Accused cop seeks special prosecutor in misconduct case
Robert B. Haase, 42, of 155 N. Cranberry St., Elkhorn, is charged in Walworth County with two felony charges of misconduct in public office. He faces up to seven years in prison and a $20,000 fine if convicted.
On a motion filed Monday, attorneys Melissa Frost and Stephen Kramer wrote that prosecutors and other support staff from the Walworth County District Attorney's Office are likely to be called to testify in Haase's case, which they said would be a conflict of interest.
The attorneys also wrote that Haase might be called as a witness on cases he worked on as a police officer at the town of Geneva.
“Challenging Mr. Haase's credibility by prosecuting this matter while attempting to bolster his credibility in matters where Mr. Haase is a witness in his capacity as a police officer appears to be contrary to the district attorney's obligation to act in the best interests of its client, the state of Wisconsin,” the attorneys wrote in the motion.
Haase, who remains on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, is accused of mishandling evidence in an April 2008 sexual assault case and other cases, according to the criminal complaint. He is suspected of breaking department policy.
According to the complain:
Haase didn’t document or secure evidence taken in the sexual assault case, including photos and underwear. He also failed to give prosecutors or defense attorneys evidence such as recorded interviews.
Haase also collected pieces of evidence but listed them on an evidence sheet as being collected on a different date.
In the area around Haase’s desk, he had 86 pieces of evidence from various cases, including knives, drug paraphernalia, drugs and other items. The evidence was unsecured.
The department’s policy states that investigators should mark, package and store evidence in a secure room.
Police Chief Ed Gritzner in August also filed two complaints against Haase.
Gritzner accused Haase of frequently meeting with a town court clerk, including an unfounded complaint the two had sexual contact in a town squad car while he was on duty.
Gritzner’s attorney argued Haase violated department policy by having a relationship with the clerk and spending an “inordinate amount of time” texting and meeting during work hours.
Haase was demoted in November for engaging in conduct unbecoming an officer and mishandling evidence. He was suspended for 90 days and permitted to return as a patrolman with a lower salary.
Haase’s attorney has argued Haase did not compromise any cases or investigations by keeping evidence at his desk.
Haase has denied mishandling evidence.
He has been with the Town of Geneva Police Department since 2001.
Last updated: 1:20 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012