Judge Thomas Donegan Hugs The Juneteenth Day Thug
On June 19, 2007 Marcus Chisolm jumped on top of a vehicle driven by 43 year old businessman Pat Kasthurirangaian. Kasthurirangaian had the misfortune of driving his vehicle in the area of 1st and Burleigh as the annual melee known as Juneteenth Day was dispersing. Chisolm smashed the front window of the Kasthurirangaian's car and brutally assaulted him as he tried to flee for his life.
The story made national headlines.
What didn't make headlines though was how the case was resolved.
On January 3, 2008 Chisolm pleaded guilty to Aggravated Battery with the intent to commit Great Bodily Harm (Party to a Crime). He was looking at up to 15 years in prison.
On February 22, 2008 Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Thomas Donegan initially sentenced Chisolm to spend two years in the Wisconsin State Prison System (with credit for 238 days time served) to be followed by 3 years of extended supervision. Two years for this beating - with credit for time served!
Wait though - it gets better.
After imposing the original sentence, Judge Donegan promptly suspended it and put Chisolm on probation for a period of 4 years with the condition that he spend the first year in the Milwaukee House of Correction. In other words, no prison time at all!
Let's be honest. The duration of the sentence in and of itself is a joke. Moreover, staying the sentence is ridiculous.
If Judge Donegan sincerely believed that Chisolm deserved 5 years in prison (which I believe should have been a minimum), he should have sent him there. Dumping a violent offender like this in the House of Correction for twelve months (where MIlwaukee County taxpayers pick up the tab) is a complete cop out. Further what do you want to bet that when the defendant is released back into the community, he won't come close to meeting the conditions of his probation - and nevertheless won't be held accountable.
We will never get a handle on violent crime in this community until judges stop hugging the thugs that appear before them. Marcus Chisolm severely injured a man who simply made the mistake of driving down a public thoroughfare. Instead of sentencing Chisolm to anything close to the maximum, the judge in this case imposed a sentence which insures that Chisolm will be back on the streets well in advance of Juneteenth Day 2009.
That's something that law abiding citizens should really be looking forward to.