LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – Each month in La Crosse County, local police, the district attorney and judges met to discuss issues surrounding the justice system as a part of the Criminal Justice Management Council.
On Wednesday, the committee met with the public to discuss bond and bail decisions that can be tricky for judges to make while trying to make sure those accused are treated fairly, without putting the public at risk.
La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke said communication is key and that this forum is a place for the public to make their voices heard–even if judges cannot always comment on why they make certain bond decisions.
“Today we were just talking about how we can talk about those issues,” Gruenke said. “Judges are restricted from talking about certain cases. So we try to find a way we can raise the issue and dive into it a little bit deeper and get some data and get some facts. Then present it in a way to the whole committee in terms of is there a problem here. Is there something we need to change? Or things working that they’re going to work?”
Sherry Hougom spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting. In 2012 her daughter died in a violent crime. Hougom and others at the meeting said they want tougher policies to keep repeat offenders off of the streets.
“We’re here to try to understand why this is happening,” Hougom said. “We’re asking for accountability for these dangerous criminals. So that what happened to me doesn’t happen to others. I’m trying to bring about a brighter safer future. Communicating is going to be the key to having and making a change.”
Gruenke said after hearing from people today, the La Crosse County District Attorney’s team will research to see if statistics support their claims. If so, they will take their research to the judges and try finding a better solution.
These meetings happen every third Wednesday at the La Crosse County Courthouse.