Walker unwavering in criticism of Obamacare, Supreme Court; Gableman request baffles court-watchers; 8 more Wisconsin stories
Gov. Scott Walker says the next president and Congress should not only repeal Obamacare, but should also approve judges who would uphold laws and not make them.
The potential 2016 Republican White House hopeful went on Fox News last night to slam the U.S. Supreme Court's decision from Thursday which upheld federal subsidies for the Affordable Care Act.
Walker said he thought the justices went beyond their constitutional mandate.
He reserved special criticism for Chief Justice John Roberts, the Bush appointee who has ruled twice to uphold Obama's signature health care reform -- passed by a Democratic Congress with rules still being set by bureaucrats.
Roberts also upheld Obamacare in 2012.
The Supreme Court's latest 6- to 3 ruling upheld federal subsidies in states like Wisconsin, which use the federal government's purchasing exchange instead of their own.
Leaders of Wisconsin's health and insurance industries praised the ruling, saying the system would have been placed in disarray had the court struck down the subsidies.
They said many of the 166,000 Wisconsinites who get tax payments from Obamacare would have lost their coverage because they couldn't afford it.
Former U.S. Senate Democrat Russ Feingold, who voted for Obamacare on Christmas Eve 2009, said the justices did the right thing. He's running for his old job back next year against Republican Senator Ron Johnson -- who said the law will keep putting too many financial burdens on businesses, and make it harder for people to find and keep jobs.
-- Larry Lee, WSAU, Wausau
Gableman request on behalf of former Walker aide befuddles court-watchers
MADISON -- Observers and critics are shaking their heads, after a State Supreme Court justice asked colleagues to re-consider their rejection of an appeal in a political corruption case.
Justice Michael Gableman asked the court this week to consider hearing an appeal from ex-Walker aide Kelly Rindfleisch. The request comes after the same court in March refused to consider overturning a lower court's ruling that upheld her conviction for misconduct in public office.
Ex-Justice Janine Geske said she's never heard of a justice asking colleagues to reconsider a case.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said a litigant asked for a Supreme Court reconsideration in 1979, and was told it was not allowed.
Rindfleisch said she was convicted because investigators exceeded their authority in searching her personal e-mails. She has also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of the e-mail searches, which were apparently intended to dig up evidence against another defendant.
Gableman did not say why he wanted the case brought back. Because of that, one critic accused Gableman of "cronyism" in going to bat for Rindfleisch, who was Walker's deputy chief-of-staff when he was the Milwaukee County executive.
Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now told the Associated Press it's an instance of "corruption of the conservative court majority."
Gableman would need three justices to go along with his request to reconsider Rindfleisch's conviction.
She began a six-month jail term in April, for doing illegal GOP campaign work when she was supposed to be working for Milwaukee County.
Exposed remains in 'Rapids cemetery likely from Civil War-era
WISCONSIN RAPIDS -- A man walking through a cemetery got quite a surprise when he came across a human jaw bone. He made the discovery last Sunday at Forest Hill Cemetery, which is about 150 years old.
Manager Penny Egland said workers were digging a new grave, when they got too close to one of the many unmarked graves at the site. Remains were exhumed, and while many of them were re-buried, the jaw bone wasn't.
Officials said the digging equipment dragged the bone to a sand pile, where an animal probably picked it up and carried it for about 30 feet, to the place where the walker found it.
Egland said it was common in the 1800's to use unmarked graves to bury settlers with little money. She said they're all over the cemetery but they're impossible to spot in some places.
Police checked out the discovery, and could not determine any foul play.
-- Larry Lee, WSAU, Wausau
Environmental groups don't like Waukesha's Lake Michigan plan
WAUKESHA -- Environmental groups remain opposed to Waukesha's long-standing request to tap into Lake Michigan for its drinking water. However, they don't say what the city could do instead, as it faces a 2018 court deadline for removing radium from its water supply.
Earlier this week, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources completed a five-year review of the proposal. It called the use of Lake Michigan the city's only reasonable option, and it's possible that Waukesha could get the required approvals from all the states and Canadian provinces along the Great Lakes.
Because Waukesha is just outside the natural basin of Lake Michigan, the other approvals are needed under the 2008 Great Lakes water protection compact.
A joint statement issued Thursday by the Wisconsin and national Wildlife Federations, Clean Wisconsin, the Midwest Environmental Advocates, the River Alliance, and local groups contended that Waukesha has access to another sustainable water supply and it not need to divert water from Lake Michigan.
The groups didn't suggest any alternatives, claiming they have what they call "emerging information" about it. They also accused the DNR of using standards that were too low in evaluating the matter.
Former insurance exec. serving fraud sentence dies in prison
A former insurance executive from Wausau has died in prison.
David Scholfield, age 88, was serving five years at a federal lock-up in Terre Haute, Ind., after he and two other Manson Insurance officials defrauded customers of millions of dollars.
Manson was purchased by Wausau's River Valley Bank in 2009.
Prosecutors initially said former Manson president Tim Mathwich took the lead role in defrauding customers of $5.6 million in fraudulent checks and swindling River Valley Bank of $4.7 million.
In addition to his prison term, Scholfield was ordered to pay over $5 million in restitution to victimized customers. He pleaded guilty to embezzlement and bank fraud, and was sentenced in 2011.
Scholfield was first sent to a federal prison in Duluth, and was later moved to Terre Haute.
