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Lawmaker targets families who help felons

MADISON (WRN)  A state lawmaker is renewing a push to make it easier to prosecute family members who help criminal suspects.

Under current state law, family members can avoid prosecution if they destroy evidence or harbor a fugitive they are related to. State Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) says that obstruction of justice has resulted in multiple cases where charges have had to be dropped.

The Ripon Republican is circulating a draft of a bill that would allow those family members to be charged with a felony. He says the bill is only aimed at obstruction attempts in more serious criminal cases, not “white collar crimes.”

Previous versions of the bill have failed to get much traction in the Legislature. Olsen is hoping the current proposal will have better luck, since he believes the latest version is in the “proper form” needed to gain support from fellow lawmakers.

Olsen is currently seeking co-sponsors for the legislation.