Jefferson County Judge Randy Koschnick continues to go down a low and unfortunate road in his quest to sit on the high court. He has succumbed to the worst elements of recent judicial races by using absurd descriptions such as "pro-criminal" when talking about complex matters of law. I'm not sure if it is out of desperation or a win-at-all-costs attitude, but Judge Koschnick has finally gone over the edge with these types of juvenile accusations. After Wednesday's debate, he put out a press release saying that his opponent showed a "hostility" towards law enforcement. We already know that Koschnick is prone to holding his opponent to a completely different standard than the one that he requires of himself. His irresponsible rhetoric forces me to ask the question, would Candidate Koschnick also say that Attorney Koschnick was "hostile" toward law enforcement?
As we all know, Randy Koschnick served as a public defender for 14 years before becoming a Jefferson County Judge. It is a necessary and noble profession and I have had the honor of working for many defense attorneys and know much about their good work, often in difficult circumstances. But this isn't about me, it's about Candidate Koschnick and the progressively absurd charges that he is trying to level for political gain. He has accused the Chief Justice of our state's highest court of being "hostile" to law enforcement because he disagrees with very specific rulings on some of the most complex matters of law. If Candidate Koschnick is willing to describe this as "hostility toward law enforcement" then what would he say about the many legal arguments that have been made by Attorney Koschnick over the years? Would he label his former self the same unfortunate way?
In a criminal defense career of 14 years there are many examples that could be used, but in this instance it is easier to use examples from his one famous case - Ted Oswald. I would say that Attorney Koschnick was just doing his best to represent his client at the time, but again, this is not about me, it is about what Candidate Koschnick would say about making some of these legal arguments. Would he hold himself to the same absurd standard that he has now set? Consider the following:
- Attorney Koschnick filed a motion and argued to suppress mounds of evidence that he argued was illegally seized by law enforcement. Essentially he was accusing law enforcement of repeatedly and purposefully breaking the law when they searched the Oswald home and vehicles on the property. Would Candidate Koschnick call this legal argument "hostile to law enforcement"?
- Attorney Koschnick filed a motion and argued to suppress the statements of Ted Oswald because he claimed that law enforcement acted inappropriately in the questioning of his client after he had clearly asked for an attorney. Would Candidate Koschnick describe these legal arguments as showing "hostility toward law enforcement"?
- Attorney Koschnick filed two different motions and argued to have 15 of the counts against Ted Oswald dismissed. While making these arguments, Attorney Koschnick claimed that the District Attorney's office "overcharged" with some of these counts. He continued by saying that the state had filed charges that "…are much more serious than is warranted." In other examples Attorney Koschnick made a probable cause argument in asking that the counts against Ted Oswald be dismissed. Would Candidate Koschnick call these legal arguments "hostile to law enforcement"?
- Perhaps the most ironic part was when Attorney Koschnick references a footnote in an opinion by then-Justice Abrahamson while making his argument to dismiss counts. Particularly interesting was the point at which the judge essentially accused this "strict constructionist" of basically reading into Justice Abrahamson's meaning. After making so many false accusations against the Chief Justice, would Candidate Koschnick allow such (mis)use of her rulings?
- While arguing to dismiss the numerous counts of Attempted First Degree Intentional Homicide, that resulted from the Oswald's shootout with law enforcement, Attorney Koschnick made a particularly odd argument. Even though one Police Captain had already been killed, Koschnick essentially argued that because the Oswalds were merely shooting in the general direction of the officers (page marked 71)that didn't mean that the Oswalds intended to kill them. He goes on to argue that if that was their intention the Oswalds would have shot, "at the officer's upper body areas where one would expect a person who was intending to kill another person to fire." The State had a very interesting and common sense response to this argument. Again, would Candidate Koschnick call this argument "hostile to law enforcement"?
Candidate Koschnick has put himself into a no-win situation by using his absurd "hostile to law enforcement" slogan. If he is concerned about being in any way consistent then he must charge Attorney Koschnick with being "hostile to law enforcement" also. On the other hand, if he rushes to the defense of Attorney Koschnick, then he is guilty of a very clear double standard. It is a terrible situation to find yourself in but alas he is the one that chose to go down this road.