L’Anse judge upholds Fish’s armed-robbery sentence
L’ANSE – A Wisconsin man convicted of a 2013 armed robbery in Watton will not be resentenced on the charge.
Bernard Fish, 49, of Shawano, Wisconsin, was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in October 2014 in prison for two counts of armed robbery. He is also serving five to 20 years for two counts of extortion, five to 15 years for two counts of unlawful imprisonment and two to four years for impersonating a police officer.
A recent Supreme Court decision amended state sentencing guidelines to make them advisory only. Trial courts can now order resentencing if they determine that advisory guidelines would have changed the sentence.
Judge Charles Goodman said his sentence would have been the same even if the advisory guidelines had been in effect at the time. He pointed to the planned nature of the robbery, as well as the use of weapons and intimidation.
“Not only did the defendant victimize the individuals who were at the scene of this offense, but he caused other individuals who were not at the scene to be contacted for purposes of obtaining money, and thus his victimization extended beyond the confines of Baraga County,” he said.
The state Court of Appeals upheld Fish’s sentence earlier this year after Fish’s appeal, but ruled he could be sent back to circuit court for a possible resentencing. The court also found Fish had demonstrated a threshold for “plain error” low enough to send the case back to the Circuit Court.
The Watton house formerly housed a grow operation. In August 2013, Fish and his cousin, Donovan Waupoose, posed as U.S. marshals and told the new occupants, Al Jackson and Steven Heiser, they were raiding the house. Jackson and Steven Heiser planned to establish a new medical marijuana operation, but testified they had not starting growing plants yet.
After threatening Heiser and Jackson with a handgun found at the house, Fish made Heiser call his father. Fish then demanded $10,000 – $5,000 for each hostage. After leading them to a field behind the house at gunpoint, he fled the scene.
Fish’s conduct after the robbery also demonstrates a potential danger to the public, Goodman said. Fish also committed further crimes in Wisconsin after the robbery. He was found to have a possible weapon after being put in jail, which Fish said he was using as a makeshift hole puncher for court documents.