I’m guilty 

I’ve seen my share of non-apology apologies over the years and so let this not be that. 

That’s because this week I pleaded guilty to drunk driving after an arrest in June. 

I’ve been mum on the subject, which is not in my character. To be honest, a lot of this silence was just sheer embarrassment. 

Now that the legal part of this is concluded, I can say: I’m guilty and I take full and total responsibility for my actions. 

I recently had the chance to personally thank the state trooper who pulled me over, not for just potentially saving my life that day, but potentially saving the lives of others I put at risk by getting behind the wheel while drunk. Clearly, I had not learned my lesson following two previous arrests, in 1991 and 1999, for essentially the same crime. 

There’s been some deliberate and malicious misinformation (and grave-dancing) out there about my case and about me from folks who aren’t on my Christmas card list. For them, perhaps it’s not entirely about the issue of drunk driving, but I’ll save my response to them for another day: I don’t want to detract from the real sense of penitence and shame I feel over this. 

This is not something to be spun and my conduct marks a personal low for me and me alone.

This week, the week of my guilty plea, also is the anniversary of the deaths of my parents: one by suicide, the other by heroin overdose. They both struggled with depression and addiction throughout their short lives. So I understand the stakes here in the clearest terms and I also understand that the victims of drunk driving and their families are owed more than pretty words or explanations. Penitence will need to take the form of action. 

So I resolve to amend my actions.  I have many faults, but speaking without conviction isn’t one of them. Know that, in this sorry mess, I’m sorry for my reckless and irresponsible acts and that I will work as I go forward to earn the mercy I think that I have been shown, and to be worthy of whatever mercy I still may need.

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45 Responses to Graeme Zielinski: I’m guilty

  1. John Casper says:

    Deepest condolences on the loss of your parents.

    It’s a damn fine statement, thank you. Best of luck to you moving forward.

  2. nonquixote says:

    I’ve never condemned you publicly or personally, have enjoyed your perspectives and insights based on your knowledge and I understand the problems you describe and face and sincerely wish you long life, happiness and all the best from here on out. Thanks for posting this comment.

  3. LumberJack says:

    Graeme, why did you lie about the drunk driving in Virginia in court after you admitted it prior? Lie much?

  4. bryan Bliss says:

    I’m Not one to Kick a man when he’s down.
    This is a good sign and an open, honest courageous letter.
    Focusing on the work ahead to actively turn todays words and goals into tomorrows disciplined reality seems like the right thing to do.

  5. phonedawgz says:

    Sorry Graeme “I can say: I’m guilty and I take full and total responsibility for my actions” does not reflect your actions.

    • John Casper says:

      Sorry phone, unless you’ve seen him driving drunk, since his last arrest.

      He’s clearly got some sobriety to build on.

      If he does slip, and that’s frequently a step in the never-ending process of recovery, he has to prevent himself from getting behind the wheel.

  6. Duane12 says:

    I had occasion recently to refer to my old(1950) Latin-English Psalter for an act of thanksgiving which may have some relevance for you:

    Blessed is the one whose fault is removed,
    whose sin is forgiven.

    Blessed is the man to whom the LORD imputes no guilt,
    in whose spirit is no deceit.

    Psalm 32,1-2 (from updated Catholic version) http://www.usccb.org/bible/psalms/32/

    Graeme, I wish you the best; I know what it means to begin anew.

    Duane(formerly Frater Augustine OFM Cap.)

  7. ani mouse says:

    Graeme. I admire that you were willing to “give ’em hell” in some of your remarks about scotty walker — an admitted “divide and conquer” governor.

    We have to push back somehow — I know you took a lot of flak for some comments attributed to you.

    Peace — and for whatever its worth — there are people that struggle with a baffling problem with alcohol.

    For some — admitting it was the first drink that was the problem is much more helpful that trying to figure out which of the last drinks resulted in an unfortunate situation.

    ~peace and solidarity

  8. Mary Bliesner says:

    I respect your honesty and it sounds like you have gone through alot in your life. Putting out this statement shows me that you want to admit your faults and work on them.I wish you luck

  9. Rich says:

    Graeme, My best to you in your life and I hope you channel your new energy into what you believe in. I am someone who believes our experience tells us something about ourselves only we can hear. Listen to your experience and you will be well. Remember, we are all flawed at best. Rich

  10. The only difference between someone who gets charged for drunk driving and most of us is they got caught and we didn’t. So quit condemning Graeme for this, you self righteous pricks.

    F

    • Jake formerly of the LP says:

      I’ll second that remark. We all screw up, and some of us pay a price for it. The real question is if we learn something from our screw-ups. It seems Graeme is certainly trying to learn.

      That’s a helluva lot more than I can say for the scum who seem to get off on denigrating Graeme – spend $5 and buy a mirror.

  11. Patti Wisniewski says:

    It takes a great deal of acceptance and humility to talk about this when you really didn’t have to for anyone else’s sake but your own.

