hearts and minds

March 16, 2009

Ozaukee County Circuit Court Judge – Contested Election Tuesday April7

Filed under: Courts and Justice,Politics & elections — Hearts & Minds @ 7:23 pm

On Tuesday April 7, 2009 for the first time in thirty years, voters will have a choice in a contested election for judge for our Ozaukee County Circuit Court, which is the first stop in the judicial system for civil and criminal legal matters under state law. I urge that you help get out the vote for Darcy McManus. I have several reasons.

While both candidates have law degrees, and have practiced as attorneys, I believe Darcy (as a National Merit Scholar and graduate, with honors, from a state University law school) is the most intelligent candidate. She is also the only candidate with any actual judicial experience. Darcy has served 15 years on the bench as the Ozaukee County Court Commissioner. She has served as President of the Wisconsin Family Court Commissioner’s Association, and member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court Planning and Policy Advisory Committee. She also comes across, in person, as the least arrogant judicial candidate, and the one most sensitive to the essential fact that the law is meant, first and foremost, to serve and protect people. Darcy has a heart, and our Ozaukee County Circuit Court and Justice Center needs that.
See http://www.darcymcmanusforjudge.com for Darcy McManus’ profile of professional and community service and experience, and to offer your needed help and support.

In recent years, the Ozaukee County District Attorney has prosecuted several cases of teenagers or pre-teens for alleged “sexual assault” in Circuit Court, where the supposed “victims” have been close to the same age as the individual charged, and it is a stretch to describe the alleged conduct as either “sexual” or as an “assault”. The prosecution itself can be fairly characterized as over-zealous, and the consequences have been contrary to the interests of justice, and harmful to the people directly involved and the community. I believe Darcy McManus would take steps to ensure that criminal matters brought to a courtroom for which she is responsible would be carefully considered to protect the community and the people, and not just the sometimes imperfect letter of the law. I believe Judge McManus would help to make the Justice Center a more helpful and humane place than it is now. See the footnote at the end of this for more on prosecutions of this nature in Ozaukee County.

In the past thirty years, new judges taking office in the Ozaukee Circuit Court have been appointed after service in a District Attorney’s office. An appointment occurs (instead of an election) when a vacancy occurs mid-term, and that “just happens” to be how each vacancy has occurred and been filled for thirty years. When election time comes around, we voters have then been presented with a “fait accompli”, and an unopposed “incumbent” who easily wins “re-election”. This has been especially “convenient” in Ozaukee when vacancies occur while the sitting governor is a member of the local Party in power. In the past, the Governor has appointed a successor, pleasing to the local Party, right out of the partisan political office of District Attorney.

Darcy McManus’ opponent has long experience as a prosecutor, but that is Sandy Williams only professional legal experience. Darcy herself has 15 years judicial experience as Court Commissioner, besides previous professional experience as a prosecutor for the City of Port Washington, as a defense attorney, and in private practice.

Darcy’s opponent has been a campaigner and a very active member of a partisan political party. Darcy, in contrast, is not and has not been a member of any political party. A Judge can be expected to have personal opinions, including political points of view, but a Judge should certainly not be a partisan politician.

If Judge McCormack had resigned mid-term (like all predecessors did), and if the sitting Governor had been a Republican, you can safely bet that Sandy Williams would have been appointed to fill the vacancy, as in the past, and the people would again have had no choice in who would be the next judge, as has been the case for the last thirty years.

So I’m voting for Darcy McManus because I think she has the:
• most qualification (15 years on the bench as a Court Commissioner),
• most intelligence, combined with the most genuine humility,
• best melding of judicial firmness, discipline, temperament, compassion,
• least partisan political bias,
• will to bring proper judicial perspective to punitive, harsh criminal prosecution and punishment of Ozaukee County children who have perhaps been foolish, but are not (yet) dangerous or incorrigible, and who still have a future worth preserving.

