Len Kachinsky, one of the lawyers shown in the popular 2015 Netflix docu-series Making a Murderer, was arrested Monday afternoon in Winnebago County, Wisconsin, on preliminary charges of stalking and violating a restraining order, according to the Post-Crescent.
Kachinsky, who now works as a municipal judge in Fox Crossing, Wisconsin, was released from jail by the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday while the police further investigate the victim’s claims. Later that day, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court suspended Kachinsky from his position as a municipal judge until further notice. The woman who filed the restraining order works alongside Kachinsky as a court clerk.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Unidentified Woman Was Granted a Temporary Restraining Order Against Kachinsky in February After Enduring a Year of Alleged Harassment
In February, the female court clerk’s request for a restraining order against Kachinsky was approved. The restraining order requires Kachinsky to refrain from communicating with her outside of work, bars him from speaking with her privately at work, and mandates that he cannot contact her family. Sheboygan Country re-heard the case after the initial ruling and granted a restraining order against Kachinsky on June 19 that will expire on May 1, 2019.
In her complaint, she claimed Kachinsky started harassing her in April 2017 by sending personal emails and posting personal information about her on Facebook.
According to the Post-Crescent, the Wisconsin Judicial Commission was already looking into Kachinsky’s interactions with the court clerk at the time the restraining order was granted.
“I have become so fearful of him that I am constantly looking over my shoulder to see if the Judge is around,” the court clerk said.
2. Court Documents Detail Frequent & Disturbing Harassment
According to court documents being reviewed by the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, Kachinsky’s harassment has been frequent and he retaliated when she complained.
In one instance, the court clerk described Kachinsky sitting on top of her desk, tapping a pen, staring at her, and mimicking a cat for 40 minutes. In another, he sent her an email that read: “By this time next week some things are going to happen that will cause a lot of fire and fury at the Municipal Building. No, I am not resigning. Just be psychologically prepared.”
In response to that ominous email, Kachinsky told Police Chief Tim Seaver that his remarks alluded to the civil lawsuit that he was preparing to file against Fox Crossing for forcing him to always have a third-party in the room when he spoke to the court clerk.
In another instance, he allegedly had a meeting with her in which he asked her if she was scared of him and proceeded to lean towards her and knock a stack of paper off the desk. On a separate occasion, he emailed her about her complaints to Fox Crossing writing that he couldn’t “tolerate a weakling unwilling to have free and open discussion with the boss (or insubordination).”
The laundry list of alleged offenses included trying to reprimand her for not responding to Christmas greetings in 2017, telling others that her job was available, and emailing her about non-work related topics after he was told not to. In one particularly creepy email, Kachinsky is alleged to have wrote: “I realize that this email violates every principle we have talked about regarding office conduct the last few weeks but I am sending it anyway. Feel free to report me to HR. I feel spunky this morning. Happy Father’s Day to your husband.”
3. Kachinsky ‘s Arrest Stemmed From Further Electronic Communication
Details on why Kachinsky was arrested are murky, but attorney James Macy, who represents Fox Crossing, told Post-Crescent that electronic communication and “materials left in the office” led to Kachinsky’s arrest. The Winnebago County District Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Department is currently investigating and declined to elaborate on the specifics.
“From the village’s standpoint, they just simply want a regular, respectful working relationship in the office, and that’s all they’ve ever asked for or the clerk has asked for, as simple as that. And they just can’t seem to get there with the judge,” Macy said.
The decision on whether to press formal charges against Kachinsky will likely come next week.
4. Kachinsky Claims the Complaints Are Merely “a Workplace Personality Conflict” Gone Awry
After the court clerk’s restraining order was granted, Kachinsky denied the harassment allegations to Law & Crime. Instead, he said, “It is a workplace personality conflict that has spun out of control.”
When Kachinsky was released from jail, he simply said, “I was released without charges at 11:30 a.m. today. My family and I are reviewing the situation.”
5. Kachinsky Gained Relative Fame for His Role in Netflix’s ‘Making a Murderer’
Kachinsky appeared on the Netflix docu-series Making a Murderer, which chronicled the murder of Teresa Halbach. He was appointed to represent then 16-year-old Brendan Dassey, who, along with his uncle Steven Avery, were charged and eventually convicted for the murder of Halbach. The docu-series, in part, detailed the controversy surrounding Dassey’s confession, which some believed was coerced. Kachinsky, however, believed Dassey’s confession. Kachinsky didn’t make it to trial as Dassey’s attorney, as he was removed from the case after failing to show up for Dassey’s interrogation, citing a “scheduling conflict.” Because of Kachinsky’s absence, Dassey was questioned by police alone.
In response to those who who watched the documentary and believed he didn’t have Dassey’s best interest, he told the Guardian, “I should’ve been there. It wasn’t a big conspiracy to help out the state. I had army duty the next Saturday and they wanted to do it on Saturday to get it done.” He reiterated his regret for not being there for the interrogation in an interview with TMZ Live, shown above.