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Bill would crack down on family members who harbor criminal-relatives

MADISON, Wis (WSAU - Wheeler News)  Family members would no longer be allowed to help their criminal relatives escape arrest, under a bill to be considered today by the Wisconsin Assembly.

The Republican measure would stop preventing families from being convicted of aiding-and-harboring their relatives who commit felonies. The exemption has applied to a felon's siblings, spouse, parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren. Former Assembly Democrat Peggy Krusick of Milwaukee tried and failed for years to pass a similar measure before she defeated for re-election in 2012. She had long argued that it was wrong for relatives to obstruct law enforcement. However, opponents found various technicalities to reject her bills.

Last month the Assembly's Criminal Justice Committee endorsed the measure on a 7-to-3 vote. It includes fines of up to $20,000 and prison terms of up to 10 years, depending on the crimes they try to prevent their relatives from being arrested for.