Disclaimer: This letter was written at no expense, entirely and only by Clyde Winter of Cedarburg, unaffiliated with any candidate or political party or interest group, to express my concerns and opinions about the current and unique contested Ozaukee County Circuit Court non-partisan election.


While the teen-age sexual assault cases referred to above are not at all identical, there are a couple of things that leap to mind when learning about each and every one of them. First, there is the unavoidable question, “Where is the “assault”, here?” The alleged behavior may be, or border on, unwise, ill considered, and/or foolish. In some eyes, it may even be excessively so. The alleged behavior may require parental or societal guidance or correction, with the possible help of teachers, counselors, or spiritual advisers. But whether you are Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, strict or permissive, the circumstances of these several cases do not call out for criminal prosecution for “sexual assault”, and all the life-long consequences.

Behavior identical or similar to that alleged in these cases has been very common in youthful behavior – and misbehavior – for many, many generations. Even if not fully accepted as ideal or even acceptable, it is extremely rare that such behavior is prosecuted under criminal law – at least in my lifetime and in America. But in Ozaukee County, we have been seeing a consistent pattern of such atypical prosecution and persecutions of working class youth by our Circuit Court.

Our current Circuit Court Judges, and the District Attorney’s office, have done nothing to arrest this trend and pattern. Instead there are expressions of denial, asserting that such prosecutions are merely following “the letter of the law”, and there is no room for discretion. But that is untrue. Prosecutions have been pressed on these strange cases despite the unanimous opposition of the supposed “victims” as well as parents of the “victim”. Excessive bail has been charged, out of proportion with much more serious, dangerous cases. Young people who have fully cooperated with investigators, and who have never been in trouble with the law before, have even been jailed, even without bail, and prosecuted as an adult, despite being a minor at the time of the alleged incident.

These are cases involving children of the same age, or nearly the same age, engaging in romance, games, or horse-play. But if the person named by the court as the “victim” is a minor under the law, the person named as the perpetrator (even if also a minor) can be charged with “sexual assault on a minor” (subject to the court and prosecutor’s discretion), which can carry a sentence on conviction, of 40 years in prison, and reporting requirements with public notice as a sex offender for the rest of ones life.

How is the Circuit Court learning of these “cases”. Are local doctors or clinics and hospitals reporting pregnancies they suspect to be out of wedlock to courts or the police? Are local teachers or school administrators or religious zealots directly informing the police, the D.A., or the courts when they suspect children are playing inappropriately?

These cases should never be prosecuted, unless there are accompanying seriously aggravating circumstances. But harsh injustice and unfairness results when teen-age romance and hi-jinks are prosecuted, like they are now in Ozaukee County, partly because the cases that surface are highly unlikely to ever involve prosecution (much less conviction) of children of very wealthy or well-connected families. And those kids can be just as unwise, and fool around just like all children can.

Inappropriate behavior of teenagers should be corrected, and punished, if appropriate, but that does not have to mean initiating a felony prosecution, affixing a “sex offender” label, and issuing draconian court orders.

Two of these cases are further discussed in the first two articles below:


  1. […] Compare the actual qualifications of candidates Darcy McManus and Sandy Williams running to be the first woman Judge ever on the Ozaukee Circuit Court. See and hear both McManus and Williams at the Candidates Forum in the Mequon Weyenberg Library on April 1 at 7 PM. Read the reasons I endorse Darcy McManus for Judge. […]

    Pingback by SOLOMON’S DILEMMA and the 2009 JUDICIAL ELECTIONS « hearts and minds — March 16, 2009 @ 7:29 pm | Reply

  2. I’ve been driving around Ozaukee County noticing signs for Sandy Williams and McManus for judge. I don’t know McManus, but do know of Sandy Williams and don’t want her to become an Ozaukee County judge. So to become informed, I googled “Ozaukee County Judge Race” and found your entry. It was very informative. It gave me some background on Darcy McManus, and also reminded me of why I had negative feelings toward Sandy Williams. It’s too bad she will probably win in April, (this is Ozaukee County, after all) I now will feel completely comfortable voting for Darcy McManus. I could never bring myself to vote strictly against someone, without knowing the opponent was a far better choice.

