Len Kachinsky stands trial for allegedly stalking a court clerk. Court starts with jury selection on Thursday, and opening statements are expected to start soon after at about 11:00 a.m ET. Proceedings may last only into Friday.
The defendant became known nationwide because of the Netflix docuseries Making a Murderer. He represented Brendan Dassey for a time, and was removed from the case in 2006 before trial. Thursday’s case has absolutely nothing to do with any of that.
Kachinsky later became a judge with the Fox Crossing Municipal Court. This apparently didn’t go well, at least behind the bench. A clerk claimed he acted inappropriately toward her, and prosecutors believed the story, charging the defendant with a single count of felony stalking and two misdemeanor counts of violating a restraining order. Those two lesser charges were dropped with an amended information on Tuesday.
A spokesperson for the Winnebago County District Attorney’s Office told Law&Crime on Wednesday that it was a “strategic move” by the prosecutor, but declined to elaborate.
In any case, would you believe us if we said that a toy cat could be a key element of the defense? Let’s us explain. The woman said Kachinsky would stare at her for extended periods of time, at one point making feline sounds, according to court documents obtained by The Post Crescent.
“On one occasion, it lasted 45 minutes, during which he tapped his pen, stared at her and made cat noises,” said the complaint. “These incidents made [the alleged victim] so uncomfortable that she would make excuses to leave the office and stay away from Kachinsky.”
The defendant told USA Today in an email last June that the noises were caused by a toy cat. He claimed the clerk was behaving unreasonably, and he insisted that his behavior was appropriate.
Other allegations against Kachinsky include him sharing personal information during professional meetings, and an inappropriate social media post about the clerk and her husband going on vacation. [Mugshot via Winnebago County]