciate everyone who shared the pictures of the vandalism.
Jared called us tonight and hand delivered an apology that reads:
“Dear Leighty Family and Platteville Community:
“I am sincerely sorry for the actions I committed to your Christmas display Friday night. I fully respect the hard work that is put into your display. The bright lights bring holiday cheer to the community and truly lift the spirits of the people who drive by. Actions such as this are regretful, and I take full responsibility. The damage done is disrespectful to your family, but also to the Platteville community. I went across the line of public decency which holds communities together as a whole. I hope this does not scare you from putting up lights in the future as it encourages the community to rejoice in the joy of the holidays. I hope we can move on from this and enjoy the holidays as we should. Sincerely, Jared.”
We talked with Jared and he has never been in trouble before. He doesn’t even remember all his actions that night. As we do not wish to put this on his record, we just asked for an apology to us and to all those that enjoy our lights. And so that he realizes all the effort that goes into the display, he will be helping Kevin take down the lights after the holiday season.
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