Wisconsin needs minimum sentences in fatal drunk driving crashes.
  • Petitioned Wisconsin State Legislature

This petition was delivered to:

Wisconsin State Legislature

Wisconsin needs minimum sentences in fatal drunk driving crashes.

    1. Dawn Johnson
    2. Petition by

      Dawn Johnson

      Deerfield, WI

On April 4, 2012, Sheboygan County Circuit Court Judge James
Bolgert did the unthinkable. He sentenced Russell Peters to a mere
12 months of work release and community service for killing my
father while driving drunk. Peter’s BAC was .194. He hit 3 road signs 
before swerving back on the highway and murdering my father in the ditch past the fog line on the other side of the road. It was 4:30 p.m. on a sunny afternoon.

There is a fatal flaw in Wisconsin law, which needs immediate
attention. There is no minimum mandatory sentence for killing our
citizens while driving drunk. Pennsylvania has such a law – 3 years.
Other states have similar laws.

Some judges just don’t get it, and never will. The legislature needs to
remind Judge Bolgert that protecting the public is job one. Let’s inject
some common sense into sentencing practices to avoid these tragic
deaths.

I have contacted my representatives. I urge you to join me on behalf
of a good man and my father – Darwin Hoefert Sr.– in the name of all
future victims. Help our legislators remind clueless judges how to
keep our roads safe.
See the article on the court case below.
http://www.sheboyganpress.com/article/20120404/SHE0101/120404087

Recent signatures

    News

    1. NBC 15 Interview with Rachelle Ballion

      Dawn Johnson
      Petition Organizer

      On April 19th Rachelle Ballion from NBC 15 in Madison will interview me regarding the legislation that Jim Ott and Alberta Darling are co-sponsoring. SB56/LB69 and SB59/LB70 provide mandatory minimums for injuring or killing someone while choosing to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Let's keep Wisconsin roads safe and give a voice to those who have been injured or killed. Choosing to drive drunk is not an accident-it is a choice.

    2. Bill Proposal State of Wisconsin 2013-2014 - LRB-1569/1PJH:jld:jf

      Dawn Johnson
      Petition Organizer

      DATE: February 14, 2013

      TO: Legislative Colleagues

      FROM: Senator Alberta Darling and Representative Jim Ott

      RE: Co-sponsorship of LRB 1569/1 and LRB 0730/1 relating to mandatory period of confinement for homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and providing a penalty

      Mandatory minimum sentences for homicide while OWI: Current law includes maximum sentences for a homicide committed while OWI, ranging from 25 to 40 years, but no minimum sentence. This bill establishes a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for a homicide while OWI. The bill allows for judicial discretion in cases in which the deceased person was a passenger in the automobile, provided the judge gives a written reason for deviating from the minimum.

    3. Full Article- Wisconsin State Journal

      Dawn Johnson
      Petition Organizer

      See the full article in the Wisconsin State Journal 1/1/2013.

    4. Wisconsin State Journal 01/01/2013, Page A01 DRUNKEN DRIVING

      Dawn Johnson
      Petition Organizer

      Wisconsin State Journal 01/01/2013, Page A01

      DRUNKEN DRIVING

      By TODD RICHMOND

      Associated Press

      Two Republican legislators are gearing up for another try at toughening the notoriously weak drunken driving laws in Wisconsin, where pounding booze is hard-wired into the culture — and drunken driving kills scores every year.

      In Wisconsin, a driver who is caught driving over the limit for the first time is charged with a civil violation akin to a speeding ticket. But the introduction of harsher sanctions has been held back by prohibitive cost estimates and pushback from the state’s powerful Tavern League.

      State Rep. Jim Ott and Sen. Alberta Darling say they will try again this session to criminalize certain first-time offenses, make a third offense a felony and establish mandatory minimum sentences for drivers who cause crashes.

    5. Letter from Scott Fitzgerald's Office

      Dawn Johnson
      Petition Organizer

      I received a letter from Scott Fitzgerald's Office dated 10/3/12 informing me that two legislators, Representative Jim Ott (R-Mequon) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), will be introducing comprehensive drunk driving reform legislation in January. Both are very interested in adding mandatory minimum sentencing for drunk drivers who commit homicide.

    6. Interview with Diane Moca CBS Channel 58

      Dawn Johnson
      Petition Organizer

      Look for our interview with Diane Moca from CBS Channel 58 News scheduled to air September 24th!

    7. Meeting with Charles Szafir, Policy Advisor for Senator Scott Fitzgerald.

      Dawn Johnson
      Petition Organizer

      It was a pleasure meeting with Charles Szafir, Policy Advisor for Senator Scott Fitzgerald and Cindy Block, legislative aide today with my daughter at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

      The office is currently knee deep in research and are tentative about future legislation as they are not in the majority nor hold the majority. I provided them with two important pieces of research to help them further.

      One was from MADD showing that 26 other states have mandatory minimum sentences, and the other was a 60 minutes episode regarding NY District Attorney Kathleen Rice's work on proving depraved indifference as the car is a weapon which proves intent when driving under the influence of alcohol.

    8. You can be a hero.

      Dawn Johnson
      Petition Organizer

      "A true hero is not someone who thinks about doing what is right, but one who simply does what is right without thinking." - Kevin Heath

    9. Reached 250 signatures
    10. Reducing Drunk Driving in WI: What Works, What Doesn't? April 18, 2012

      Dawn Johnson
      Petition Organizer

      Today I attended an Evidence-Based Health Policy Project at the Wisconsin State Capitol. I learned that 92% of all fatal crashes are caused by first time drunk driving offenders.

    11. Thanks to the Dohm Family and the Wisconsin State Journal.

      Dawn Johnson
      Petition Organizer

      Most sincere thanks goes out to Fritz and Sue Dohm who lost their son, Davi,in a tragic drunk driving crash a year ago in Verona. They have graciously created an event on facebook and shared my petition link.
      Also, Scott Milfred, the opinion editor from the Wisconsin State Journal included my petition link in his article in the April 15th Opinion Section.

    12. Reached 100 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Becky DrewsDebuque BELOIT, WI
      • over 1 year ago

      I've witnessed the devastation drunk driving causes

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • stephanie gorkowski LAKE MILLS, WI
      • over 1 year ago

      Stop at driver's license application; I will forfet driving rights if caught with 1% alcohol in body, from testing, or Ambien or pot, or other mind altering drugs! No chance to kill in the 1st place, Proms coming up and we always lose afew! Get going on others rights except for NRA; and that line should also give right to suspend if caught with illegal assault bullets of $1000. taxed and liabilty on future charges that you must pay for penalty!!! WE OF WIS. Have rights to LIVE without being killed ALSO!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
      • almost 2 years ago

      My brother was killed by a drunk driver in WI on a Saturday afternoon.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Ruth Beerman SHOREWOOD, WI
      • almost 2 years ago

      Loose drunk driving laws encourage people to drink and drive. We need to change Wisconsin's drinking culture!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Paul Stum FOND DU LAC, WI
      • almost 2 years ago

      it doesn't matter if it's your first or second or 35th offense it should have harsher sentences like robbery/theft does.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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