Sadly, a too predictable outcome
Another good day for the Milwaukee District Attorney’s office: nobody sent to jail. The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office, deciding they didn’t want to risk a mistrial and starting all over again, instead decided to settle. Maybe they had an early tee time tomorrow. In any event, they got four of the five defendants to plead “no contest” to misdemeanors. The last defendant was acquitted.
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 jury later found him not guilty of the felony charge.
Not even an admission of guilt. Rick Esenberg compares it to “punting in the red zone.” Unfortunately it was probably the best we could hope for (especially with a lame kicker and a hostile field). I wonder if former Mayor Marvin Pratt and Congresswoman Gwen Moore feel any regrets about the behavior of their children. Actually, I don’t wonder that at all, which is really sad – for them and the community.
Update! 11:20pm The Journal Sentinel weighs in on the editorial page (quick, someone call the state elections board!):
We’re not entirely pleased that four of the five were allowed to plead no contest to a lesser charge Friday while the jury deliberated – a fifth man won a not guilty verdict – but we are pleased that prosecutors pursued this case with vigor.
Say what? If the RPW didn’t harangue the DA’s office, no charges would ever have been filed. And since when is pleading the case to “no contest” pleas on misdemeanors with no jail time recommended pursuing a case with “vigor”?
It’s difficult to second-guess the prosecutor in this case.