La Crosse County Circuit Court Judge Scott Horne wrote a guest column (La Crosse Tribune, July 28) that offered a generic overview of how the bond system in Wisconsin works.

His column appears to be an attempt to address concerns that I raised publicly on the use of signature bonds for repeat offenders.

The case I took issue with was when a convicted heroin-dealing felon with a prior sexual assault conviction was released on back-to-back signature bonds hours apart after an allegation of second-degree sexual assault of a minor. When the defendant left jail after his first signature bond, he immediately confronted the victim.

La Crosse interim police chief Rob Abraham


Can you imagine how the victim felt not only during the initial incident, but when she was confronted by the same offender after she found the courage to report him?

Juvenile investigators who specialize in these types of interviews hadn’t even conducted an in-depth interview with this juvenile and she was already being intimidated by the suspect. One can only imagine the fear, intimidation and confusion this young lady was feeling when a system designed to protect her already had failed her.

The defendant was already out on signature bond for robbery, car theft and battery charges. He has a long history of bail jumping and violating Justice Support Services conditions.

In the column by Judge Scott Horne, he stated that “complaints from law enforcement have originated with signature bonds followed by significantly higher bonds after serious violations of bond have been discovered.”

I disagree. Court records indicate this individual has already violated Justice Sanctions rules on July 12, 16, 18, 19 and 24. The courts have not adjusted his bond. Prosecutors routinely request cash bonds and argue prior bond violations to the bench. In the earlier example, prosecutors did request a cash bond, which was denied.

Most people I hear from are grateful someone is willing to raise these concerns, but there are others who take offense that police are “not playing nice with the judges.” They suggest judges can’t defend themselves.

While I understand that judges can’t speak about pending cases, when is the voting public able to hear from the people they elected? When can they hear from the judges on their judicial philosophy to ensure that aligns with who they want as a judge?

Judges are elected officials who must run for office every six years and they should receive feedback from the electorate.

Others suggest that law enforcement and the judges should “work together.” One of the reasons the judicial system in the United States is “the best system in the world,” as one local judge recently stated, is because we have a system of checks and balances and separation of branches.

Judges hold law enforcement accountable — and they should. Judges are not afraid to chastise an officer or attorney in the courtroom and, most recently, on the Opinion page. Many officers have felt the wrath of a judge. When the shoe is placed on the other foot, some suggest the conduct is unprofessional.

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Judge Horne points out that “monetary conditions of release must be based on a finding that cash bail is necessary to secure appearance.” If that is true, I want to understand why some are held on million-dollar bonds — Jeffrey Lepsch, Eric Koula, DeShawn Randall and others accused of killing.

These men, too, are innocent until proven guilty and none could afford that bond. In these examples, the only factor considered was the severity of the crime. Not one judge required a preventive detention hearing. The judge made the decision for detention because they could and no one disagreed except for the accused and their attorneys. Police supported these bond decisions.

The La Crosse Police Department has not taken issue with most bond decisions made by our judges. The La Crosse police administration has taken issue with bond decisions of a few repeat offenders, many of whom are already out on bond or have long histories of not complying with bonds, only to be arrested again and let out on signature bonds.

While the judges continue to try to defend these cases by explaining it away with generalized statements about bonds, community members I hear from disagree with their reasoning when handling repeat offenders. Even Judge Horne in his recent column states that judges can revoke bond for violations. If there was ever a case that called for this, it is the case that I presented.

Law enforcement has never argued that judges should impose million-dollar bonds on all drug dealers or that each one deserves the maximum sentence.

In many drug use cases before the bench, we recognize that rehabilitation is the best solution. We argue that repeat drug dealers, armed felons and other violent criminals who commit the same type of crimes while out on bonds should not qualify to continue to get signature bonds. They’re dangerous to our community, they are dangerous to the police and they could kill any person they reach with their poisonous drugs and violence.

Law enforcement realizes that we are only one player in the criminal justice system and the effort to curb overdose deaths and drug dealing.

It takes a community, as acknowledged recently by Gundersen and Mayo Health Systems leaders.

As Dr. Scott Rathgaber and Dr. Paul Mueller wrote (La Crosse Tribune, July 28), it takes “the concerted effort of government, education, social-services, businesses, neighborhoods, health-care systems and advocacy groups working together on this effort.”

The judicial branch must be a force in helping the criminal justice system send a strong message to drug dealers and the violent criminals that fuel the drug-dealing market that our community will not tolerate such activity.

The voice that has been lost in this debate on what should or shouldn’t be said on social media is that of the victim.

I have served this community for 29 years. I am a victim-rights advocate. I am anti-criminal. I support holding accountable those who commit crimes and victimize our community. I will continue bringing these important matters to the public’s attention.

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Robert Abraham is assistant chief of the La Crosse Police Department. He also is serving as interim chief.


(30) comments


A Veteran? You sound like a timid and fearful little old lady. The country is overrun with crime? Not only is violent crime down across the country, the Coulee Region is one of the most peaceful areas of the country. You should realize that you are exchanging information with people that think on this site. This is not a Trump rally where you can throw out the dumbest sound bite and it gets swallowed up and believed. Prove the country is overrun with crime? You can't.

A Veteran

job---Looks like I hit a nerve on these two clowns,buck up fellers the truth does hurt when you are on the wrong side of it. !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rick Czeczok

Don't speak of nerves, you're one of the biggest cowards on this board.


On the other hand Jobaba, if Abraham would concentrate on doing HIS job maybe the crime rate in Lacrosse would be even lower. Airing out your dirty laundry takes time you know...

A Veteran

People remember what jobba and cape's beliefs are the next time you vote.Liberal loons like these two are a big reason our country is overrun with crime.We must rid our communities of attitudes like these two espouse!!!!!!!!!!!!


