And the Award Goes To...

The only reason the jury found me guilty was because Kirkendall acted like a b****.

Ronald Brimmer, upon being sentenced to 25 years prison for Second-Degree Sexual Abuse, May 24, 2021

Kirkendall should get nominated for a Best Acting Academy Award.

Robbie Hess, upon being sentenced to life in prison without parole for First-Degree Kidnapping, March 21, 2022

It’s an honor just to be nominated.  Prosecuting criminal cases does have an element of art to it, but a jury can sniff out insincerity from a mile away.  Both of these defendants tried to talk their way out of prison, but did more to convince the jury of their guilt than anything I could do.  Not to mention the testimony of survivors, law enforcement, and other witnesses.

Still, it takes a willing prosecutor to get cases to trial.  And I’ve been willing!  For defendants who have been charged with at least a Class C felony, I have first-chaired these cases through trial to a guilty verdict:

  1. State v. Booker, life without parole for Sexual Abuse as a Second Offender after he forcibly raped an adult;
  2. State v. Hess, life without parole for First-Degree Kidnapping of a teenager for the purpose of committing sexual abuse;
  3. State v. Halfhill, 25 years including mandatory 17.5 years before parole for Second-Degree Sexual Abuse of a child younger than 12;
  4. State v. Skahill, 25 years including mandatory 17.5 years before parole for Second-Degree Sexual Abuse of a child younger than 12;
  5. State v. Berwanger, 25 years including mandatory 17.5 years before parole for Second-Degree Sexual Abuse of a child younger than 12;
  6. State v. Stewart, awaiting sentence for Attempted Murder and multiple counts of Domestic Abuse Assault;
  7. State v. Alvarenga, 12-year sentence for Enticement and Indecent Contact with a child younger than 12;
  8. State v. Sallahadin, 10-year sentence for Third-Degree Sexual Abuse of an incapacitated adult;
  9. State v. Fangman, 10-year sentence for Third-Degree Sexual Abuse of an incapacitated minor.

C.J. May has first-chaired one case through trial to a guilty verdict, State v. Ellison.  That case started as a First-Degree Murder case, and resulted in a 10-year sentence for Voluntary Manslaughter.

For defendants who have elected to go to trial and have been convicted of a Class C felony or higher, my defendants have earned two life sentences without parole, 107 years prison with at least 52.5 mandatory before parole, plus another sentence to come with a minimum of 25 years.  Mr. May’s defendant earned 10 years.

How about pleas?  I have handled 22 cases where a defendant pled guilty to at least a Class C felony and was sentenced to prison (not probation).  In those cases, defendants have agreed to sentences totaling 427 years of imposed prison.  Adding in Class D felonies and misdemeanors would add hundreds of years to this number, as I have handled over 1,000 of those cases in the last four years.

Mr. May’s list of pleas with the same criteria (pled guilty to at least a Class C felony, sentenced to prison) includes four guilty pleas with 110 years of imposed prison.  He does not carry a docket of Class D or misdemeanor cases.

The current dysfunction in the office comes from asking someone who has never been a prosecutor, and who is unwilling to take on the basic duties of a prosecutor, to lead a team of prosecutors. Dubuque County deserves a chief prosecutor who lives up to the title.

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