Joseph Frey was prosecuted by then-Winnebago County Deputy District Attorney Vince Biskupic for a 1991 sexual assault he did not commit. “Before Joe's trial even happened — before he even had the opportunity to present his defense to a jury — that evidence was inappropriately destroyed,” says Frey’s attorney, Tricia Rojo Bushnell. Frey was photographed by Lake Mendota in Madison, Wis., on Oct. 3, 2016. (Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch)
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Open and Shut; doctor sues over abuse charges; meat-packing giants’ influence exposed; giant hog farm OK’d; TV station rethinks impact of old coverage

Of note: This week we highlight our sixth and latest installment of Open and Shut, a podcast and series exploring the power of prosecutors. In this week’s episode, reporter Phoebe Petrovic looks back at cases prosecuted by former Outagamie County District Attorney Vince Biskupic — including one in which police reports were destroyed and rewritten and another involving physical evidence that was thrown away before trial.

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Joseph Frey was prosecuted by then-Winnebago County Deputy District Attorney Vince Biskupic for a 1991 sexual assault he did not commit. Frey was photographed by Lake Mendota in Madison, Wis., on Oct. 3, 2016. (Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch)

Wisconsin prosecutor campaigned on his record — but some high-profile cases had hidden flaws

Wisconsin Watch/WPR — May 11, 2022

When Outagamie County District Attorney Vince Biskupic was running for office back in 2002, he listed some of his biggest cases on his campaign website. But a Wisconsin Watch and WPR investigation found that two of the defendants on Biskupic’s campaign website later had their convictions overturned. In two other cases, questions linger about whether Biskupic acted properly in prosecuting them.

Read and listen to the first six episodes of Open and Shut here.

John M. Cox, left, a pediatric emergency physician, leaves court with his wife, Sadie Dobrozsi, also a pediatrician. (Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Former Children’s Wisconsin pediatrician who was investigated in 2019 child abuse claim sues hospital

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — May 11, 2022

A pediatrician who says he was wrongly targeted by overzealous child abuse investigators has sued Children’s Wisconsin and several former colleagues at the Milwaukee hospital. John M. Cox, 41, accuses the defendants of conspiracy, negligence, defamation and retaliation, among other claims, and of violating his rights to due process and equal protection in the widely publicized child abuse case from 2020.

For more on disputed child abuse allegations, see Wisconsin Watch’s Flawed Forensics investigation.

Tyson Foods authored draft version of Trump’s 2020 executive order to keep meatpacking plants open during COVID-19 pandemic, emails show

Investigate Midwest — May 12, 2022

Lawyers for Tyson Foods, one of America’s largest meatpacking companies, drafted an early version of a 2020 executive order that allowed plants to continue operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new Congressional report based on company emails shows. A new Congressional investigation shows that Tyson Foods — mostly in collaboration with Smithfield Foods — authored the specific language that the industry pushed to federal officials. Both companies have facilities in Wisconsin.

An intermittent stream that flows into the nearby Kickapoo River has been the site of water testing in Crawford County, Wis. (Mark Hoffman/ Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

DNR permits second hog factory farm in Crawford County despite local worries over water quality in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — May 10, 2022

Wisconsin’s pristine Driftless Area will soon be home to a new industrial farm capable of producing thousands of pigs, after the Department of Natural Resources approved its pollutant discharge permit. The approval allows the farm to move forward with the construction of its new facility, without any requirements for monitoring water quality in the area, nor limiting the number of animals allowed to be housed on the property.

See previous coverage from Wisconsin Watch: Cow manure predicted to cause most sickness from contaminated wells in Kewaunee County

An old drug addiction and an uncharged crime: How the internet won’t let a Madison man move on

Channel 3000 — May 5, 2022

Today, Zachary Wisniewski is an instructor. Five years ago, he was a teenager struggling with addiction. But in the internet’s eyes, he is something he says he never was: a pimp. Subsequent news headlines in all of the area’s media outlets — including Channel 3000 — would link him and two others permanently to the highly-stigmatized crime that ultimately wasn’t charged.

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