WisconsinWeekly: Lost DNA, cheese war, tourist druggings

MKE destroys evidence, cheese war brews, high court mulls records law, tourists drugged in Mexico, water plan on hold, criminal records persist

Of note: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed that the city’s police department had destroyed crucial biological evidence in at least 50 murder cases. Prosecutors say the destruction will make it more difficult, if not impossible, to find the perpetrators in these cold cases. Such DNA evidence has uncovered numerous wrongful convictions, including the case against Wisconsin’s Richard Beranek, and has led to suspects in long-dormant cases, such as the Golden State Killer, also dubbed the East Area Rapist, a former California police officer.

WisconsinWeekly is produced by Dee and Andy Hall, a couple who founded the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Andy is the executive director and Dee is the managing editor.

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A killer left DNA evidence behind. But Milwaukee police destroyed it.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — June 22, 2018

The body of Deborah Lynn Oberg was found under the Hoan Bridge on July 11, 1983. But even with continuing advances in DNA technology, Oberg’s killer likely will never be caught. That’s because the Milwaukee Police Department destroyed the evidence in her case — along with at least 50 other homicides — to make more room in a storage facility.

Trump’s trade war could shut cheesemakers out of foreign markets

The New York Times — June 24, 2018

As President Donald Trump’s aggressive trade measures prompt other countries to retaliate with barriers to American goods, Wisconsin dairy farmers and cheesemakers are growing anxious about what will happen to all of the milk and cheese they churn out and typically sell overseas. “If export markets get shut off, I could see us getting to the point where we’re dumping our milk in the fields,” said Jeff Schwager, the president of Sartori Co. “It’ll be a big ripple effect through the state.”

Justices are considering limits on how the Wisconsin public records law applies to justices, judges and court officials

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — June 25, 2018

The state Supreme Court is deliberating over how the state’s public records law applies to justices, judges and other court officials — setting off alarm bells with government transparency advocates. The Supreme Court spokesman indicated the court is weighing whether email addresses for judges and justices should be released. Earlier, WCIJ reported on a stealthy effort by Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature to eviscerate the openness law: Drafting notes silent on author of open records overhaul.

Residents struggle to overcome state’s tough expungement laws

Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service — June 25, 2018

Like most individuals who have been convicted of or charged with crimes in Wisconsin — whether they resulted in convictions or not — Maurice Buchanan can’t wipe the slate clean, according to a new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum that detailed the state’s much tougher-than-average expungement laws. The report highlights several factors that separate Wisconsin’s expungement laws from almost every other state in the nation.

Terrifying stories from tourists in Mexico continue a year after mysterious drowning

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — June 27, 2018

A year after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel brought to light a suspicious drowning and other troubling accounts from tourists vacationing at upscale all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, the stories continue to surface. Since early July of 2017, the Journal Sentinel has heard from more than 170 travelers describing injuries, illnesses and deaths after drinking alcohol at resorts and in tourist towns in Mexico.

Tammy Baldwin wants results with Badger Ammunition plant water problems

Madison.com — June 27, 2018

When the U.S. Army announced last year it would not be able to fund a previously agreed upon municipal drinking water system for the town of Merrimac area impacted by groundwater contamination, community stakeholders took notice. Although the U.S. Army has ramped up its cleanup efforts at Badger and has recently begun to communicate more clearly and often, some people are frustrated and tired of waiting. Earlier from WCIJ: Costs, water pollution remain at closed Badger Army Ammunition Plant.

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