    Those of us who know you personally, know how much remorse you have and what kind of person you are. Thank you for working tirelessly in attempt to make this state a better one for us and our family. The fight is a personal one for us and I for one, am glad you’re on our side.

    To your grave-dancers: “Judge not lest ye be judged”.

  12. Zachary says:

    I’ve waited to comment on Graeme’s arrest until he had resolved the situation, but I’m glad he’s taken responsibility for his actions and poor decisions. I consider Graeme to be a friend, and as his friend I’m going to do my part to hold him accountable and to help him deal with the underlying issues that led to his decision to drink and then get behind the wheel.

    Graeme, I’m glad you took responsibility for your actions.

  13. you make me sick says:

    So you admit to putting peoples lives at risk 3X which should have put you in jail (Huber) for a year… but you got off because your lawyer said they couldn’t find the papers in Virginia??? what kind of crap is that?
    You remind me of Gus Doyle getting off his 2nd’ drunk driving after driving erratic and not stopping for police and a Doyle appointed judge cut him loose on ‘ NO PROBABLE CAUSE” ?

    You liberals are the biggest GD hypocrites on earth.

    • Zachary says:

      Hi there….thanks for visiting!

      Care to hear some facts? First fact: Graeme’s lawyer didn’t say they couldn’t find records of his arrest in Virginia; the prosecutor handling the case said that.

      Here’s another interesting fact: the judge who presided over Graeme’s case is a conservative who ran for the State Supreme Court with the backing of Wisconsin’s conservatives.

      Thanks for visiting!

  14. Gom says:

    Nice backroom deal you cut with the DA there Graeme.
    You should be in the klink for your 3rd offense but your democrat DA saved you from that eh?

  15. George Bregar says:

    What a bunch of BS. “pleaded guilty to drunk driving. I’m guilty and I take full and total responsibility for my actions”. You were charged with OWI – third offense, a criminal act. Jail time. You worked out a plea arrangement with a Democratic DA for OWI – first offense. That’s not a criminal act. No jail time. You admit three offenses here…but that’s not what you did with the DA. “Can’t find records of first? Defended myself in the second and was unaware of consequences” That’s laughable. Not surprisingly all this goes unmentioned here.

    You remain a POS liar and a coward. Vermin. Same as you ever were.

    • Zachary says:

      George, you should really learn the facts of the case. The first OWI legally could not be used against Graeme, as it occurred more than ten year prior to the current offense.

      • Steve ® says:

        But the 2nd could have been, yet the records magically couldn’t be found. Stop defending attempted murder.

      • Jen says:

        The man has been driving drunk for 10 years. He has been arrested 3 times, so you can only imagine how many times he drove drunk without getting caught. Talk is cheap. I could do without the letter. Make it through the next 10 years without a drunk driving arrest. I wish him luck because no one deserves to die at the hands of a grown man that can’t get it together, never mind picking up the phone and calling for a ride.

      • George Bregar says:

        Sorry dude, but he was charged with OWI – third offense. The ten year rule appies to be cahrged with OWI second offense. It doesn’t matter where the first two happened, or when the first two happened. to be counted once you get to three.

        No, what this POS did was cut a deal with a Democratic ADA. They used the excuse that since he waived counsel on his second offense that it shouldn’t count. He most certainly is not owning his past behavior. This I’m sure is why this ass has been silent…he couldn’t pretend to be a stand up guy and own all three, because he would be in jail now if he did.

    • Joel says:

      George, we’ve talked about your debt problems many times, and yet, here you are patronizing people on the internet again. After the lawsuits for not paying your debts, and the IRS judgments, here you are. Shame on you. This is why Susan walked out on you, George. You know that name calling just makes you look bitter and unhinged, George. Finally, how do you go about choosing punctuation when you write? Is it totally arbitrary, or is there some underlying coherence that the rest of us just can’t see? Why do you hate commas, George?

  16. Michael says:

    Where to begin with this? First off, imagine if this was Scott Walker/Charlie Sykes (whom he calls a liar everyday)/Sheriff Clarke (whom he calls a wife beater) getting this exact same deal. He would explode like a volcano about the double standard, the fix being in, and how outrageous it is. His head might just pop off in rage. Could you imagine the tweets that would come? This story would be all he tweeted about for months.

    Second, he didn’t take full responsibility for his actions. He weaseled out of two prior convictions. If he were taking full responsibility, he would have plead guilty to 3rd offense. He knows it is his third. We all know it is his 3rd offense, but Mr. Responsibility negotiated himself out of that into first offense.

    Third, he claimed he wasn’t intelligent enough to ask a lawyer to represent himself on his past DWI. This guy was then smart enough to be the #2 official in the Democrat party? What does that say about the party and their hiring standards? Who doesn’t know that if they get a DWI charge, that you should have an attorney represent you?

    Finally fourth, I have no idea what his parents have to do with anything on his convictions. It’s thrown in there to garner sympathy from people. If his illness was as grave as he says it is, and it runs in his family, maybe jail time would be the best thing for him. Then he could see what life is like for everyone else out there who really gets 3 DWI’s.

