State workers' union backs partying parole officers

The largest state employees' union is standing behind two parole agents charged last week with cocaine possession in connection with an all-night party last year. In a statement issued today, the Wisconsin State Employees Union claimed that the charges against Paul N. Marx, 27, of Marshall and Bobbi J. Knarr, 24, of Sun Prairie are "an unconscionable abuse of power" and that local prosecutors are "persecuting two good people based on jailhouse hearsay."

The two agents are charged with misdemeanor counts of possession of cocaine and obstructing an officer.

According to the criminal complaints filed against them in Dane County Circuit Court last week, the charges were based on information supplied by a jail inmate who told a detective that Marx and Knarr were at a party with him in May 2006.

The inmate said the two agents were part of a group that played poker, drank whiskey and beer, and snorted cocaine. The agents told police that they were at the party and acknowledged drinking heavily but said they did not use drugs either there or anywhere else. Marx, however, told police that he had seen Knarr using cocaine on another occasion and admitted that he had snorted cocaine with her at that time and on another occasion two years earlier.

Tom Corcoran, president of AFSCME Local 2748, which represents the two men, claimed that prosecutors are "far too eager to ruin lives based on the flimsiest of accusations from known lawbreakers who have all kinds of motives for getting back at probation and parole agents."

WSEU director Marty Beil called the case "nothing more than a fishing expedition" and dismissed the charges as based on an inmate's "drug-addled memories" from 15 months ago.

The two men were scheduled to appear in court on the charges today.


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