The Sheboygan Press, which had been relatively quiet during the firestorm directed at Sheboygan County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Van Akkeren over his controversial decision to overturn a jury's conviction of a child molester just minutes after a verdict, awoke like a disturbed grizzly bear:
The newspaper nailed it: Judge Van Akkeren's decision lacked common sense. About the only things the editorial didn't address are (1) the need to remove this judge at the first available recall opportunity and (2) the need for the public -- and the press -- to keep a more watchful eye on the courts.
While this judge's action was outrageous, it isn't the only time a judge in this state has done something devoid of common sense. Rarely does the public catch wind of these incidents because people don't generally spend time watching court proceedings and the news media usually sits in only on high profile cases.
Thus, when a judge fines someone $100 after fighting with the arresting police officer instead of sending that person to jail, there's a 99.44% chance you'll never know about it.
The Sheboygan incident should serve as a wakeup call that the public needs to keep a better -- and more frequent -- eye on the courts.