ELKHORN — “This court is in a difficult position,” Judge David Reddy said during Bruno Moelter’s probation revocation hearing.
In February 2013, the 56-year-old was arrested and charged for operating while under the influence, as a ninth-offense. However, his blood tested negative for the presence of drugs and alcohol, and the charges were dismissed.
A few days after the crash, Moelter signed a statement in which he admitted to drinking Jack Daniels whiskey and eating his wife’s Fentanyl. Fentanyl is a powerful painkiller. As a result of the confession, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections revoked Moelter’s probation. A condition of his probation included not drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs.
Moetler’s attorney, Martha Thelen, twice appealed the revocation, but the revocation was upheld by the Department of Corrections and Judge John Race.
During the hearing, Reddy said that it was his job to sentence Moelter on Moelter’s probation revocation, not re-examine all of the evidence. Reddy said he can’t act as an appeals judge during a sentencing after revocation hearing.
As Reddy sentenced Moelter, Thelen tried comforting her client by grabbing onto his shoulder. Moelter’s frustration was obvious, and he kept looking back at his family and friends in disbelief. Reddy sentenced Moelter to 2 1/2 years of initial confinement followed by two years of extended supervision. Reddy did find Moelter eligible for prison treatment programs that could allow him to be released early, and Moelter was given credit for the nearly 14 months he has spent in the Walworth County jail.
“I consider this a relapse,” Reddy said. “Perhaps the programs would be beneficial to him in there.”
In 2000, after Moelter was arrested three times for drunken driving in a six month period, he was sentenced to five years in prison and five years of extended supervision on one of the charges. On another charge, he was sentenced to five years of probation.
On Feb. 9, 2013, Moelter crashed his car on County Highway H in Genoa City. After the crash, Moelter slurred his words and performed poorly on field sobriety tests. He was arrested for operating while under the influence. Low dosages of Fentanyl can impair a person, but avoid detection in a drug screen.
“I wish there was a crystal ball to look into to see what the truth is,” Reddy said. During the revocation hearing, Reddy could have sentenced Moelter to the maximum term of confinement allowed under the law in 2000. Moelter faced up to five years imprisonment, which could have included up to three years and nine months of initial confinement.
District Attorney Daniel Necci asked Reddy to give Moelter the maximum sentence.
“It did happen and he did violate the rules of his probation,” Necci said.
During the hearing, Moelter denied that he confessed to consuming alcohol. He said his probation agent interviewed him at the jail after the crash.
During that interview, Moelter’s probation agent asked him if he had drank alcohol. Moelter said he responded that he didn’t. According to Moelter, his probation agent then asked him if he had consumed alcohol, what would he have drank. He responded Jack Daniels.
According to Moelter, a similar colloquy happened regarding his wife’s Fentanyl patches.
“He signed it because his PO told him to sign it,” Thelen said. Thelen said that if Moelter denied drinking or using Fentanyl, but the blood tests showed that he had used those substances, no one would believe him.
“Chemical evidence is huge everyone knows it is huge and the fact that it’s being ignored in this case is baffling,” Thelen said.