    Comment by Toni — March 31, 2009 @ 7:26 pm | Reply

  3. Go Ms. Williams!
    Some people do not respect the law – I guess when you break the law it’s very hard to respect it!

    Comment by Co — April 5, 2009 @ 11:36 pm | Reply

  4. Thanks for the post. It was very informative and helped me decide on who should get my vote.

    Comment by Jordan — April 7, 2009 @ 3:26 pm | Reply

  5. Way to go Clyde Winter. Unlike Co’s comment above regarding respect, I believe you have to have common sense. There is no black and white when it comes to the law and who should be charged and with what they should be charged with. This is up to the DA. It’s uneducated to say “I guess when you break the law it’s very hard to respect it”, When the decision on if a law was even broken is made by one person, based soley on how they feel about the situation or even possibably just having a bad day. For Co, please get a grip on reality. This is Ozaukee and that type of thinking is our problem with this county. Darcy has proven over and over again that she is fair, she does have common sense and is not trying to just please thinkers in Ozaukee county who do not seem to understand that we need to go after the serious issues not petty issues of two teenagers in love who happen to only have a birthday that falls outside the guidelines of the outdated laws. Two kids who say, are 16 and 18 will receive punishment by Sandy Williams, if they were 18 and 54 this wouldn’t be an issue. Make sense????? No.

    Comment by Susan — April 7, 2009 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

  6. Commissioner McManus would have been bad for Ozaukee County. Commissioner McManus refused to enforce a court order even though the other party admitted to being in violation. Her reason: “She did not like it the court order”. Those who have been in front of her for the past 15 years know she is bais and cares very little for the saftey of children. Sandy will protect our future. Clyde, it is unfortunate that you find it okay for a 16 year old to have sex if his/her partner is 18. What if she was 10 and he was 12, would that be okay too? No child should be having sex.

    Comment by Mike — April 14, 2009 @ 9:53 am | Reply

  7. Mike, I didn’t say it was “OK”. I said it was NOT OK, under the circumstances, to prosecute the 18 year old in criminal court, and it was NOT OK to initiate a court order to forbid the couple from getting married (as both families and both kids intended) and forbid the young man from having any contact with the mother-to-be during the pregnancy, let alone charge him with the extremely serious felony of “repeated sexual assault of a minor”.

    The circumstances were that they were both in high school together and both were “in love” – or, maybe just “in lust” with each other. The circumstances were that the boy (now a young man) took responsibility and acted commendably when the pregnancy became known to him. The circumstances were that the families of both children resolved the problem they were confronting, in a way that no one can fault, and did so peaceably and responsibly and in mutual agreement – until the Ozaukee County D.A. got wind of it and got the government and the criminal court involved.

    The charge of “repeated” sexual assault became available when the kids cooperatively and honestly answered questions about their relationship that further incriminated the young man, and that the D.A. then used to outrageously employ even more severe felony charges.

    The outcome of this overzealous unwise prosecution was appalling, and only a small part of the tragedy was mitigated by ameliorative action taken by others in other capacities. But that’s another story, and I’m probably not the one to tell it.

    The question before us is not whether children should be having sex. The question is whether and when (and with what punitive vigor, in those rare cases it’s called for) children “having sex” should be prosecuted in criminal court.

    Comment by clydewinter — April 14, 2009 @ 11:44 am | Reply

  8. Great post Clyde, too Bad for Ozaukee County residents that Commissioner McManus did not get elected. Everyone I know in this county refers to Sandy Williams as a destroyer of lives and that is often followed by other unpleasant adjectives, but the problem is not enough people get out to vote and Ozaukee County being the smallest county in WI is also known for being the most corrupt with only 3 judges as the deciders of these kids futures and our futures. I know of 3 businesses moving to West Bend because they refuse to continue to put money into Ozaukee county because of their distaste for the judicial system. As a prosecutor Sandy williams is known to prosecute at all costs because it’s about winning at any costs and not about justice so now that she is a judge many more lives will likely be destroyed. I too plan on leaving this county and not soon enough.

