CBS 58 goes inside Milwaukee County's Gun Court

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by John Cuoco

MILWAUKEE- After a violent summer filled with homicides, shootings, arrests, and gun seizures, CBS 58 went to find out what happens next.

What happened to the 2,000 suspects MPD arrested in the month of August? 

To find out, CBS 58's John Cuoco, at the invitation of Judge J.D. Watts, spent the day in gun court.

Watts oversees gun court where the offenders are all facing firearm related charges. 

The Judge weighs the gravity of the offense, character of the suspect, and level of danger to the community when sentencing convicted criminals.

On the day CBS 58 watched his courtroom ( Sept. 3, 2013) there were nine cases on the docket, seven of which were for felons in possession of a gun.

Recently Milwaukee Police said they have seen an increase in felons with firearms.

While in court, three suspects were sentenced.

All three received varying prison time, but all also plead guilty.

District Attorney John Chisholm explained that a plea allows his office to make sure the criminal gets the right punishment while also keeping the public safe and it also gets the offender to acknowledge their wrong doing.

Some, including Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, have been critical of the DA's office and County judges in regards to sentences and plea deals.

Clarke called it a "revolving door" system.

Recently, the gun court has tried 40 felony cases since January, making it one of the most active courts in the county. (Alongside domestic violence and sexual assault courts)

Chisholm said his office has an obligation to focus on the worst, most serious cases, the ones that end up going to trial.

The DA added that his office has not seen an increase in case load, despite the 2,000 arrests made by MPD in August.

He said the increase in arrests by police are good and are helping, but necessarily translate to cases.

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