Trial postponed in officer shooting

Prosecutors challenge relevance of two defense witnesses
By: 
Warren Bluhm
News Editor

The second part of the trial has been postponed for the woman who shot an Oconto Falls police officer during a struggle at her apartment.

Alisha M. Kocken, 31, Oconto Falls, pleaded no contest Aug. 25 to charges of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, resisting an officer with a dangerous weapon with the result of substantial bodily harm, battery to a law enforcement officer and disarming a peace officer, in connection with an incident that occurred Aug. 6, 2021.

Kocken, who shot and wounded Oconto Falls Police Officer Nicole Blaskowski during the incident, also pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease and defect. A five-day trial had been scheduled to begin Dec. 18 for a jury to determine her mental state at the time of the incident.

Prosecutors last month filed a motion challenging two of the expert witnesses that the defense plans to call and asking for a Daubert hearing. Named after a 1993 decision in a case called Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, such a hearing is held to determine whether an expert witness or the expert’s report is sufficiently relevant to the case at hand.

According to the motion filed Nov. 17 in Oconto County Circuit Court, prosecutors say the two defense experts are expected to testify about their conclusions that Kocken was mentally ill when they attempted to examine her in August 2021. But the motion says the defendant at that time refused to speak to the psychologists and therefore their conclusions are not based on direct contact with Kocken.

During a Nov. 29 scheduling conference, Judge Michael Judge said the Daubert hearing could be held during the week the trial was originally scheduled, moving the trial to January. But it turned out Blaskowski would not be available to testify that week, so the trial was scheduled for April 1-5.

A telephone scheduling conference was planned for Dec. 7 to decide the time and date of the Daubert hearing.

wbluhm@newmedia-wi.com