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I'm Just Sayin'...Better luck next time
by John Pederson
Issue 7
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Matthew Dorman is out of step with the Halloween ritual. The 28-year-old showed up in Culvers restaurant on Northport Drive two weeks ago with a fake beard and pistol. He demanded money but ended up with a refresher in due process.

Facing multiple charges and a lengthy criminal record, Dorman waived his right to a preliminary hearing last Thursday at the Dane County Courthouse. According to Bailiff Kevin O’Brien, the preliminary hearing is just the beginning of the sentencing process.

“The preliminary case had nothing to do with being guilty or innocent,” O’Brien explained. “It’s just a formality to move things to the next stage.” According to O’Brien, the next step is a criminal case where Dorman faces sentencing from a judge and jury. The court did not set a date for the criminal case at Thursday’s hearing.

With a steady criminal history starting in 1992, Dorman is familiar with the judicial process. But according to Judge Patrick Fielder, the public generally misunderstands the preliminary stage of the judicial process. “Most people think court is what they see on TV,” said Fielder. “But it is important for the public to contextualize each stage to understand the process.”

Pending the results of the criminal trial, Dorman could face more than 20 years in prison and $20,000 in fines. But Dorman’s record qualifies him as a “Habitual Criminal”. The title enhances the severity of penalties imposed in the civil case. Police released new details last week, which will be used in the criminal case.

According to the police report, Dorman entered the Culvers on 1325 Northport Drive at 9:33 last Thursday night wearing a fake beard and carrying, what appeared to be, a pistol. According to store manager Randy Reynolds, Dorman pointed the gun at the manager’s head and said, “This is a robbery. Give me your cash register.”

Reynolds told police he thought he was going to be killed. But the manager grabbed the gun and restrained Dorman until police officer Kelly Donahue arrive minutes later to make the arrest.

The report also revealed that Dorman was under the influence of anti-depressant drugs at the time of the attempted robbery. Dorman also claimed a history of mental instability on his waiver form, an issue the judge may revisit in the criminal case.

According to Fielder, the court will consider Dorman’s history of bail-jumping, false imprisonment, retail theft and driving related offenses at the upcoming trial.

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