A Mequon lawyer charged with a hate crime for spitting on a teenager is considering filing a motion to change venue.
Stephanie Rapkin, an estate planning and probate attorney at the Law Office of Stephanie Rapkin in Mequon, appeared for a preliminary hearing via Zoom online videoconferencing on Friday morning.
In June, Rapkin was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct with a hate-crime modifier and felony battery or threat to a judge, prosecutor or law enforcement officer.
A criminal complaint accuses Rapkin of spitting in the face of 17-year-old Eric Lucas, who was peacefully protesting with his friends in Shorewood in early June. When officers went to Rapkin’s Shorewood home to arrest her, they said she tried to resist and kneed one of the officers in the groin.
On Friday, Rapkin waived her preliminary hearing, and the court bound her over for trial.
Rapkin’s attorney, Jason Luczak of GRGB Law, filed a request for Substitution of Judge, and the court consented to substitution against Judge David Hansher. The case has been reassigned to Judge David Borowski in Branch 12.
Luczak said he was considering filing a motion to change venue, which has to be done at the time of the arraignment. He asked for a separate arraignment date in front of the judge, and the State did not object.
Rapkin’s arraignment is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on July 29.
Attorney Michael Maistelman appeared on Friday’s Zoom call on behalf of his client, Joe Friedman. Friedman recorded a video of Rapkin pushing him during a confrontation over the spitting incident a day after it happened.
Maistelman released a statement on behalf of Friedman that said Rapkin is asking for a change of venue “presumably because she cannot get a fair jury trial in Milwaukee County because of the publicity.”
However, Friedman doubted that was the only reason.
“I think the real reason that Attorney Rapkin wants to get a jury from outside Milwaukee County is that she would like to draw from a jury pool that may not be as sympathetic to the Black Lives Matter movement,” the statement read.
[follow id=“WLJreporter” size=”large” count=”true”]