Brad Schimel Soft on Crime?
New data shows AG not just slow to go after rapists, but drugs and firearms cases.
But it turns out that’s not an exception. Schimel’s office has been incompetent in processing a long list of crimes. A state Department of Justice report obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request shows that “turnaround times for the testing of DNA, guns, tool marks and drug compositions have grown dramatically since Schimel took office in January 2015.”
The AP story is devastating in its details:
“According to the DOJ’s most recent annual crime lab report, from 2015 through 2017:
—The average turnaround time for DNA testing jumped from 43 days to 76 days. DNA submissions increased about 29 percent.
—The average turnaround time for gun testing increased from 113 days to 171 days even though submissions dropped by 20, from 728 in 2015 to 708 in 2017.
—Turnaround time for tool mark analysis grew from 277 days to 511 days, even though tool mark submissions decreased from 34 in 2015 to 18 in 2017.
—Turnaround time for drug testing nearly doubled, from 42 days to 80 days. Submissions increased by about 12 percent over the three years.”
All this is in addition to Schimel’s documented record of not processing rape kits, after even his office got $4 million in federal funding for this in September 2015 and the AG promised to “bring justice to sexual assault victims.”
Instead Schimel did nothing and a year later not one rape kit had been processed. By then his office had gotten another $1.1 million in federal funding to process the back log, yet six months later his office had processed just nine rape kits, his spokesperson admitted, after Schimel falsely claimed “hundreds” had been tested.
The backlog hit a peak of 6,800 untested kits and yet by this June, two years and eight months after getting that funding, Schimel’s office had processed just 1,900 rape kits. While private labs charge as much as $1,000 each to do the tests, Schimel had enough funding to test 5,100 rape kits.
Instead his endless delay in handling the issue has so embarrassed him in this election year that Schimel has authorized more overtime and hired 11 part-time workers to speed up the testing, all funded by the taxpayers.
But even that wasn’t enough, and Schimel has now “quietly hired a consultant to identify ways to speed up evidence testing at Wisconsin’s crime labs, as criticism mounts over delays,” the AP reports. “Florida International University’s National Forensic Science Technology Center signed a $42,870 contract with the state Department of Justice in June to review operations at all three state crime labs with a goal of identifying inefficiencies and long-term staffing needs.”
“I’m glad to see that, in an election year, Brad Schimel has finally found the motivation to take action, but we need an Attorney General who is consistently committed to ensuring that justice isn’t delayed for victims,” Kaul charged.
To defend Schimel, the Washington DC-based Republican Attorneys General Association has run an ad with two sheriffs, from Brown and Eau Claire counties, defending Schimel’s record in handling the rape kit backlog. Yet as the liberal group One Wisconsin Now has reported, those two sheriffs also have a bad record, as their counties account for 636 untested rape kits.
The information on these counties actually came from a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis of all counties in the state. Yet the newspaper, in doing a story headlined “In new ads, sheriffs defend AG Schimel on rape kits,” did not include that data.
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