Listen: Repeat drunk driver not monitored

Posted at 9:56 PM, Aug 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-31 13:14:44-04

A man with a history of OWI is accused of hitting and killing a Good Samaritan, helping to change a flat tire.  Frank Schiller is in court tomorrow on 16 felony charges. He was reportedly drunk behind the wheel.

The I-Team investigated how a moment in court may have kept Schiller from driving drunk.

Back in March Schiller was facing his 5th OWI charge, but a Milwaukee County court did not order him to wear a bracelet that constantly monitors for alcohol use.  In last month's deadly crash the criminal complaint shows Schiller's blood alcohol level was almost two times the legal limit.

When Schiller reportedly hit and killed Peter Enns July 8th on the shoulder of I-94 near Delafield, he was already facing drinking and drug charges in three different counties.

Rewind four months to what happened in a Milwaukee County court.  Schiller's initial appearance in March was for a 5th OWI charge, a felony.

Earlier that month MPD found him passed out in the driver's seat of a running car.  According to the criminal complaint Schiller admitted to using heroin and cocaine.

A court commissioner presided over his appearance, not a judge.  The state requested a $2500 cash bail along with drug and alcohol supervision.  Schiller's attorney argued his last charge involving alcohol was in 2008. 

The court commissioner asked, "you're saying most of the evidence is narcotic not alcohol?"  Because of that the court commissioner decided a scram bracelet, which monitors around the clock for alcohol use, would not be effective. 

Schiller was ordered to maintain absolute sobriety and show up for drug and alcohol testing.  He was then released on a signature bond, meaning Schiller didn't have to come up with any cash to stay out of jail. 

"I'm troubled when we have non-elected officials making a bail decision," Democratic Representative Fred Kessler told us.  He's a retired judge now serving in the state assembly. 

After the Schiller crash, he proposed a bill that would require elected judges set felony bonds in larger counties.  That regulation would have applied in the case brought against Schiller back in March when the court commissioner set bail as a signature bond.

Kessler said, "if a judge had set it then the judge should be held accountable for it, but a judge didn't set it."

And a court commissioner can't be held accountable by voters.  Kessler also hopes this bill will lead to fewer judge substitutions in cases, he commented, "that judge ought to be responsible from the bail decision all the way to the sentencing decision."

Kessler said he does have some GOP support for the bill.

Schiller is being held at the Waukesha County Jail on a $1 million dollar cash bail.