A woman who was shot and nearly killed by her abusive ex-husband says liberal Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Janet Protasiewicz is responsible for letting the repeat felon off with a light sentence after he brutally beat her in a prior domestic abuse case—and doesn’t believe Protasiewicz is fit to serve on the state’s highest court.
"He should've gotten more time," said Tamika Finchis in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon this week. "If he got more time maybe he wouldn't have shot me."
Her comments come as Protasiewicz faces criticism in the high-stakes Wisconsin Supreme Court race over her sentencing record, which includes giving probation to a child sex offender who went on to kill a woman and letting off a domestic abuser who later committed a double-homicide. The April 4 election, which pits Protasiewicz against conservative former justice Dan Kelly, will determine the ideological breakdown of the swing state's top court and could have national implications for the 2024 presidential race.
Finchis’s ex-husband, Lazarick Spade, was charged with domestic violence battery after he attacked her on a public sidewalk a week before Christmas in 2015, leaving her with a facial fracture. But Protasiewicz sentenced him to just six months in prison in July 2016, a sentence the victim said was far too lenient considering Spade’s lengthy criminal history and the brutality of the assault.
Shortly after he was released from jail, Spade ambushed Finchis outside her home in Milwaukee and shot at her 19 times—striking her in the back, arm, and foot—and leaving her for dead. Incredibly, she survived.
Spade was convicted of attempted homicide and is now serving a 40-year sentence for the shooting.
Finchis told the Free Beacon that she felt Protasiewicz and the rest of the justice system failed her by giving Spade such a light sentence in the prior assault case. She questioned Protasiewicz’s fitness for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
"She shouldn't get it," she said. "She's not giving [criminals] any time" in jail.
The victim said she lost a lung in the shooting and is still recovering. She said she uses an inhaler and suffers from extreme anxiety.
She said Spade’s long criminal history should have prompted Protasiewicz to give him a longer sentence—noting that Spade was convicted of felony child abuse of their son months before he beat her and had other convictions for drug trafficking, firearm possession by a felon, and reckless endangerment.
At the time of the first assault in December 2015, Spade had also escaped from a prison work-release program, where he was supposed to serve a nine-month sentence for the felony child abuse charges. Finchis had recently ended her relationship with Spade and told him she was "moving on with her life." But he confronted her outside a house in Milwaukee, where he pushed her to the ground and then "dragged [her] and punched and kicked her in the face," according to court records citing reports from witnesses, who ran outside to pull Spade off of the victim. The victim "sustained facial hematomas and a facial fracture," responding officers told the court.
Spade was initially charged with felony battery and faced up to 10 years in prison as a habitual offender, but the charges were reduced in a plea deal approved by Protasiewicz. She sentenced him to six months in prison in July 2016.
Less than a year later, in June 2017, Spade ambushed and shot his ex-wife multiple times outside her home in Milwaukee, according to court records. Hours before the shooting, Spade had threatened the victim that he was going to "get even" with her for reporting the prior assault.
Finchis "arrived home around 10:55 p.m. and was walking toward her house when [Spade] came toward her and started shooting at her," said the court records. She "ran toward the house as [Spade] continued shooting."
The victim "sustained three through and through gunshot wounds," the records state. "One shot went through her left foot. One shot went through her upper right arm. One shot went through her by the shoulder blade and caused damage to one of her lungs."
Protasiewicz did not respond to a request for comment.