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Appeals court reinstates drunken driving conviction against northwest Wisconsin man

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Appeals court reinstates drunken driving conviction against northwest Wisconsin man
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

A state appeals court has reinstated a drunken driving conviction against a northwest Wisconsin man who convinced a judge to dismiss it so he could work in Canada.

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Shawn Bowman, 33, of Weyerhaeuser worked on a Great Lakes cargo ship when he asked former Barron County Circuit Judge Ed Brunner to change his conviction last year.

He either wanted it thrown out or changed to another offense so he could get into Canada under its tough new border security rules.

Brunner, who's now an appellate judge in Wausau, allowed it to be recorded as an implied-consent violation - still keeping his Wisconsin conviction while letting Bowman enter Canada to work.

District Attorney Angela Holmstrom was livid, calling it dishonest and appalling.

Brunner responded by throwing out the entire conviction in what he called "the interest of justice." Holmstrom appealed.

Appeals' Judge Bernie Bridge said Brunner had no authority to overturn the conviction. She said Bowman could have asked for a pardon or a waiver so he could enter Canada.

His blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit when he was arrested in 2002.

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