Wisconsin attorney Michael D. Petersen is a crook, a cheat, a thief and a liar. Even he would tell you so if you were to inquire about retaining his services. Why? Because he is legally obliged to do so until he finishes serving out the contempt of court sentence laid on him by Judge Philip Kirk, who also said that he hoped that Petersen would have “as much business as a pimp in a nursing home” in what was described as one of the more printable phrases in his diatribe.
Why so mad, your honour?
In May 2014, the father of Petersen’s client told Petersen he wanted his son to plead guilty to attempted theft, making his son eligible for certain treatment programs through the Department of Corrections.
Petersen said he had negotiated a settlement with Maier, the prosecutor, and that the paperwork would change at some point to reflect the conviction on the attempted theft charge.
On Petersen’s recommendation, the son pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery and was sentenced on that charge.
The son then called his father after the hearing and told him the charge had not been changed, that Petersen had lied.
In June 2014, the father emailed the law firm employing Petersen regarding the charge. Petersen responded saying he had discussed amending the charge with Maier and forwarded a response, purportedly from Maier, acknowledging the agreement.
Maier told police that he had never sent such an email and never agreed to amend the charge.
After sending more emails over the next two months and not getting what he felt was a satisfactory response, dad threatened to contact the judge, the Wisconsin State Bar and the attorney general. And it was then that Petersen apparently decided it would be a good idea to make things worse. Much, much worse.
Petersen set up a motion hearing for October and the father went to Petersen’s office to get a copy of an order to amend the conviction. When the father brought the document, which was reportedly signed by the judge, to the Clerk of Court, he learned that the document was not in his son’s file — and that the judge was not familiar with the order.
A letter to the judge from Petersen said he might have inadvertently duplicated the judge’s signature onto the drafted order while he was photocopying a different document.
Petersen denied putting the judge’s signature on the order when he talked with an investigator. But on Dec. 10, 2014, Petersen dropped off a letter at the Appleton Police Department saying, in part, that he had “phonied” a document to get the father off his back.
It seems the courts frown on that sort of thing (especially courts overseen by Philip Kirk), which brings us to where we are today. And what a glorious place it is, no?
I know this one act isn’t going to change the world, but sometimes it’s nice to see someone who acts like a scumbag get officially treated like a scumbag.