Forced to seek bail, James Hutchins receives public backlash after deadly drunk driving crash

Three hundred fifty-two people were hurt, and three dead, when an out-of-control drunk driver plowed into an auto marionette parade in Waukesha. In the wake of the second-deadliest drunk driving crash in Wisconsin history, questions have been raised about the bail imposed on one of the accused perpetrators, James A. Hutchins, who’s facing eight counts of second-degree reckless homicide. News reports note that Hutchins made a successful appearance in Waukesha County court Friday. On Friday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Kohl’s department store made a public plea to urge the public to refrain from offering Hutchins assistance and support in the wake of the crash. The Journal Sentinel also noted that after Hutchins’s bail was set, many public comments online focused on the “social media responses of a woman who says Hutchins is ‘no joke, no joke, no joke’ and ‘seriously sorry to the people who are suffering from this terrible tragedy.’” Many of those comments speculated that comments like these show that people are helping bring Hutchins to the attention of state law enforcement. As Raw Story reported, Wisconsin state law allows bail to be set as high as $10 million for second-degree reckless homicide cases. After examining some of the the comments, Charles Capozzi, the chief legal counsel for the Milwaukee Police Department, said, “To a large extent, public opinion matters. If we start drawing people’s attention to what people are saying online, it really adds, I think, another dimension to the investigation and the prosecution of this case.”

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