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WI man exonerated, concussions drive Megna to plan lawsuit, high court rules GPS is not punishment, Harley-Davidson shareholders drive off with bulk of tax cut benefit, more

Of note: We feature two Center stories released last week, both follow-ups to our earlier coverage. We report on the exoneration of Richard Beranek, who was convicted in part on the FBI’s mistaken identification of a crime scene hair that turns out not to have been his. We also feature former Badger football player Tony Megna, who plans to join 100-plus plaintiffs suing the NCAA and athletic conferences over brain injuries.

Also: The state Supreme Court rules GPS monitoring is not punishment despite reporting by the Center, which found offenders face repeated disruptions because of false alerts. And other news resonates between Wisconsin and President Donald Trump: Vox finds that Harley-Davidson shareholders profit most from Trump’s large tax cuts. Speaking of @realDonaldTrump, a federal court barred the president from blocking critics from his Twitter feed. The Cap Times notes that could affect a similar case against lawmakers here in Wisconsin.

WisconsinWeekly is produced by Andy and Dee J. Hall, a couple who founded the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Andy is the executive director and Dee is the managing editor.

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Wisconsin man, casualty of flawed hair forensics, latest to be exonerated

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism — May 18, 2018

In our most recent addition to the Flawed Forensics series, the Center provides an update to the case of Richard Beranek. Last Friday, Beranek, who spent two decades in prison based in part on flawed FBI forensic work, was cleared of rape, battery and burglary charges. Beranek’s exoneration is the latest in a series around the country based on the now-discredited technique of microscopic hair comparison.

Former Badger plans legal action; says he ‘wasn’t aware of brain injury’ risk

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism — May 20, 2018

The Center also offers an update to our Countering Concussions series — Former Badger football player Tony Megna intends to join former college football players who have filed 111 lawsuits against the NCAA and its athletic conferences. If filed, Megna’s claim could become the first to pull the University of Wisconsin-Madison into the litigation. Read the other two new stories in the Countering Concussions series: Brain injury fears spark calls for a ban on children playing tackle football and Wisconsin researcher: Sharpen warnings about brain injury

Court: GPS monitoring a public safety measure, not punishment

Wisconsin State Journal — May 18, 2018

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled last Friday in a rare 7-0 decision that GPS monitoring is a public safety measure, not a form of punishment. “In light of the ‘frightening and high’ rate of recidivism for sex offenders, the relatively minimal intrusion of lifetime GPS tracking … is not excessive in relation to protecting the public,” Justice Michael Gableman wrote in the ruling. Earlier from WCIJ: Wisconsin doubles GPS monitoring despite five years of malfunctions, unnecessary jailings

Harley-Davidson took its tax cut, closed a factory, and rewarded shareholders

Vox — May 22, 2018

The motorcycle maker in January told Kansas City workers it would close a plant there. Days later, it announced a nearly $700 million stock buyback plan. It’s a pattern that’s played out over and over since the Republican tax bill passed — companies profit, shareholders reap the benefits and workers get left out.

Federal decision barring Trump from blocking Twitter users could have implications for Wisconsin case

The Cap Times — May 23, 2018

A federal judge said President Donald Trump is not permitted under the U.S. Constitution to block people from his Twitter feed. The ruling could have implications for other public officials who use Twitter to discuss policy and dialogue with constituents, including a Wisconsin case making its way through federal court. For a reminder on this issue, see this column by the Center’s Managing Editor Dee J. Hall, writing for the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council.

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