    • EmmaR says:

      I doubt Sykes, Walker or Clarke would make an apology and admission of guilt. GZ hires a lawyer this time who does what lawyers do and you’re livid. He doesn’t hire a lawyer previously and… you’re livid. Maybe you and your ilk fixate a little too much on GZ for your own good? His thing seems to be to to get you riled up, foaming at the mouth, eye-popping, bat-guano crazy. He seems wildly successful on that score.

  17. the divider says:

    Quit making Graeme Zielinski a victim. That Putz got off easy. Regardless of whether or not the first case was older than ten years, he still got off easy. Your political attacks will come home to roost you Putz!

  18. Steve ® says:

    Liberals scratching other liberals backs. Graeme you got off because your liberal buddy in Jefferson county magically couldn’t find the record of your 2nd DUI, that you admitted to, many times. You spout all these things about laws and the evil Walker administration yet you get off, oh I’m sorry. This is the liberal corruption that everyone was sick of and why republicans are in power.

    Don’t be a hypocrite here, do the “blue fisting right thing”. Lock yourself in jail and ask for the sentence that a 2nd DUI offender would receive. We’ll keep ignoring that this is technically your 3rd. Jeffery Dahmer apologized, but we still locked him up.

    • nonquixote says:

      Does it surprise anyone that with no politically defensible position from their conservative point of view to offer on anything, people such as Steve® consistently show up and jump right in with their rampant personal scorn and derision of another person with a self-professed, serious personal problem, easy peasy, doesn’t take much intelligence or effort (lazy asses) to do.

      Kick ’em when they ‘re down, bash ’em when they are injured. I wonder if this commenter considers himself a follower/believer in some forgiving and compassionate supreme being. Bets being taken that he pride’s himself in that. So we have pride, envy, wrath, sloth, maybe learned and re-enforced by the behavior of their preacher’s boy hero and eagle scout.

      • Steve® says:

        GZ is so full of hate towards conservatives but now when he gets caught for a 3rd time driving extremely drunk words are to ease up. And he beats the wrap due to a political buddy in the justice department. I’m sorry you support unequal trials and political back scratching. Those like GZ deserve harsh words, he has been spewing garbage himself for years.

        • nonquixote says:

          I made no judgements on GZ, sorry Steve®, surprising to no one that you are wrong. I never made a comment about the charges or the trials or hearings, you might want to work on the reading comprehension, bud. Don’t be making things up about what I support or not.

          Myself, I was commenting to point out your type of reprehensible behavior and the seeming ease in showing up like a vulture to figuratively tear apart the corpse. I see a lot of yelling and accusations, but not one link to an actual example of what you are claiming as fact. I understand that might take some actual intellectual effort and thinking on your part, so not expecting much more from you and I likely won’t read it anyway. Expressing your opinion again doesn’t give it any more credibility and likely isn’t going to win you any converts here.

          • Steve® says:

            Lol at reading comprehension. I find it hard to believe you have not read the hateful, threatening, baseless, partisan lies GZ has spoken and typed over the years. Yet when he is caught multiple times endangering real lives we are supposed to be respectful and silent. Your rant might make you feel like a self righteous king, but it defines GZ entire career.

            Yes phone I concur.

        • phonedawgz says:

          Graeme, you should be reinstated as Wisc Dem spokesperson.

        • Zachary says:

          After reading Steve’s rants, I’m convinced that somewhere there’s a tinfoil hat missing its owner.

          • Steve® says:

            What a substantial post. You forgot Koch and ALEC though and maybe a tea bagger here and there. Practice 6am sharp. We need to brush up your personal insults while covering for GZ.

      • Jake formerly of the LP says:

        No, it doesn’t surprise me at all that lil’ Stevie would act this way. It’s what obnoxious adolescents do, NQ.

        When Stevie grows up, he’ll realize how bad it is to live his life through the wins and losses of others. In fact, nihilistic trash like Stevie are exactly why I want to kick every GOP’s ass for the next several decades.

        • Steve® says:

          Replace Stevie with GZ and this crybaby rant makes sense. Cry more Jake, it’s been a winning attitude in Wisconsin!

  19. Carol says:

    Given Graeme’s family’s history, one might wonder if there’s a genetic disorder at play here. Graeme, why not check out the help and support that can be found through a well informed doctor or an organization that understands the potential for an underlying predisposition to both a mood disorder and addiction. NAMI is one that comes to mind. Many people recognize that conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and some kinds of cancer can be hereditary and are alert to symptoms in themselves, taking precautions to minimize their risk. Your circumstances may be no different, other than affecting a different organ in the body (and, unfortunately, being something surrounded with more ignorance and stigma than the other conditions).

  20. roxy says:

    Hey, I love Blogging Blue. We all human, make mistakes, good luck to you. Carry on, in solidarity and look forward to working alongside you 4-ever in twitter-dom :), your friend always, Rox

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