Janet Protasiewicz, the liberal Milwaukee judge running for state Supreme Court, says she has sentenced “tens of thousands” of people.
This is false. In fact, it’s impossible.
She has only been a judge since 2014, and part of that was spent in family court.
Judicial ethics codes say that judges should not misrepresent the facts during campaigns.
Liberal Milwaukee judge Janet Protasiewicz blatantly lied about her sentencing record on Sunday, and she did it on video, as controversy grows over her weak sentencing of a convicted rapist who abducted a teen.
When journalist AJ Bayatpour challenged Protasiewicz about her time-served sentencing of the rapist, and the criticism that it means she has a soft sentencing record, Protasiewicz, a Milwaukee trial judge, responded, “That’s absolutely ridiculous. I have sentenced not hundreds of people, not thousands of people, but 10s of thousands of people, and I make those hard calls every single day.”
However, that is simply not true. The lie is on video.
As for criticism she's received for a 2021 sentence, where she declined to give additional prison time for a child enticement/3rd deg. sexual assault conviction, Protasiewicz says, "You don't have a crystal ball. I knew the facts that I knew at the time." pic.twitter.com/ZDYUMYSHRE
— A.J. Bayatpour (@AJBayatpour) January 15, 2023
Protasiewicz then defended letting rapist abductor Anton Veasley walk out the courthouse door on sentencing day.
Protasiewicz’s sentencing claim caught our attention. Really? She has sentenced “tens of thousands of people”? That would mean Protasiewicz has sentenced at least 20,000 people, but she’s only been a judge since 2014.
According to Ballotpedia, Protasiewicz was first elected judge on April 1, 2014. Before that time, she was a prosecutor, not in a position to sentence anyone. Her campaign says she has spent part of her time as a Milwaukee judge in family court where, again, she would not be in a position to sentence anyone. A judicial rotation confirms she was assigned to family court in June 2021. CCAP confirms that she’s still currently in family court.
Later in the same interview, Protasiewicz dropped the “tens of thousands language,” and said that the Republican Party of Wisconsin had filed an open records request “for every case I have touched since I became a judge and there are thousands of them.”
As a result, we asked the State Republican Party for the list of Protasiewicz’s cases. Included on the list of cases: A lot of cases for which there was no sentencing, things like civil, small claims, and family cases. The list also includes cases that were dismissed.
We ran a computer formula to determine how many cases had Protasiewicz’s name attached to them, and we came up with:
Criminal Traffic 879
That’s obviously nowhere close to the “tens of thousands” of cases she claimed. Furthermore, that number is inflated because we included traffic cases, which arguably aren’t sentencings. A number of the cases were before Protasiewicz as a judge but did not go to sentencing.
For example, included on the list is the 2021 case of Anthony Walther, who was charged with second-degree sexual assault of an unconscious victim. The case never went to sentencing because Protasiewicz dismissed it on a court’s motion, CCAP says.
The point is: Protasiewicz lied. She has not sentenced “tens of thousands” of people.
Let’s do the math another way. There have been 2,618 days from April 1, 2014 to June 1, 2021, and, of course, some of those were weekends. She would have had to handle more than 7 sentencing hearings every single day, including every Saturday and Sunday, without taking any days off, ever, to reach 20,000 sentencing hearings.
Thus, the list confirms what common sense would tell you: Janet Protasiewicz has NOT handled “tens of thousands” of sentencings, and the claim is a lie.
According to the Wisconsin Judicial Ethics code, “a candidate for a judicial office shall
not knowingly or with reckless disregard for the statement’s truth or falsity misrepresent the identity, qualifications, present position, or other fact concerning the candidate or an opponent.”
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