Skip to comments.Sudden plea deals in tire slashing case
Posted on 01/20/2006 1:22:41 PM PST by mafree
In an unexpected twist in the Election Day tire slashing trial, four former Kerry-Edwards campaign staffers, including the sons of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) and former Acting Mayor Marvin Pratt, have agreed to plead no contest to misdemeanors.
The plea agreements came in the middle of jury deliberations after an eight-day trial on felony property damage charges that carried potential 3 1/2 year prison terms upon conviction.
Michael Pratt, 33, Sowande Omokunde, 26, Lewis G. Caldwell, 29, and Lavelle Mohammad, 36, have all pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts of criminal damage to property. Omokunde is Moore's son.
Prosecutors will recommend probation sentences as part of the deal, and that the four together pay $5,317 in restitution for the damaged tires.
The surprise resolution was offered by prosecutors at 2 p.m., nearly 7 hours into deliberations and an hour after a jury note complained of an impasse.
Defendant Justin Howell, 21, was the only one of the five charged not included in the deal. The no contest pleas have not been formally made yet, but when they are, jurors will be left to deliberate the felony charge against Howell.
A note this morning from the jury to the judge about the verdict forms had hinted it was considering at least some convictions in the case, but the jury did not return a verdict before breaking for lunch.
Then around 1 p.m., the jury sent a second note suggesting they could not reach a verdict. We have people that are adamant about their decision and are not budging. We dont know what to do, the note read in part.
Defense attorneys immediately requested a mistrial, which Circuit Judge Michael Brennan denied. He doubted that the jury was intractably hung, since testimony lasted close to seven court days and deliberations had only been going about six hours.
Thats (an) insufficient amount of time to declare a mistrial, Brennan said, and ordered the jury to continue deliberating.
Less than an hour later, news of the plea deals emerged.
Who cares, they now are admitted cheaters.
The Judge should take away their driver's licenses and make them walk everywhere for a year.
You expected what? Justice? You mean to tell me you expected politically connected people to get into deep shit?
So, handing all of a state's electoral votes to the wrong candidate is a misdemeanor? Expect a lot more than tire slashing from the Dems in '08.
Sandy Burglar Syndrome...if you do the crime as a Demonrat, you don't do the time.
33, 26, 29 and 36
I knew about this story but hadn't paid attention to their ages before. I'd assumed these were high-school or college aged zealots, not adults.
My goodness. Do Democrats never grow up?
And why isn't election tampering a federal crime?!
Wouldn't look good for all these dems to have FELON appended to their names, would it? That would be an interesting election drive. "Please vote, because I can't."
Lousy outcome that will have lame deterrent value and will minimize publicity.
Obviously the Rats got someone onto the jury -- either a die-hard Rat who doesn't care about the law, or an idiot they could manipulate.
And now we know for certain that the scum were guilty.
So now election fraud that had the potential to affect who was elected President of the United States doesn't even deserve a day in jail?
Sick, misplaced priorities. The prosecutor should not have cut any deals with them.
plus one!!!! No body with money in there family ever has to deal with the results of there actions. A million dollar laywer sees to that. LoL that they even call it a JUSTICE system.
Friday afternoon liberal cabal settlement.
Cause the Milwaukee County DA is a DUmmy.
Correct, Democrats are generally those who have not grown up.
Probably cost the tax payers 50K and they skate. Those hippies should have paid.
[Sigh] Where are all the jury-nullification proponents now?
Well, don't say I didn't warn you that they'd skate. That was a very real possibility and is now proof positive of how hard we have to work to get these people OUT of power in Wisconsin and all across our God-fearing Nation!
To say I'm seeing red, steam is pouring out of my ears, and my head just did an "Exorcist Spin" would be an understatement!
The jury was a joke. Prospective jurors were removed if they admitted they listened to talk radio.
Best jury money can buy.............
Come on down to the red states.........
That's what I was thinking ~ this trial proves that slashing tires pays.
Which now means they are qualified for high office in the Democrat party.
Special Rules For Special People. Always been that way for the liberals.
If they did they wouldn't be Democrats.
You're right- that's what no contest basically means.
Remind me again how this is different from the crimes alleged against that mega-monster Richard Nixon ?
It should be.
"NO SOUP for you!"
This is what, $1,330/person. Big deal. I'm sure some "Soros" type will pick up the tab.
No sugar for their cereal for a year would have been a harsher punishment. Then again, Cashman's sentence of Mark Hulett was more lenient.
Actually, I think a plea deal this late in the game indicates that they were looking at some convictions. Otherwise, they could have worked out a deal early on.
Im getting sick of all politics.
This kind of crap is pathetic.
OK, if they plead no contest, does that make them eligble for federal election tampering charges?
No doubt there were jurors who wouldn't find the perps guilty if they had seen them slashing tires with their own eyes.
I'm shocked! Here I thought it was those national Dem campaign workers that did it and left town!
Blame it on the Bush-Bashers on the jury. They are the ones that hung it up. Getting so these days we get politically partisan juries.
They tried to fix the Presidential election, and they get off on a misdemeanor?
Sounds to me like the defendants were worried about a conviction. No contest is a polite way of saying "I did it".
"My goodness. Do Democrats never grow up?"
That's a rhetorical question, right? We all know the answer.
LOL, yeah, it was.
How close was the Wisconsin vote, anyway?
This doesn't quite pass the Smell Test.
Can the Republican Party of Wisconsin go after them for restitution or civil damages?
(I know nothing about the law and could't even pretend to be one on TV!)
"Obviously the Rats got someone onto the jury -- either a die-hard Rat who doesn't care about the law, or an idiot they could manipulate."
Maybe they just found someone who could be bought.
When I heard the jury's first question about how to assign specific guilt to a defendant I knew their attorney's would be recommending a deal.
Remember when Johnny Cockroach brought in the Nation of Islam freaks to stand there in the courtroom.
That was a message to the black jurors.......
You are correct. I wonder how the average vandal would have been treated. Would they have been offered the deal or would they have been convicted. That is my problem. I do not like it when people are treated differently because of money, skin color or connections.
I'm not sure you can tie slashing tires to election tampering, even if you know that the tires were on vans which were going to be used to transport voters to the polls.
If you slashed the tires while they were picking up voters, such that a voter in the van no longer had access to the polls, you'd have a stronger case.
This was a "simple" vandalism case in state court.
"My goodness. Do Democrats never grow up?"
And the sudden plea deal was because the DNC wanted this debacle out of the headlines.