Friday, February 3rd, 2023
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

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Taking a closer look at Rep. Jarchow’s reason for drafting AB-411, and Robert Stietz’s 2012 Lafayette County case

Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake, is trying to get his bill, AB-411 – a bill that would further limit DNR game warden entry to private land – through the legislature.

Jarchow has partially based “the need” for a new law such as that contained in AB-411, on a November 2012 incident in Lafayette County.

In that incident, Robert Stietz, now 68, of Gratiot, was involved in an armed confrontation with wardens on the last day of the 2012 deer season. A jury found Stietz guilty of resisting a law enforcement officer with a dangerous weapon and intentionally pointing a firearm at an officer. After the conviction, Stietz, through his attorney, took the case to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, where the Lafayette County decision was upheld.

The case wasn’t over, though. Stietz appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court where, in a split decision, the high court ruled that a self-defense argument – something that the circuit court and appellate court said didn’t apply – should have been allowed. That defense can now be used in a re-trial. Katherine Findley was the Lafayette County district attorney in 2012. The county’s current D.A. is Jenna Gill, who took over the post Jan. 1.

Jarchow, R- Balsam Lake, used this case to justify his offering of Assemby Bill 411, a bill that would prohibit wardens from entering private property unless they had “… specific and articulable facts a person has been, is, or is about to engage in criminal activity …” at the bill’s public hearing in July.

DNR game wardens were not allowed to testify at the hearing. Satiety attended the hearing, but did not testify. His wife did testify and offered her account of what her husband told her happened that day. Attached here are the two DNR game wardens’ activity report and the case report.

Stietz was found guilty on two of six charges on March 14, 2014, after seven hours of jury deliberation. Stietz had originally been charged with two counts of resisting or obstructing an officer, two counts of intentionally pointing a firearm at a law enforcement officer, one count of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, and one count of endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon.

The jury found Stietz guilty of two of the charges: one count of resisting or obstructing an officer (misdemeanor), and one count of intentionally pointing a firearm at a law enforcement officer (Class H felony. The felony has been removed from Stietz’s record). There has been no word on whether the case will be re-tried.

 

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