Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vollbrecht granted bail, moved to Sauk County - BARABOO NEWS REPUBLIC

By Ed Zagorski

Attorneys representing Terry G. Vollbrecht, who was convicted of murdering 18-year-old Angela Hackl more than 20 years ago, were successful Thursday in getting a Dodge County judge to set a cash bond and also release their client into the custody of the Sauk County Sheriff's Department.

"We are just one more step closer to getting Terry where he belongs in the community," said Erik R. Guenther, a Madison [Wisconsin criminal defense] attorney who represents Vollbrecht.

Vollbrecht did not comment during Thursday's hearing.

Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Stephen G. Bauer, who set Vollbrecht's $425,000 cash bond, is the same judge, who, on Jan. 10, granted Vollbrecht a new trial. Bauer reported in his findings that the "real issue has not been fully tried."

Vollbrecht, 49, was convicted in 1989 of the 1987 murder and rape of Hackl, but claimed the evidence surrounding his trial was circumstantial.

Hackl disappeared in June 1987 after drinking with friends in Sauk City and was discovered several days later hanging from a tree west of the village.

She had been shot several times in the back, court records state.

Vollbrecht admitted leaving a bar with Hackl and having consensual sex with her. Police officers focused their investigative efforts on Vollbrecht.

On Thursday, Guenther argued that Vollbrecht should immediately be released from the Wisconsin prison system and transferred to Sauk County's custody in anticipation of the trial.

Vollbrecht has been imprisoned since his conviction in December 1989. He was being held at the Stanley Correctional Institution in Stanley, according to court records.

State Assistant Attorney General David J. Wambach said Vollbrecht should be kept in prison where there are no opportunities for him to escape.

"If there is something wrong with his teeth, they could help him at the institution," Wambach said. "If he gets sick, he can get help at the prison. There is no chance for him to try and escape as there is with transporting a prisoner from one place to another."

Bauer said he trusts the Sauk County Sheriff's Department to keep Vollbrecht in custody.

Guenther also argued that Vollbrecht deserves the same pre-trial presumption of innocence as any other defendant, and as such should have a chance to make his case for release on a reasonable amount of bail.

Wambach asked Bauer on Thursday to set Vollbrecht's cash bond at $1 million.

"It is rational that this court consider all the factors that the original judge did not," Wambach said. "You have the ability to do whatever you deem is appropriate and one is setting bail to assure Mr. Vollbrecht does not flee and makes his future court appearances."

Guenther said Vollbrecht would not attempt to flee prosecution.

"Terry Vollbrecht has cooperated with law enforcement since the beginning of this investigation before his trial," Guenther said. "Terry Vollbrecht stayed in his home community while awaiting his first trial. He is not a flight risk."

Guenther asked that Vollbrecht's cash bail be set at $266,000, which he determined based upon the original $150,000 cash bail from Vollbrecht's first trial with the cost of inflation.

Wambach said on Feb. 22 he appealed Bauer's decision to grant Vollbrecht a new trial.

"It is difficult to predict when the court of appeals will have an opportunity to review it, but it could take several months," he said.

The article is available here.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Federal Court Hears Arguments In Case Defending Transgender People’s Right To Access Medical Treatment in Prison - ACLU of WISCONSIN

ACLU And Lambda Legal Argue That Doctors, Not Legislators, Should Determine Medical Treatment


February 7, 2011


Robyn Shepherd, ACLU, (917) 302-7189 or (212) 549-2666;
Larry Dupuis, ACLU of Wisconsin Foundation, (414) 272-4032, ext. 12;
Erik Roldan, Lambda Legal, (312) 663-4413 or (312) 545-8140;

CHICAGO – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit heard oral arguments today in a case defending the right of transgender people to receive medical care while they are incarcerated. Under Wisconsin law, prison doctors are prohibited from prescribing hormone treatment to transgender inmates. The law is being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Wisconsin and Lambda Legal.

“The district court correctly struck down a discriminatory law that denied transgender people, and no one else, crucial care for a serious medical condition,” said John Knight, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project. “We hope that the court of appeals affirms this ruling and recognizes that medical treatment decisions must be based on medical, rather than political, justifications.”

In 2005, the state of Wisconsin passed a law that barred prison doctors from providing transgender inmates medically necessary hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery while in state custody. The ACLU, the ACLU of Wisconsin and Lambda Legal sued the state on behalf of transgender inmates, some of whom had been receiving hormone treatment in Wisconsin prisons for years. An injunction was granted to continue hormone treatment until a ruling was made. In April 2010, after a full trial, a federal district court struck down the so-called “Inmate Sex Change Prevention Act.”

“The trial court ruled that it is cruel and unusual punishment to deny medical treatment to transgender prisoners for a serious medical need,” said Dru Levasseur, Lambda Legal’s Transgender Rights attorney. “We hope this court will affirm the principle that is so important to all of us – doctors, and not legislators, should decide what medical treatment is critical for their patients.”

The clients in this case were represented by Knight of the ACLU LGBT Project, Levasseur of Lambda Legal, Larry Dupuis of the ACLU of Wisconsin, Erik Guenther of Hurley, Burish & Stanton and Jonathan Baum and Alyx Pattison of the Chicago firm Katten Muchin Rosenman.

More information on this case, Fields v. Smith, can be found on the American Civil Liberties Union case profile page at: or on Lambda Legal’s case page at: