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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #1)

Mon Aug 5, 2013, 08:33 PM

2. Michael Vagnini avoids sexual assault charges but will lose job

 

Vagnini's attorney, Michael Steinle, also urged Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Wagner to accept the plea agreement. He said his client would not have been convicted of sexual assault by a jury because he never had intent to sexually degrade the victims or derive his own sexual gratification from the searches.

All Vagnini really wanted to do, Steinle said, was stop crime.

"In his zeal" for that task, Vagnini "didn't cross all the T's and dot the I's," Steinle said.

Because of the felony convictions, he will not be able to carry a gun and serve as a police officer.

Michael Vagnini avoids sexual assault charges but will lose job


A Milwaukee police officer pleaded no contest Monday to four felonies and four misdemeanors stemming from his practice of conducting illegal strip searches and cavity searches on male suspects, but avoided conviction for sexual assault.

The felony convictions, for misconduct in public office, will cost Michael Vagnini his job as a police officer and could land him in prison, a sentence prosecutors will seek at a hearing in June.

Vagnini, 34, faced 25 criminal charges from the investigation. All the rest, including seven counts of sexual assault, were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Assistant District Attorney Miriam Falk defended the arrangement, singling out criticism voiced by one defense lawyer in a Journal Sentinel article. She said the resolution of the case was not racist, discriminatory or insulting to the African-American community - a claim leveled by Robin Shellow, who represents one of the men searched by Vagnini. All the victims were black males.

Falk said prosecutors interviewed or reviewed statements from dozens of witnesses and many victims - those both mentioned in the criminal complaint and others. She said the general feeling among the victims was that stopping Vagnini's conduct was the highest priority.

She also said that many of the victims would have been extremely reluctant to testify at trial, and that a jury might have found reasons not to convict Vagnini of the sexual assault charge.

As to the fact that Vagnini will not have to register as a sex offender, Falk said she doesn't believe he represents a risk to the general public because his offenses all occurred in the context of police work, during drug investigations. Moreover, she said, all the facts of the case remain part of the public record.

Vagnini's attorney, Michael Steinle, also urged Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Wagner to accept the plea agreement. He said his client would not have been convicted of sexual assault by a jury because he never had intent to sexually degrade the victims or derive his own sexual gratification from the searches.

All Vagnini really wanted to do, Steinle said, was stop crime.

"In his zeal" for that task, Vagnini "didn't cross all the T's and dot the I's," Steinle said.

Because of the felony convictions, he will not be able to carry a gun and serve as a police officer.

Vagnini regularly pulled over drivers on a pretense of not wearing a seat belt or of having darkly tinted windows and searched them without a legal reason, according to a motion filed by Falk, who is prosecuting the case against Vagnini and three other officers.

Vagnini conducted searches of men's anal and scrotal areas, often inserting his fingers into their rectums, according to the criminal complaint. Vagnini acknowledged performing one of the searches, and at least one suspect said Vagnini planted drugs on him.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/crime/milwaukee-police-officer-pleads-guilty-in-strip-search-case-is9lh55-204141591.html

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my2sense Aug 2013 OP
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2013 #1
LineLineNew Reply Michael Vagnini avoids sexual assault charges but will lose job
Liberal_in_LA Aug 2013 #2
LWolf Aug 2013 #3
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