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Appeals court won’t let man who threatened judge withdraw pleas

Timothy Burns

Timothy Burns

A Kenosha man with a history of mental health issues will not be allowed to withdraw his pleas for sexual assault of a child and threatening a judge, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

Timothy Burns, 30, tried to claim in his appeal that he should be able to withdraw his pleas because he was not receiving his medication when incarcerated. But the appeals court, in a per curiam decision from District 2 Judges Paul Reilly, Lisa Neubauer and Mark Gundrum, stated it agreed with a psychiatrist who testified the medication was prescribed to help his behavior, and not any issues that affect his ability to comprehend court proceedings.

Burns was arrested in 2008 for sexually assaulting a then-5-year-old girl in 2008. While in jail for that case, Burns had a hearing for a family court matter. When Commissioner John Plous refused to allow Burns to see his daughter at the hearing, Burns screamed obscenities and had to be removed from the courtroom, according to the opinion.

Burns later passed an expletive-laden note to a jail guard that stated “to the judge that won’t let me see my daughter. I’m going to kill you … I’m going to chop you in pieces and then I am going to cook you and eat what’s left of your body … How bout I take your daughter away from you.”

He also passed another note that threatened to “bomb this jail and kill everyone in it,” according to the opinion.

That earned him a few more charges.

He pleaded no contest to first-degree child sexual assault and battery or threat to a judge, and Kenosha County Circuit Judge Mary Wagner sentenced him to 16 years in prison and 12 years extended supervision.

The court’s opinion dedicates about two pages to interactions Burns had with Wagner to prove that Burns was lucid and understood what he was doing when he entered his pleas.

The opinion also states Burns wrote a note to Wagner stating “the true reason he wanted to withdraw his plea was that his exposure of 62 years is too much,” and he wanted a “cap or a better plea deal.”

“Belated misgivings about one’s plea,” the opinion states, “does not constitute a fair and just reason for plea withdrawal.”

Burns’ attorney, Sara Heinemann Roemaat of D’Angelo & Jones LLP, declined to comment. Kenosha County DA Bob Zapf did not immediately return a message.

Burns is serving his prison sentence at the Stanley Correctional Institution. Once released, he will have to register as a sex offender for life.

The opinion states Burns has “racked up other charges for his disruptive conduct in jail,” including making threats, throwing and expelling bodily substances and bail jumping.

About Eric Heisig

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