Arrest of La Crosse man on drug charges reignites bond debate

Arrest of La Crosse man on drug charges reignites bond debate

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La Crosse police again objected to a bond decision by a La Crosse County Circuit Court judge Thursday, releasing a statement headlined, “REPEAT DRUG DEALER ARRESTED…AGAIN,” after they say a repeat offender was released on signature bonds.

Last week, the Criminal Justice Management Council presented a plan to improve interdepartmental frustrations within the justice department, including the La Crosse Police Department’s objections to judges’ bond decisions, but police say they must sound the alarm because this problem isn’t limited to La Crosse.

Jack D. Taylor, 34, of La Crosse was arrested Wednesday in the 2000 block of George Street on charges of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, maintaining a drug-trafficking place, felony bail jumping and possession of drug paraphernalia after discovering more than 100 grams of suspected methamphetamine, $4,500 worth of drugs and $3,200 in cash.

Jack D. Taylor mug

Taylor

Taylor has a “lengthy criminal history in Wisconsin and Minnesota,” according to police, and has been released on a signature bond in a pending case in La Crosse County where he was charged with manufacturing/delivering amphetamine and other cases in Minnesota.

Capt. Jason Melby described Taylor as a “for-profit” dealer.

This is not someone who sells drugs to afford his own addiction or sells to his friends, Melby said. Those people need treatment, but Taylor’s livelihood relies on selling drugs, he said.

“We have long held that ‘for-profit’ dealers need different considerations when being released on bond,” Melby said. We “need to interrupt the supply of drugs” to avoid “irreparable harm to the community.”

Interim La Crosse Police Chief Rob Abraham said in a written statement Thursday that he asked the Criminal Justice Management Council to conduct a review “on why and how repeat offenders are able to be released multiple times on signature bonds, so common people like me can understand this confusing process.”

Abraham said bonds are a statewide issue.

“This isn’t a La Crosse police versus the judges issue, this is a much bigger issue that needs the attention of our state legislators. But in order for change to occur, people need to speak up,” Abraham said.

When it comes to court proceedings, lawyers and judges are ethically bound from discussing particular cases and decisions and must consider “confidentiality (which) may affect how much information is shared,” said La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke in last week’s meeting.

Gruenke declined providing a statement regarding the police department’s statement.


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