Judge tosses felony charge against former parole chairperson

RACINE, Wis. (AP) — A judge on Tuesday dropped a felony charge against the former chairperson of the Wisconsin Parole Commission.

Racine County Circuit Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz dismissed the case against John Tate II on Tuesday, the Racine Journal Times reported.

Prosecutors charged Tate on April 18 with using his public position as a Racine alderman for his private benefit, online court records indicate.

According to a criminal complaint, Tate unlawfully negotiated the terms of his employment for Racine’s new violence interruption coordinator position after approving the creation of the job as Common Council president. He then applied for the position, and city officials offered it to him.

Tate initially announced that he would resign as an alderman to begin his role as the coordinator in mid-November. However, he didn’t resign until his term finished April 17 after he said he had been advised that state law prohibits sitting local elected officials from taking positions that were created during their term of office.

His atttorneys, Patrick Cafferty and Jillian Scheidegger, filed a motion to dismiss the case Monday. They argued that while Tate was a public employee who privately negotiated a contract, his only action as a public employee was to vote to accept grant funds that would allow the role to be created.

The judge dismissed the case without prejudice, which means prosecutors could charge Tate again if any additional information comes to light.

Last year, Gov. Tony Evers asked for Tate’s resignation as parole commission chairman, following Tate’s decision to parole Douglas Balsewicz, who was convicted of stabbing his wife to death, in the presence of the couple’s two young children.