Willie Horton-style ad goes after Janet Protasiewicz
Liberal Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Judge Janet Protasiewicz let off a convicted child rapist with no jail time who was accused of filming his sexual encounter with a 13-year-old and posting it on Facebook, a fact highlighted in a new ad campaign from her conservative Supreme Court opponent Judge Dan Kelly.
The ad slams Protasiewicz for her “long history of letting dangerous criminals off easy” including “Quantrell Bounds who assaulted and raped a 13-year-old girl, recorded it, and posted a video of the act to Facebook.”
“Despite facing 60 years in prison, Judge Janet refused to give Bounds any prison time at all,” continues the ad. “No prison for child rapists. That’s Janet Protasiewitz on crime.”
The ad’s blue background, white block-lettering and retro narration is a clear nod to the infamous 1988 Willie Horton commercial that Republicans ran against Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis during the 1988 presidential race, which elevated the nation’s crime wave into a national election issue and was slammed by critics as a racial dog whistle. The high-stakes Wisconsin Supreme Court race, which could have national implications for the 2024 presidential election in the swing state, has already smashed U.S. spending records for local judicial campaigns. The election will take place on April 4.
Bounds was charged in 2019 with first-degree child sex assault involving a “person under the age of 13,” which was later reduced to third-degree sexual assault, according to Milwaukee County records. He was also charged with publishing a “depiction of person w/out consent.”
Records show Protasiewicz sentenced Bounds to five years and nine months in prison, but suspended the jail time and let him walk with six years of probation.
Bounds was arrested again last June for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, a case that is still open, according to records.
The Kelly campaign said the ad is digital and may also run on TV. Similar to the Willie Horton commercial, the ad comes as cities across the United States and in Wisconsin are facing a surge in violent crime. Eighty-five percent of Wisconsin voters said they’re concerned about crime, according to a recent Marquette Law School poll.
The Kelly commercial isn’t the first to attack Protasiewicz’s sentencing record. Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business association, launched an ad campaign highlighting multiple convicted rapists and pedophiles who received light sentences from Protasiewicz.
In one 2019 case, Protasiewicz sentenced a child predator who assaulted an 11-year-old to probation. In another case in 2018, she also gave probation to a mother who allegedly starved her 16-year-old disabled son to death. Protasiewicz has said the attacks are “misleading” and fail to take into account her full record on the bench.
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