Judge orders special prosecutor in town cop's case
June 30, 2010 | 08:39 AM
Elkhorn — A former town of Geneva sergeant who is facing felony charges won't be prosecuted by the Walworth County District Attorney's Office.
Robert B. Haase has been charged with falsifying a recorded statement and failing to perform his known duty. If convicted of both counts, he faces seven years imprisonment and $20,000 in fines.
On June 24, Judge Michael Gibbs agreed with Haase's request to have a special prosecutor because the Walworth County DA's office has a conflict of interest in the case.
"Justice not only has to be done, but it has to appear to be done," Gibbs said. "The DA has 10 days to appoint (a special prosecutor) or I will."
Haase's defense attorneys, Stephen Kramer and Melissa Frost, argued that attorneys in the DA's office, including Assistant District Attorney Diane Donohoo, who was prosecuting the case, likely will be called to testify.
Kramer also argued that Haase could be called as a witness in other criminal proceedings and prosecutors would need to advocate his truthfulness.
"He wants to set himself apart because he is a police officer," Donohoo said. "I will never advocate for this defendant."
Donohoo said only a few drunken driving cases are still pending in which Haase may be involved as a police officer.
She said she currently has no cases, nor will she take cases in the future, that involve Haase.
She also said she wasn't involved in the sexual assault case in which the charges against Haase originated.
"There is absolutely no reason that I would be called because I had nothing to do with the Scott Anderson file," Donohoo said.
Anderson, 49, was charged with felony repeated sexual assault of a child, but the charges were reduced to misdemeanor fourth-degree sexual assault.
Anderson will be sentenced Aug. 18 on the misdemeanor charge, to which he pleaded guilty in May.
Donohoo said the defense has reasons behind due process and a conflict of interest for wanting a new prosecutor.
She said she has had preliminary discussions about an agreement with the defense attorneys — and they don't like what she has to offer.
"He just wants to forum shop," Donohoo said. "This court shouldn't be manipulated in that way."
Kramer called the forum shopping idea "ridiculous."
"I have no ability in the proceeding to say who is going to be the special prosecutor," he said.
Donohoo also said it was the job of the Walworth County DA's office to ensure Haase is no longer a police officer.
"Our duty is keeping him from being the first person on a crime scene," Donohoo said.
However, before the Walworth County DAs office wanted to prosecute the case, it wanted someone else to do it.
Kramer said the Attorney General's Office was contacted about prosecuting the case, but it refused.
"I'm sure (District Attorney Phillip Koss) had a damn good reason to call a special prosecutor," Kramer said. "(The Walworth County District Attorney's Office) has a grudge against this guy."
Kramer said the Attorney General's office denied to prosecuted the case because of time constraints "or perhaps that office determined there was no merit to the case."
Gibbs dismissed the idea that the Attorney General's Office declined to prosecute the case for a lack of merits.
"It's a chicken attorney general's office. They don't want to do anything," Gibbs said.