-- Raymond Neupert, WSAU, Wausau
Former TV actor gets 120 days in jail
PORT WASHINGTON -- "Saved by the Bell" television actor Dustin Diamond will begin his four-month jail term on Sunday in his current home town of Port Washington.
He'll get work release privileges, a part of a sentence handed down Thursday for waving a pocket-knife in a bar last Christmas. It gave Casey Smet a minor stab wound in one of his armpits.
Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Paul Malloy also ordered 15 months probation for the 38-year-old Diamond.
A jury convicted him last month of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and having an illegal concealed weapon. A felony reckless endangerment charge was dismissed.
Witnesses said Diamond's fiancee Amanda Schutz instigated the bar fight by pushing a woman and grabbing another woman's hand. She was fined $500 for disorderly conduct.
A misty-eyed Diamond told the judge the incident was the most "terrifying experience" of his life, and he apologized to all involved.
Diamond also told the judge he would never act in self-defense again.
"If I'm ever in a situation where I or a loved one, is in danger, I will choose to passively accept what is given to me in the hopes that a night in the emergency room would be infinitely better than a future of being seen as a criminal."
Couple convicted of ignoring daughter's illness, re-open coffee business
WESTON -- A Wausau area couple convicted of praying instead of getting medical care to avoid the death of their daughter have gone back into the coffee shop business. Dale and Leilani Neumann are part owners of the Wooden Cup Coffee Company, which opened earlier this month south of Wausau in Rothschild.
The Neumanns made national news in 2009, when they tried but failed to avoid reckless homicide convictions. The case involved the Neumann's rights to freedom of religion, but they each got six months in jail and 10 years' probation for refusing to seek treatment for 11-year-old Kara Neumann. She died from complications of untreated diabetes.
Her parents owned a coffee shop in Weston, which closed after they were charged. They declared bankruptcy in 2012.
The Wausau Daily Herald quoted the Neumanns as saying they remain passionate about serving their community with a specialty coffee and beverage business. However, it appears that a lot of their early profits will go to Marathon County taxpayers.
The Daily Herald said the Neumanns are supposed to pay $98,000 for court costs and they've only repaid $456.
Court officials say that as long as they're paying something, they're not violating court orders.
Woman who allegedly tried to hire killer facing another charge
MEDFORD -- One of two central Wisconsin women charged in a murder-for-hire plot is now accused of violating a court order to stay away from the intended victims.
Porscha Rizzi, 22, of Spencer is charged with a felony violation for intimidating a witness.
Media reports said Rizzi mailed her 77-year-old grandmother Sharon Klimmer with instructions to pass on to a child who lives at one of the victims' homes. Klimmer is also charged with intimidation, and she's being prosecuted for the first time in the case.
She makes her initial Clark County court appearance next Wednesday, while Rizzi has her first hearing on her new charge July 16.
Rizzi and her mother, Shari Klimmer, age 47, are also charged with two counts of attempted homicide.
Both were accused of offering up to $10,000 to have somebody kill two fathers who had children with Rizzi. One of them reportedly wanted to change his child custody arrangement, because was going to move to Minnesota.
Shari Klimmer struck a plea deal on her charges, and a hearing on that is set for July 22.
Rizzi still has a three-day trial set for Aug. 25, with a hearing July 27 in case she, too, agrees to a plea bargain.
Verdict expected in trial of man accused of killing his father
SHEBOYGAN -- A judge in Sheboygan was expected to hand down a verdict Friday in the trial of a 19-year-old man accused of bludgeoning his father to death.
Dorian Torres testified Thursday that he acted in self-defense when he struck and killed 41-year-old Emilio Torres, by hitting him in the head with a mallet.
The death occurred in January, 2014 at a Sheboygan apartment where the two lived. Dorian was 17 at the time.
He told Circuit Judge Terence Bourke that his father was upset that he was smoking marijuana. Torres said his dad slapped him, and then pushed one of his shoulders before he grabbed the mallet.
Torres waived his right to have a jury decide his fate. He'll face a life prison term if he's convicted on his current charge of first-degree intentional homicide.
Torres' lawyer has asked that the judge consider either an acquittal by self-defense or a conviction on a lesser charge.
Gunman sought who killed Burmese refugee
MILWAUKEE -- Police are looking for a gunman who killed a man Thursday in front of the victim's wife and 11-year-old son.
His widow identified him as Jay Ro, 48, a father of four whose family are refugees from Burma. They settled in Milwaukee four years ago.
Catrina Ro told WISN-TV that a man knocked on their door Thursday morning, and told the 11-year-old he was there to fix something. Once inside, Catrina said the shooter put a gun to the boy's head, walked him to a kitchen, and demanded money.
His father was said to have lunged at the gunman who pushed his hands away from Ro and then shot him.
Catrina told the TV reporter that her husband used to work at a Cargill plant which shut down. He was still out of work when he died.
Man gets 15 years for road-rage that culminated in beating death
MILWAUKEE -- A 21-year-old Milwaukee man will spend 15 years in prison for his role in the beating death of a driver in an act of road rage.
Dionte Williams must also spend a decade under extended supervision, after he pleaded guilty in March to being a party to second-degree reckless homicide.
Alfonso Estrada-Cortes, age 36, was beaten to death on Nov. 1, 2014, after he got into a car crash with a group of Williams' friends.
Williams and the others chased Estrada-Cortes and the alleged attackers were accused of punching and kicking the victim. Police found his body later.
Four others are awaiting sentences in the death of Estrada-Cortes. Three have pleaded guilty, and the other no contest.