Daily Bread for 5.14.22: Convicted Murderer Douglas Balsewicz Is Unworthy of Parole

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 83.  Sunrise is 5:31 AM and sunset 8:10 PM for 14h 38m 24s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 96.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1953, Milwaukee brewery workers go on strike:

Milwaukee brewery workers begin a 10-week strike, demanding contracts comparable to those of East and West coast workers. The strike was won when Blatz Brewery accepted their demands, but Blatz was ousted from the Brewers Association for “unethical” business methods as a result. The following year Schlitz president Erwin C. Uihlein told guests at Schlitz’ annual Christmas party that “Irreparable harm was done to the Milwaukee brewery industry during the 76-day strike of 1953, and unemployed brewery workers must endure ‘continued suffering’ before the prestige of Milwaukee beer is re-established on the world market.”

Oh, brother: ‘irreparable harm’ and ‘continued suffering.’ Considering history since 1953, supposed irreparable harm from a mere brewery strike would count as a national blessing today…

Scott Bauer and Todd Richmond report Wisconsin chairman rescinds killer’s parole at Evers request:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Parole Commission’s leader agreed Friday to rescind a convicted murderer’s parole at Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ request after the governor came under criticism from rival Republicans looking to unseat him in November.

Evers sent a letter Friday to John Tate, the commission’s chairman, asking him to reconsider 54-year-old Douglas Balsewicz’s parole. He was set to be released from prison as soon as Tuesday after serving less than 25 years of his 80-year sentence for the 1997 stabbing death of his wife, Johanna Balsewicz. Evers lacks the power to rescind an convict’s parole on his own.

Evers met with Johanna Balsewicz’s family in the Capitol before sending the letter. The governor wrote that the family hadn’t gotten a chance to fully respond to the move.

“I do not agree with this decision, and I have considerable concerns regarding whether Johanna’s family was afforded sufficient opportunity to voice their memories, perspectives, and concerns before this decision was made,” Evers wrote.

Tate, an Evers appointee, later said in an email to The Associated Press and the Department of Corrections that he understands the governor’s concerns about the lack of victim input and that he was rescinding Douglas Balsewicz’s parole.

Earlier in the week, Tate told the Racine Journal Times that it was extremely unlikely Balsewicz’s parole would be revoked at this point unless he did something to warrant it. Tate, who is president of the Racine City Council, said rescinding Balsewicz’s parole would likely lead to a lawsuit that the state would lose. Tate didn’t immediately respond to an email from the AP Friday evening.

The crime: a husband stabbed his wife over forty times leading to her death in front of their daughter, for which the husband was lawfully convicted and sentenced to 80 years in prison. Parole almost 50 years before the end of the sentence amounts to unjustified leniency. A well-ordered society has a duty to confine the violent away from others, both as punishment and deterrent. Those lawfully convicted of violent crimes are yet able to live their lives in a confined setting. Douglas Balsewicz’s crime justified his sentence.

Tate’s concern about a possible lawsuit is expediency over principle. The right course here would have been to reject a parole request, after it was made, and then defend the denial of parole should there have followed a lawsuit from the murderous defendant. Win or lose that suit, at least Tate would have stood on principle. As it is, Parole Commission Chairman Tate made the wrong decision, tried to defend that wrong decision, and compelled Gov. Evers to urge reconsideration. If Tate had acted on principle (the general principle that violent killers should serve their sentences away from society), then the victim’s family would not have had to endure additional hardship, and there would have been no need for Evers to seek reversal of a bad decision.

Czechs open world’s longest suspension footbridge:

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