Milwaukee County judge and Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Janet Protasiewicz sentenced a man who raped his unconscious cousin to just 14 months in prison, even admitting to the defendant at his sentencing hearing that she was giving him “the least amount of time I think is appropriate.”
Jovian Reese, 19, was convicted in 2018 of third degree sexual assault, a Class G felony punishable by a maximum sentence of ten years. Protasiewicz, however, ended up giving him “significantly less than what I thought I was going to give you.”
According to a criminal complaint, Reese’s cousin woke up to Reese raping her in his bedroom and immediately ran from his home, called police, and received a rape kit at a Milwaukee hospital, which revealed Reese’s DNA on a swab of her breast.
The victim told investigators that Reese had invited her hang out at his house. After she fell asleep on his bed, she woke up to Reese having penis to vaginal intercourse with her. She said he had taken her pants and underwear off and pulled her shirt up to expose her naked breasts while she was asleep.
She screamed for Reese to get off of her and then ran from his bedroom, where she saw her cousin, Reese’s sister, in a hallway.
“Jovie raped me! Jovie raped me!” the cousin said the victim screamed to her. After leaving the home, the victim called police and Reese was arrested.
He denied having any sort of sexual contact with the victim, but her DNA was found on a swab of his penis.
Reese was charged with second degree sexual assault, a Class C felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, but he accepted a plea deal with the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office in which he agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of third degree sexual assault.
Since Reese had sexual intercourse with a blood relative, he could have also been charged with incest, a Class F felony punishable by up to 12 years in prison, but the District Attorney’s Office did not purse that charge.
Protasiewicz signed off on the plea agreement on January 10, 2019 and Reese was convicted of third degree sexual assault.
During his sentencing hearing that March, the victim said she cried for days after Reese raped her and grew depressed because she “felt that she had no one to talk to because ‘everyone in the family took his side,’ and she was all alone.”
She said her grades and job performance suffered to the point that she had “multiple breakdowns and school and work” had to quit her job. Because of the rape, she no longer felt comfortable being intimate with her boyfriend. He then broke up with her, telling her she was “damaged goods.”
In spite of the devastating impact Reese had on his victim’s life, Protasiewicz said he was not a dangerous man and did not deserve a significant prison term.
“Are you a danger to the public? I don’t think so,” she told him during the hearing.
Amazingly, Protasiewicz seemed to recognize that her sentence was too lenient but still handed it down anyway.
“Mr. Reese, I am giving you the least amount of time I think is appropriate,” she said. “It is significantly less than what I thought I was going to give you.”
Reese received 14 months in prison with credit for 42 days of time served in jail plus 18 months of extended supervision.