To: Dean Stensberg, WI Parole Chairman, Edward Wall, WI DOC secretary, Edward Wall, WI DIC secretary, The Wisconsin State House, The Wisconsin State Senate, and Governor Tony Evers

Petition for the release of James Schuman

Jim Schuman’s charges that he conspired to have his wife killed were the result of a never-ending divorce/custody case that left him clinically depressed. The judge, frustrated over the parties’ inability to agree, at one point placed his children into foster care. At this critical moment, in deteriorating health and suffering from deep depression, an employee, whose criminal past Jim was minimally aware of and who was later paid $1000 in crime stoppers’ money, approached Jim with a plan to have someone “scare his wife” into resolving the divorce.

When Jim finally expressed interest, the employee went to the police saying Jim wanted his wife killed. The employee then introduced Jim to an undercover officer passing as a hit man Jim ultimately agreed to the “hit man’s” proposed plan. Jim states he intended to call off the plan but was arrested before he could do so. While no money was ever paid and no one was hurt, Jim was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Jim has no criminal record. He has an excellent work history and has job skills he could put to immediate use if paroled. Both his children strongly supported him throughout his trial. He has served 18 ½ years of his sentence, with absolutely no major conduct reports. He has used his time in prison well, tutoring other inmates, working other jobs, and furthering his education where possible. Prison authorities have rated him as a low risk for violent behavior or committing another crime if released.
Jim is 64 years old. Both his parents are in their mid 80s and in poor health. His son’s wife has been battling cancer for years. He has taken full responsibility for his crime. Despite all these factors, he has been denied parole on numerous occasions.

Here are his son’s Skip’s words after reading a transcript from his father’s parole hearing: “It is my opinion, in all the previous hearings, the commissioners came across as completely biased with predetermined decisions. The use of incendiary, misleading sophistry shows no actual consideration or discussion for parole. One might think the parole commission would be more useful investigating and assisting inmates to target how they will support and establish themselves to be assets to society, rather than detaining a created, continued expense for taxpayers.
"It is time to release James Schuman."

Why is this important?

James Schuman is in his 60s and has parents in their 80s whose most profound need is to see their son finally home before they die. James himself has multiple health problems, and the prison is not built to handle the health problem of aging inmates. Statistics show people of this age have a 0 to 1 % chance of breaking the law. What is the sense of keeping this man? The prison is dangerously overcrowded. James has applied for compassionate release so he can be home for his parents and he was denied. Where is the humanity?

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Reasons for signing

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  • I currently work with Jim in Pulaski. He is a very pleasant, easy going, and hard working employee here. I understand that every crime comes with a consequence, but in this circumstance I feel that the punishment greatly outweighs the offense. I am signing this petition to help bring light to a very unfortunate situation and with hopes that Jim will be given an opportunity to enjoy the rest of his life outside of prison.
  • I have worked with Jim for the past few months as he is on work release while in minimum security. He very personable, a hard worker and very cordial to everyone he works with. I believe he is no danger to anyone and deserves the chance to be released to take care of his parents as well as given a chance to make a financial future for himself. What purpose does anyone have at his age to stay in prison especially after a lower court had overturned his first trial? From an outside perspective, ...