Ozanne disputes detective's claim of delay in crime cases - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Ozanne disputes detective's claim of delay in crime cases

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne disputes a police detective's claim there's foot-dragging on criminal cases on Ozanne's watch.

"We have to take time in difficult and complex cases," Ozanne tells 27 News.

In a Jan. 2 email to her police chief on a sexual assault case, UW Police detective Carol Kashishian explains why she's arranged for a suspect to be booked at the Dane County jail, instead of referring the matter to the district attorney's office for the suspect to be summoned to court.

"This case was not sent up for a summons to appear based on recent history that cases are taking too long (my opinion) to be reviewed and charged," Kashishian writes.

Kashishian has yet to respond to a request for comment from 27 News on what cases have lingered, and for how long. The case that prompted Kashishian's email involved a December 2013 sexual assault arrest. The arrested man, 18-year old Dominic Cizauskas of Mukwonago, was charged with third degree sexual assault in March.

27 News asked Ozanne whether the length of time devoted to reviewing cases before making a decision on whether to lodge a criminal charge in Dane County is consistent with practices of other district attorneys.

"Everyone wants to make sure they address violations of the law as soon as possible," Ozanne tells 27 News. "Cases don't get better for the state the longer time passes."

One current, Dane County criminal prosecution commenced this month, after an extraordinary length of time since the crime's alleged commission.

In October 2012, motorist Timothy Grulke of Waunakee hit and killed a bicyclist. At the time, a Dane County Sheriff's official said Grulke told investigators he fell asleep at the wheel prior to the collision. Seventeen months later, on April 16, Grulke was charged with homicide by negligent operation.

Ozanne says because it is a pending case, he's limited ethically as to what he can discuss.

"What I can tell you is this: obviously, in traffic cases, there are reconstruction issues," Ozanne tells 27 News. "There are other things that actually do take time."

In the Cizauskas case, another email between UW Police personnel describes the distress of the sexual assault victim during the weeks of case review, as some of the victim's acquaintances began to question her story, with no criminal charge lodged.

Ozanne says careful, deliberate review of fact circumstances ultimately help all those involved in a potential, criminal circumstance.

"It's important to note: these are very, very important decisions that affect the lives of not only a defendant, but of victims, and we take that very seriously. It's important we make the right decisions, and do it right," Ozanne says.

Ozanne says in addition to case complexity contributing to lengthier reviews, referral of cases to his office has snowballed, while staff size has stood still.

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