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Giegler v. Sturm

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

May 14, 2019



          WILLIAM M. CONLEY District Judge

         Plaintiff Thomas Giegler brings this proposed civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that the proceedings leading up to his criminal convictions violate his constitutional rights. He is seeking both monetary damages and various forms of injunctive relief, including his release from custody. Having been permitted to proceed in forma pauperis, Giegler's complaint requires screening. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).[1] For the reasons that follow, Giegler's complaint will be dismissed without prejudice.


         A. Parties

         Plaintiff Thomas Giegler is currently incarcerated at the Milwaukee House of Corrections, in Franklin, Wisconsin. Giegler names eight defendants, four of which are government employees: Nancy Sturm is a Milwaukee County Court Commissioner; Porchia Lewand is a Milwaukee County district attorney; Jeffrey Kremer is a Milwaukee County Judge; and Gina Stanislowski is a parole officer. The remaining four named defendants are not government employees: Mark Tishberg was Giegler's attorney for a portion of his criminal proceedings, Hetty Flores is Giegler's ex-girlfriend, and Aric Kubacki and Carly Alverez appear to be associates of Flores.

         B. Criminal Proceedings

         While Giegler does not provide the case number of the criminal proceedings he outlines in his complaint, it is apparent that he is describing the criminal cases State v. Giegler, No. 2017CM2090 (Milwaukee Cty. filed Aug. 3, 2017), and State v. Giegler, No. 2017CF4846 (Milwaukee Cty filed Oct. 20, 2017), available at (last visited May 14, 2019).

         In case No. 2017CM2090, Giegler was charged on August 3, 2017, with violating Wis.Stat. § 813.12(8) (knowingly violating a domestic abuse order), and Wis.Stat. § 947.01(1) (disorderly conduct). The offense date listed for both charges is July 29, 2017. On October 18, 2018, a jury found Giegler guilty on both charges. On January 10, 2019, he was sentenced to one year of confinement in prison, to be followed by one year of extended supervision. Giegler's request for post-conviction relief has been denied, and it appears that he may be attempting to appeal the Milwaukee County Circuit Court's denial of his motion seeking post-conviction relief. State v. Giegler, No. 2019xx337-CR (Wis. Ct. App. filed Feb. 25, 2019).

         In Case No. 2017CF4846, Giegler was charged with one count of violating Wis.Stat. § 940.45(4) (intimidating a victim), and three counts of violating Wis.Stat. § 813.12(8)(a) (knowingly violating a domestic abuse order). On October 17, 2018, this case was dismissed with prejudice at the state's request, since the essential witness to those particular charges died. Id. It appears that the witness was Flores.

         C. Allegations in Complaint

         In this lawsuit, Giegler claims that the events surrounding his arrests and the charges filed in Nos. 2017CM2090 and 2017CF4846 violated his constitutional rights. Giegler alleges that on July 12, 2017, following a dispute with Flores, he called the West Allis Police Department, hoping to have the police escort Flores out of his house. Instead, Giegler was arrested for disorderly conduct and taken to the police station, and Stanislowski placed a probation hold on him, allegedly without justification. Giegler further claims that Stanislowski did not schedule a revocation hearing during his time in custody while he was facing charges.

         At some point during his time in jail, Sturm granted Flores's request for a temporary restraining order that restricted his ability to come close to her. Giegler also adds that, while he was in jail, Stanislowski and Lewand authorized interception of a phone call he had with his daughter on July 29, 2017, which resulted in the charge of violating the temporary restraining order. Later, on August 1, 2017, Sturm issued a final injunction.

         Giegler complains that during the course of his criminal proceedings, Judge Kremer and D.A. Lewand violated his constitutional rights because they fired his attorney, Mark Tishberg, and because his case was delayed unnecessarily. He also claims that Tishberg performed inadequately when he was representing him.

         Besides describing the proceedings related to the restraining order and his criminal charges, Giegler claims that while he was in jail, Flores, Kubacki and Alverez ...

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