A 77-year-old Springfield, Wisconsin, man reportedly did not want his name to appear in the local newspaper in connection with a municipal citation he paid. Officials claim that the man attempted to pay a Middleton Municipal Court clerk to refrain from listing his name. As a result, he is now charged with a white collar crime.
In February, the man was charged with committing four-degree sexual assault on a female tenant of an apartment building in Middleton that he owns. He was initially cited in Middletown County Court but was later charged in Dane County, where he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and intimidating a witness. The Middletown charges should have been dropped, but, due a system error, the man was asked to pay the municipal fee of $366. When he went to pay the citation, he allegedly offered the clerk $34 not to report his name in the papers.
The clerk said that she refused to take the money or to give him her address so he could mail her money. The man told police that he tried to tip the woman and that he would have mailed her $50 if he had her address. The man is now accused of felony bribery and misdemeanor bail jumping.
The plea bargain the man took in the earlier case demonstrates how they can help a defendant get lower penalties in exchange for a guilty plea. In this case, the fourth-degree sexual assault charge was lowered to disorderly conduct. While both are misdemeanors, the disorderly conduct charge carries lower penalties. However, now the man has a felony bribery charge to deal with. A criminal defense lawyer could help him arrange for a second plea bargain to lower the charge to a misdemeanor offense.
Source: State Journal, "Man charged with trying to bribe Middleton court clerk", Ed Treleven, November 13, 2013