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News from around Wisconsin (8:56 p.m. 11/3/09)

Assembly allows giving police access to photos

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Police would be allowed to have electronic access to Wisconsin drivers’ license photographs under a bill that passed the state Assembly on Tuesday.

Under current state law, police anywhere in the country can look at the photos if they submit a written request to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The bill would require the Transportation Department to make digital versions of each photograph available to police agencies through the state Department of Justice’s computer network. Law enforcement agencies would submit electronic requests to view them.

The bill must pass the Senate and be signed by Gov. Jim Doyle before it becomes law.

Man gets 2 years for flying stolen plane to US

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Turkish-Canadian man was sentenced Tuesday to two years in federal prison for stealing a plane in Canada and flying over three states before landing along a dark southern Missouri highway.

Adam Dylan Leon might have received only 12 to 18 months. But U.S. District Judge Charles Shaw went beyond federal sentencing guidelines in deciding punishment.

Shaw said the 31-year-old’s actions posed risks to himself and others, cost the government $230,000 to keep fighter jets in the air for seven hours tracking him, and caused the Madison, Wis., capitol to evacuate.

He also had some advice for Leon who said he had hoped to be shot down. His attorney, Lucille Liggett, had asked for leniency, saying her client suffered from severe depression from the death of his parents in 2002 in Turkey.

Shaw told Leon it would be worth his while to see “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the classic Frank Capra film starring James Stewart, about a despairing man who comes to know through an angel what life would have been like if he never had lived. Leon said he hadn’t see it.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Sauer said the sentence was fitting for a “dangerous and harmful course of conduct,” and hopes it will deter others from such behavior.

“Law enforcement response was excellent, competent and swift,” Sauer said. “It never ended up being a serious imminent threat to anyone’s security.”

Wis. judge orders man to remove sunken barge

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Franklin man must pay nearly $37,700 in forfeitures after he failed to remove a sunken barge from the Menomonee River.

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Thomas R. Cooper also has ordered Basil E. Ryan Jr. to set aside another $100,000 to pay to remove the barge.

According to state Justice Department officials, Ryan kept the barge moored to his car towing business in Milwaukee. He was ordered to remove the barge in 2005. He did not and the barge sank a year later. Prosecutors charged him with maintaining an obstruction in the river.

Ryan’s attorney, Daniel Biersdorf, says he will appeal. He argues the barge was the state Department of Transportation’s responsibility.

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