Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate and Dane County Circuit Court judge Jill Karofsky ignored Department of Corrections guidelines and gave a heroin dealer whose product killed a man just two years in prison when he could have faced 40.
Kendall Ragland, 41, was charged with first degree reckless homicide, second or subsequent offense, in 2018 in connection with the death of a man who overdosed on heroin he purchased from Ragland in 2015.
Ragland was a well-known drug dealer who has been in trouble with the law literally his entire adult life. From almost the moment he turned 18 in 1997, he has been convicted of possession of TCH with intent to deliver, resisting an officer, illegally carrying a concealed weapon, bail jumping, possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, domestic violence battery, criminal damage to property, and possession of heroin.
Despite his lengthy criminal record and his refusal to admit guilt on the reckless homicide charge (which carried a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and $100,000 in fines), Judge Karofsky sentenced him to just two years in prison and two more on extended supervision as part of his "no contest" plea.
Disturbingly, Karofsky said during the sentencing hearing that while she knew that her extremely lenient sentence went against the Wisconsin Department of Corrections' recommendation, she didn't much care.
"Let's not worry about the recommendation," she said. "I will tell you that I don't put a lot of weight on the recommendation of the Department of Corrections. I feel like that's my job."
She reiterated this later in the hearing.
"I've said it once in this hearing and I will say it again: I really don't pay any attention to what the Department of Corrections recommends in PSIs [pre-sentence investigations]," she said. "Often, if I do look at it, I forget what the number is, quite frankly, by the end of the hearing or even by the time the hearing starts if I've looked at it in days prior to a hearing. As I sit here right now, I couldn't tell you what it is."