'Making a Murderer' Lawyer Acquitted of Felony Stalking Charges

By Lisa M. Schaffer, Esq. on December 12, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Len Kachinsky may be quirky, but that doesn't make him a stalker. Kachinsky, a former superior court judge in Fox Crossing, Wisconsin, was charged with stalking court clerk, Mandy Bartelt. Though Kachinsky may have made a few cringe-worthy comments, a jury acquitted him of felony stalking charges. Kachinsky chalks it all up to a "personality conflict", and hopes to be reinstated to the bench now that he's been cleared of the charges.

Kachinsky May Be Odd and a Bad Attorney...

Kachinsky has a reputation in the legal community for being both quirky and unprofessional. Kachinsky represented Brendan Dassey, whose case was profiled in the "Making a Murderer" Netflix docuseries. Dassey was convicted of helping his uncle kill a Wisconsin woman in 2007, based primarily on Dassey's own confession. However, most legal scholars believe that the conviction was due to Kachinsky's poor lawyering skills rather than Dassey's words and actions. Many believe Dassey's confession was false, even forced by both Kachisnky and the police. In addition, they feel the confession would have never happened, if it weren't for the poor criminal procedural choices by his lawyer, Kachinsky, who allowed Dassey to be interrogated without Kachinsky present. A federal magistrate judge in Milwaukee and the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Chicago had criticized Kachinsky's representation of Dassey, and Kachinsky was ultimately removed from the case. Dassey's conviction was later overturned, but based more on a forced confession lured by false promises by the police, and not by the misrepresentation by Kachinsky.

... But That Doesn't Make Him a Stalker

Flash forward about a decade. Kachinsky is known in the legal community for being odd. Some found his oddness endearing, and others, like Bartelt, didn't. Bartelt claimed she would hear him making cat noises behind her back. He would also post comments on Facebook, such as once commenting that she and her husband were on a "second honeymoon at an undisclosed location." He told Bartelt he knew the whereabouts of her family members, including a brother whose address she didn't even know. Bartelt also claimed that after she had complained about Kachinsky, they were alone in his office, and he walked up to her desk, knocked over some pictures of her children and other items, she said. "Are you afraid of me now?" According to the jurors this may be creepy, but it isn't stalky.

If you've been accused of stalking, contact a criminal defense attorney. Though the charge may seem outlandish to you, it is serious to both the victim and the police, and to your future criminal record. The sooner you get the charges takes care of, the quicker you can move on with the rest of your life.

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