RACINE — Whether the state Department of Justice will appeal a Racine County judge’s ruling in a Mount Pleasant rape case remains to be seen.
Douglas R. Kramer, 23, of Mount Pleasant, is accused of having sex with a female in his home sometime overnight on Aug. 3-4, 2012, after parents kicked the group out of another home where they had been attending a house party, according to court records. Prosecutors charged Kramer with second-degree sexual assault because the female was too drunk to give consent to have sex, and might have been unconscious at the time, according to Kramer’s criminal complaint.
Racine County Circuit Judge Charles Constantine on March 19 ruled that defense lawyers may question her about whether she was truthful with the nurse who examined her as well as with an investigator, and about her motive for not being truthful with them. But that triggered an immediate objection from the prosecutor, who vowed to appeal the ruling, arguing that the Rape Shield law is designed to protect victims from that very line of questioning.
“I do not have the authority to appeal directly to the Attorney General’s Office,” Assistant District Attorney Randy Schneider said Tuesday during a hearing in the case.
He said he sent a package of materials to the Attorney General’s Office on Thursday — the day after Constantine made his ruling — and he received confirmation on Monday that staff received the packet so an interlocutory appeal could be filed.
An interlocutory appeal is filed during a court case — before a person has been convicted and sentenced.
“We received Racine County’s request for a petition seeking leave to appeal the circuit court’s nonfinal order. We have no further comment,” Dana Brueck, spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Justice, stated via email Tuesday afternoon.
Kramer originally was set to go on trial Tuesday. But with the possibility of an appeal, Constantine set a status conference for April 1 to check whether the state’s top prosecutors will file it.
Kramer’s defense attorneys, headed by Mark Richards, want to question the female during Kramer’s trial about DNA evidence showing that three males had sexual contact with her within days of the alleged rape. But since she denied having sex with them, Kramer’s attorneys seek to question the female about whether she lied to an investigator and nurse after the sexual assault was reported.
Constantine ruled that defense lawyers cannot delve into the nature of the sexual contact the female experienced, simply that there was sexual contact with three males before the alleged rape was reported.
The female said she might have consumed four beers that night and at some point passed out. Her friends then carried her upstairs and placed her on a guest room bed.
Some time later, a man checked on the female and discovered Kramer having sex with her, according to the complaint. Downstairs, he told his friends that Kramer was having sex with the female and her friends ran upstairs because they said she was drunk and suspected something was wrong, the complaint stated.
When the female opened the locked bedroom door, she was naked from the waist down and didn’t know what had occurred, the complaint stated. But Kramer wasn’t in the room, and a window screen had been taken off.