Handing down a sentence she said probably wouldn’t make police happy, a Dane County judge sentenced a man who was shot and wounded after threatening officers with a knife to a year in prison.
But Circuit Judge Ellen Berz said more time in prison awaits Scott R. Stein, 36, of Madison, if he fails to keep out of trouble once he’s released.
The prison sentence, to be followed by five years of extended supervision, was for threatening two Madison police officers who were trying to arrest Stein after he was reported to have struck a man over a $20 debt.
Berz also sentenced Stein to 50 days in the Dane County Jail, to follow his release from prison, for other convictions not related to the threats incident.
“Mr. Stein, I can guarantee you that the row of officers are not happy with this sentence,” Berz said. “They’ll say, ‘He duped the judge. He’ll do one year, then go back to what he did before.’ Let me suggest that there’s an alternative: Prove them wrong.”
If Stein fails, Berz said, his supervision will be revoked and he will go back to prison.
Officer Jane Preston said in court that she had been following Stein’s shoplifting activities for years, and had been trying to track him down during a more recent spate of crimes when she learned of his whereabouts on Sept. 1.
“You scared me that day,” she said. “And mostly that was not for myself, although a certain fear for self-preservation absolutely played a role. But more, I was scared for you.”
On Sept. 1, Preston said, she answered a call about a battery involving Stein. Preston and Officer Christina Hill chased him down, and at one point Stein threatened Preston with a knife through her open squad car window. He then approached Hill with the knife, and Hill shot him when he got within 5 to 10 feet of her.
Stein’s lawyer, state Assistant Public Defender Catherine Dorl, said Stein was suicidal and had hoped the officers would kill him.
“I’m ashamed and sincerely sorry that I ever put a human being in that position,” Stein is quoted as saying in a pre-sentence report, read in court by Dorl. Stein declined to speak when given the chance.
“He didn’t mean to hurt anyone that day, he wanted to die,” Dorl said. She said he’s been remorseful about it ever since.
Despite completing substance abuse treatment programs in and out of prison, Dorl said, he remains addicted to drugs, which was what drove his crimes, mainly property crimes like shoplifting. What he never got, she said, was much-needed mental health treatment.
Dorl argued that Stein’s needs could be met on probation. Assistant District Attorney Tim Helmberger recommended a three-year prison sentence for threatening the officers, and jail sentences on several other convictions not related to that incident.