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Across the Region: April 6


Fundraising tightens in Supreme Court race in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, left, and her challenger, James Daley, speak briefly before a Dane County Bar Association-sponsored debate March 24 in Madison. (AP photo: Wisconsin State Journal)

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, left, and her challenger, James Daley, speak briefly before a Dane County Bar Association-sponsored debate March 24 in Madison. (AP photo: Wisconsin State Journal)

Wisconsin Supreme Court hopeful James Daley boosted his cash over the last two months but incumbent Justice Ann Walsh Bradley still held the overall money edge as their race entered its final two weeks, according to figures their campaigns released Monday.

Daley’s campaign, however, reported he raised about $148,500 over the most recent reporting period and had $214,100 on hand. Previous reports show Daley raised $65,000 during January and had about $88,400 on hand as of Feb. 2.

Bradley’s campaign reported raising $380,696 with $281,000 on hand. Previous reports show she raised about $109,000 in January and had $352,900 in the bank as of Feb. 2.

The election is April 7.

The race between Daley, a Rock County circuit judge, and Bradley, a two-term incumbent on the high court, has been fairly low-key; no matter who wins, it won’t change the high court’s ideological tilt. Four of the current seven justices lean conservative, with Bradley and Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson generally seen as the liberal minority.

Supreme Court justices are officially nonpartisan, but Daley and Bradley have spent most of the race trying to brand each other as too political.

Bradley has accused Daley of openly courting Republican support, keying on his decision to accept a $7,000 in-kind contribution from the state GOP and his appearances at a number of county-level Republican Party functions. Daley has labeled Bradley an activist. He’s taken her to task for dissenting in decisions upholding Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s signature law that ended collective bargaining for most public workers and the state’s Republican-authored voter photo identification law.


U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear pastor’s appeal in abuse case

The Supreme Court has turned away an appeal from a Wisconsin pastor convicted of conspiracy to commit child abuse for advocating the use of wooden rods to spank children.

The justices had no comment on their order Monday rejecting Philip Caminiti’s appeal of his 2012 conviction for urging church members to use so-called “rod discipline” on babies and toddlers.

Caminiti argued that prosecutors violated his religious freedom and the rights of parents to decide how to discipline their children.

The Wisconsin state appeals court ruled last year that a jury could have reasonably inferred that Caminiti’s teachings produced lawless action. The lower court said the state has a compelling interest in preventing child abuse.


Trials loom for two accused of cheating at fish tournament

Trials have been scheduled for two northern Iowa men accused of cheating at a state-sponsored fishing tournament.

Jason Schuttler, 25, of Manly, and 23-year-old Aaron Lauber, 23, of Clear Lake, have pleaded not guilty to one count each of felony theft. They’re accused of cheating during the Yellow Bass Bonanza fishing tournament on Clear Lake on Feb. 8.

They won a prize package valued at $1,500.

The Iowa Natural Resources Department later received a tip that some of the fish were caught outside of the tournament’s hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Schuttler’s trial is set for June 9. Lauber’s is scheduled for June 23.


Attorney: Don’t send ex-cop back to prison for traffic-stop beating

An attorney for a former Des Moines police officer who spent less than two years in prison for severely beating a man during a 2008 traffic stop says putting him back behind bars wouldn’t be beneficial.

In a sentencing brief filed Friday, 31-year-old Mersed Dautovic’s attorney argued that returning him to prison would harm his daughters and negate progress he’s made since his 2012 conviction of using excessive force on Octavius Bonds.

Dautovic finished his federal sentence and was released in January 2014. But in August, a three-member panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals deemed the sentence too lenient and sent Dautovic’s case back for resentencing. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the decision.

Dautovic will be resentenced April 20. Prosecutors seek a 14-year prison term.


State to join Wyoming in lawsuit against federal fracking rules

North Dakota plans to join Wyoming in a lawsuit challenging a new federal hydraulic fracturing rule for U.S. government lands.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission headed by Gov. Jack Dalrymple voted Tuesday to intervene in the lawsuit that Wyoming filed last week in federal court.

The Obama administration is requiring companies that drill on federal lands to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.

The process involves pumping water, sand and chemicals underground to split open rocks to allow oil and gas to flow.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says North Dakota agrees with Wyoming’s argument that the rule is unlawful because it interferes with state regulations.

North Dakota’s top energy regulator, Lynn Helms, says the federal rule will hamper the drilling of thousands of wells in the state.


No death penalty for convicted killer who violated plea deal

A man serving life in prison without parole in the November 2009 slaying of a Mitchell teenager will not face the death penalty.

Alexander Salgado’s uncooperative testimony during the recent trial of accomplice Maricela Diaz failed to satisfy conditions of his August 2010 agreement under which he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Jasmine Guevara in exchange for having his life spared, Attorney General Marty Jackley said Monday.

However, pursuing the death penalty would not serve justice, Jackley said.

“I struggle to believe that Jasmine’s family will ever find closure, but I hope that the completion of these trial matters will allow them to begin to heal,” Jackley said.

Jackley met with the girl’s family members and Hanson County State’s Attorney Jim Davies before making the decision.

Diaz was convicted in January of first-degree murder, kidnapping and arson and sentenced last Friday to serve 80 years in prison. She can’t be sentenced to death because she was 15 years old at the time of the crime. Salgado was 20.

Prosecutors said Diaz and Salgado lured Guevara to a remote site near Mitchell, stabbed her and left her to die in the trunk of a burning car. An autopsy determined the fire killed Guevara.

Authorities alleged that Diaz, who has a child with Salgado, had become jealous of a developing relationship between Salgado and Guevara.

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