Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

In 11th hour, man said attorney gave bad advice
After pleading guilty to sexual assault, UW-Whitewater student faces lengthy prison term

by Rob Ireland

August 04, 2011

Elkhorn — A University of Wisconsin-Whitewater student, who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman who passed out after drinking, said his public defender misguided him when he pleaded guilty to the crime.

Shelton Daniels, 21, of Whitewater, on May 26 pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual assault of an unconscious victim. He was scheduled to be sentenced July 28, but before the sentencing he raised concerns about his legal representation.

On July 28, Deputy District Attorney Joshua Grube questioned why these concerns weren’t raised until the sentencing date was looming.

“I asked that you revoke the defendant’s bond. He is no longer presumed innocent,” Grube said to Walworth County Judge Robert Kennedy.

A pre-sentence investigation — a report generated by the Department of Corrections that reviews the crime, the defendant’s criminal history and social traits — recommended Daniels serve eight years in prison.

“We have DNA evidence, and his statements that there was never contact whatsoever,” Grube said.

Daniels was represented by Public Defender Adam Welch, who has left the Walworth County public defenders office for a job in Madison. After Welch left, Daniels’ case was taken over by Public Defender Jeffrey Krebs.

“If there was ever an attorney that was aggressive for his client it was Mr. Welch,” Kennedy said.

Because Daniels is claiming he received bad advice from a former colleague of his, Krebs said he can no longer represent him.

“Mr. Krebs took the position that this creates an impossible situation,” Kennedy said.

During a July 28 court hearing, Kennedy approved a motion for Krebs to withdraw as Daniels’ attorney. However, he said he had to revoke Daniels’ bond.

“I’m very concerned about the victim and what has happened to her,” Kennedy said. “I have lost faith in the defendant’s willingness to be here.”

After the hearing, Daniels was immediately taken into custody. He had a status conference scheduled for Aug. 3 and a new bond can be considered at that time.

“The case against the defendant was extremely strong,” Kennedy said. “He spoke to a probation officer and admitted to what he had done.”

The victim, who is also a Whitewater student, told police she attended a party, consumed too much alcohol, was taken to Daniels residence and found him on top of her when she woke up, according to the criminal complaint.

Daniels told police the woman was taken to his apartment and she was placed in his bed.

He said his friends went to eat food, he stayed at the apartment and when his friends returned they brought the woman to her dorm room.

He denied any kind of sexual contact with the woman.

Krebs began representing Daniels May 27 and said his client has “had questions that raise concerns. He was questioning where they were in the process.”

Krebs said Daniels also didn’t communicate with his family that he was facing serious criminal charges and only recently told them.

“I think there was no communication amongst Shelton and his family,” Krebs aid. “He eventually came clean with his family.”

“This is not being done for a delay or anything like that, but this is a person who has genuine concerns,” Krebs said.

Grube said this newest development isn’t fair to the victim in the case, who traveled with her mother to attend the hearing.

“The victim also has concerns,” Grube said.

In court documents, Krebs raised concerns with the pre-sentence investigation. The pre-sentence investigator didn’t speak to the victim in the case before making the prison sentence recommendation.

In a letter, Krebs wrote that the victim may believe Daniels should serve a term in the Walworth County Jail, but not a state prison.