Wisconsin Watch found that as a judge, Vince Biskupic offered stays or furloughs in 31 cases if defendants complied with his conditions, which ranged from education to treatment requirements. Here, he speaks during a 2017 hearing at the Outagamie County Government Center in Appleton, Wis. (Danny Damiani / USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)
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Fairness in court; GOP fake electors sued; ‘ridiculous’ electoral bribery claims; baby formula shortage; Ho-Chunk casino approved

Of note: This week we highlight the seventh and final episode of our podcast and web series Open and Shut. Reporter Phoebe Petrovic reports on former Outagamie County district attorney Vince Biskupic’s final days as a prosecutor and new career as a judge. As a prosecutor, he brokered deals to let potential defendants buy their way out of trouble. But these deals had a twist: He threatened to charge people, but agreed to withhold charges in exchange for “donations.” And as a judge, Wisconsin Watch and WPR found Biskupic used review hearings in an uncommon way that fell in a ‘gray area’ of the law.

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As a judge, Vince Biskupic offered stays or furloughs in 31 cases if defendants complied with his conditions. Here, he speaks during a 2017 hearing at the Outagamie County Government Center in Appleton, Wis. (Danny Damiani / USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

Deals Vince Biskupic made as a prosecutor and judge raise questions of fairness in Wisconsin’s justice system

Wisconsin Watch/WPR — May 18, 2022

As Outagamie County district attorney, Vince Biskupic let potential defendants buy their way out of trouble. As a judge, he held uncommon “review hearings” to monitor defendants’ behavior or to prompt them to pay fines or restitution. The effect was to keep defendants under his control for months or even years after their sentences would have ended.

Read and listen to all seven episodes of Open and Shut here.

Lawsuit filed against Wisconsin Republicans who posed as electors for Donald Trump

Wisconsin State Journal — May 18, 2022

A handful of Democrats, including two official presidential electors, have filed a lawsuit against the 10 Republicans who signed paperwork attempting to hand Wisconsin’s Electoral College votes to President Donald Trump, alleging that, by doing so, the individuals played a role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

Erick Kaardal delivers remarks to members of the Wisconsin Assembly elections committee at the State Capitol in Madison, Wis., on March 1, 2022. (John Hart / Wisconsin State Journal)

Dane County judge questions ‘ridiculous’ claims that 2020 election grants constituted bribery

Wisconsin State Journal — May 18, 2020

A Dane County judge pushed back Tuesday against what he called “ridiculous” claims by a conservative lawyer who has sued the state Elections Commission and Wisconsin’s five largest cities alleging that the acceptance of private grants to administer the 2020 election constituted bribery.

Previously from Wisconsin Watch: ‘Blurring of lines’: Private lawyer plays starring role in taxpayer-funded Wisconsin election probe

Abbott Nutrition on Feb. 17, 2022 voluntarily recalled some of its powder formula products for babies, including Similac, Alimentum and EleCare — a response to reported cases of salmonella and a rare bacterial infection called Cronobacter sakazakii. ajay_suresh via Flickr Creative Commons

Wisconsin families feel stress of finding baby formula, navigate alternatives amid national shortage

WPR — May 13, 2022

Jennifer Loging has received a growing number of calls in the last few months from families struggling to find baby formula on local store shelves. As manager of La Crosse County’s office for the Special Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children Program it’s been her job to help them find the food their babies need.

Previously from Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service: Baby formula recall leaves parents scrambling for replacements and answers. Here’s what to know.

Ho-Chunk Beloit casino complex wins federal approval, clearing the way for construction to begin

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — May 13, 2022

The Ho-Chunk tribe’s decade-old dream of opening a massive casino complex in Beloit cleared its last federal hurdle Friday when the Bureau of Indian Affairs gave the project its final blessing.

Previously from Wisconsin Watch: ‘We’ve got to get gaming out of our blood’: Pandemic shock pushes Wisconsin tribes to diversify economy

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The byline "Wisconsin Watch" represents members of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism's editorial and public engagement and marketing staff.