    Comment by Sandra — May 26, 2009 @ 10:15 am | Reply

  9. Rather delayed in responding, yet I just found this webpage. Listen, it doesn’t matter who becomes judge…the system is predatory and corrupt. The judicial system is intimately linked to other state political branches, insomuch as it manipulates a cycle of ongoing offenders, in order to draw monies (in the form of fines) from the citizenry as income for the state. It has less to do with applying justice, as it has to do with porcuring income for the state. Also, what justice is commissioner Mcmanus doling out, when she receives finacial renumeration from a private enterprise, for each and every teenager she refers for useless online drug and alcohol classes? his isn’t justice, it’s finacial gain at the expense of offenders….shameful.

    Comment by Bob — December 2, 2009 @ 1:39 pm | Reply

    • I have no idea what this unspecified allegation concerning “financial renumeration (sic) from a private enterprise” is about. Like anything else, just because you see something in print doesn’t mean it is either accurate or the whole story.

      Comment by clydewinter — December 2, 2009 @ 6:14 pm | Reply

  10. Clyde:
    Sandy Williams progressed from misprision of felony in 2001 to covering up her own misconduct in public office and attempting to shut up and incarcerate a victim of crime in 2011. Williams and Adam Gerol are accused of “retaliation against a victim or witness of crime”, a very egregious crime. That earned her top billing in a federal lawsuit filed in 2012, and her very own web page at OzaukeeMob.org.
    The following is an email recently sent to all Wisconsin legislators:

    Corrupt judges, lawyers and LEO’s: Legal cesspool in Wisconsin.

    A massive federal lawsuit dubbed the “800 Lb Gorilla” exposed the corrupt Public Officers of The Ozaukee County MOB.

    Why do public officers steal? Short Answer: They lost their moral compass.
    Why do they cover up crimes of other Public Officers? Answer: Moral turpitude.

    This affects you. You have been lied to. Corrupt Public Officers affect everybody.

    Public Officers are Trustees of the Public Trust. They owe the utmost fidelity to the Constitutions to which they swore an oath. Their only lawful purpose is to protect the rights of the people to life, liberty, and property.

    Website Executive Summary: http://www.ozaukeemob.org/prologue.html

    Learn what the courts say about the duties and liabilities of Public Officers by reading and then sharing the Memorandum of Law, Exhibit “O” (Word or Pdf formats). http://www.ozaukeemob.org/exhibit-o-memorandum-of-law.html

    If you were illegally, unlawfully, viciously swatted out of your home by false-swearing public officers, as Steve Magritz and his wife were, you too would appreciate the necessity of public officers honoring and obeying their sworn oath to support the state and federal Constitutions.

    If the life’s work of both you and your parents was stolen at gunpoint under false pretenses and turned into a County park without paying you a dime, you too would demand public officers observe the utmost fidelity to the Constitutions, which prohibit such lawlessness.

    The lawless Sheriff, Maury Straub, announced his “retirement”.
    Ozaukee County Corporation Counsel Dennis Kenealy forced to resign.
    Corrupt officers of the court: http://www.ozaukeemob.org/ corrupt-judges-da–attys.html.
    Hear the Chairman of the County Board threaten a KRLA Investigative Reporter.
    Read about the VCY America and Jim Doyle connection.
    Independent Investigative Reporter radio broadcasts of interviews with MOB members, and MUCH, MUCH more at: http://www.OzaukeeMOB.org
    Sign up for updates on the contact page.

    When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty. — Thomas Jefferson.

    Comment by The Informer — October 12, 2013 @ 6:14 pm | Reply

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