Oh boo hoo spoiled brat. Still have hurt feelings since I got the best of you huh? Well try being honest and you wouldn't get beat down as much. Dishonesty like this post of yours will get you nowhere. Buck up cupcake, you have to do better than this. I stand with the Judges and the law, you stand with Abraham and emotion. You and Abraham don't like it take it up through the channels of the law. Airing your dirty laundry won't get you anything except more divisiveness.


Gosh! [ohmy]

Rick Czeczok

How about that real name. Oh that's right the boogie man will come to your door. Oh NO!!!!!!


Have another martini.

A Veteran

cape---only in your dream you got the best of me,when are you going to take my bet ,when you grow a pair and take my bet I will take yours-----COWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


careful now, veteran is wearing his panties and he feels empowered!


A Veteran knows damm well Hillary isn't going to prison and that's why he won't take my bet. He would rather go on spouting off and doing what Rush and Jones tell him. Right little punk? Have another martini!


You were so sure Hillary was going to prison. What changed your mind that you wouldn't bet me? Money or the truth?

A Veteran

CAPE THE COWARD----You failed to mention my bet ,take mine and I will take yours.You do not need my name to turn me in all you have to do is call law enforcement they can get my name from the tribune.But I am sure your name will come out too,so go ahead I have my VA I.D. card and my DD214 form already COWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Veteran

cape----You support judges who go easy on crime by letting dangerous felons out on small bonds.This puts the public and more importantly the police at a higher risk.So I say you do not mind high crime and you hate law enforcement !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


And I say you are a liar. A liar of the worst kind. Should we see if the paper will allow us to take a poll and then you and I can make another bet to see who the real liar is? What say you? You wouldn't take the Hillary going to prison bet, how about that one?


over run with crime. If claiming to be a veteran while a person has never served should be a crime. Veteran/ricky boy doesn't know what he is ever talking about. He is too busy staring at panties. Another crime I suspect veteran is guilty of.

A Veteran

martian ---Well it appears that our truck driver know it all does not know that it is a CRIME in Wisconsin to claim you are a Veteran if you receive any monetary benefit from your claim of being a Veteran.Since I have claimed I am a disabled Veteran receiving free health care I am receiving monetary benefit,I DARE YOU OR ANY OTHER LIBERAL LOON WHO HAS SAID I AM NOT A VETERAN TO TURN ME IN. Please do turn me in then I can get your real names-----YOU ARE A COWARD IF YOU DO'NT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Well, why don't you tell us your name then so we can check? Careful, your blood pressure is getting up there. I think your drinking is getting the best of you. Are you using more than one name?

A Veteran

martian ----You do not call 59 shootings 7dead in Chicago being overrun with crime.Last year they had 70 in one weekend,what does it take for you to say there is a crime problem. It was so bad that one of the main hospitals had to stop taking people in their trauma ward because it was full.You can join the other two liberal loon clowns and we will call you guys the THREE STOOGES. When are you going to show us you facts on congress's ability to charge Trump with a crime????? COWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Veteran

martian---If you do not think this country ,mainly states and cities run by liberal loons for years is over run by crime look at the shootings so far in 2019 in Chicago,Baltimore,and L.A. Total for three cities is3073 shootings 702 dead.Maybe you and the other two stooges should think about that and your position on going easy on crime and hating the police. SHAME ON YOU COWARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Who said anything about " going easy on crime and hating the police"? Can you prove that? Easy now, your blood presure is getting awfully high. Just put the martini's down and answer respectfully. Oh, and you can forget the caps and exlamation marks. You can make your point without getting excited.

Mr Wizard

Hear! Hear!


A well written piece by Chief Abraham. Thank you.

The Mouse of Death

[censored]It would behoove La Crosse County judges to continue to let violent people run wild and free. Without violent crime, where would we be? Criminals have the right to attack people just like anybody else. We are indeed bemezzled by the big drug dealers who operate unmolested by the cops, judges, FBI and state police.


Haven't the police and their unions and lobbying groups done enough to remove our freedoms yet? Now they want to remove the right to be presumed innocent on their say so. I know this is difficult to understand for Mr. A., but unless you write in thanking Judges for the times bail worked -- and this is many more times than it has failed--you either don't understand what it means to work with people covered by the US Constitution, or you are trying to bend the system to your will. I am given to understand that you have a small experience in law enforcement. Have you not learned yet that crime will never be gone? That mistakes can and will be made? That there is no gold plated answer and the police are not always right? Leave our system alone. If you want to be a judge, run for office. Until then, clean up the police department. There is enough work there to keep you busy.


Oh good god Abraham, take it up with the Judges. Are you afraid to talk with them if it's that important to you? If you have been here for that long I hope you have been conducting business more professionally than this. Sounds to me like you are bucking for the COP job or maybe getting burned out. If you can't foster a professional relationship with judges that is respectful maybe it's time for you to get out. I'm not convinced you would be spouting off in the press if you didn't belong to a union.

Rick Czeczok

Now we see why you can't give your real name. If you did you wouldn't be able to put these brave comments out. Crawl back under your rock or give your real name. Or as the song says "shut your mouth".


You must not have slept a wink dreaming this one up since your last post under another name. You must be one of those compassionate conservatives who doesn't believe in free speech huh? Unless it coincides with what you believe of course. Perhaps instead of trying to figure out who everyone else is you ought to stop trollin and be more honest about who you really are...


An excellent response to the weak rationalizations by Scott Horne.

As elected officials and public servants, our county judges DO owe the People an explanation as to why repeat offenders - even the violent ones - are given little to no bail and put back out on the street.

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