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June 28, 2011

Prosser Should Resign from Wisconsin Supreme Court

Filed under: Wisconsin Supreme Court — millerlf @ 6:16 am

By Matthew Rothschild, June 27, 2011 The Progressive

Wisconsin state supreme court justice David Prosser may find himself in legal hot water.

A fellow justice, Ann Walsh Bradley, has accused him of trying to choke her during a meeting in her office on June 13, the day before the court issued its controversial ruling validating the anti-collective-bargaining law. (Prosser sided with the majority; Bradley with the dissenters.)

“The facts are that I was demanding that he get out of my office and he put his hands around my neck in anger in a chokehold,” Bradley told the Journal Sentinel.

Other sources told the Journal that she had raised her fists against Prosser, but she denied that.

“You can try to spin those facts and try to make it sound like I ran up to him and threw my neck into his hands, but that’s only spin,” she told the Journal.

(The news broke over the weekend after a terrific story by Bill Lueders of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Lueders, who was the prize-winning news editor of the newspaper Isthmus for twenty-five years, is one of the most distinguished reporters in the state.)

Prosser denied the charge but refused to elaborate on any of the specifics.

But the allegations are serious. The accuser is extremely credible. And such unwanted physical contact can lead to assault charges.

“Matters of abusive behavior in the workplace aren’t resolved by competing press releases,” Bradley told the Journal Sentinel. “I’m confident the appropriate authorities will conduct a thorough investigation of this incident involving abusive behavior in the workplace.”

Prosser has also shown misogynistic behavior that has created a hostile work environment at the highest court in Wisconsin. Last year, he called Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a “total bitch,” and then suggested that she and Walsh intentionally provoke such outbursts from him.

Walsh told the Journal Sentinel in March that she has been concerned with Prosser’s “flashes of extreme anger on and off over the years.”

After he called Abrahamson a bitch, Walsh sent an e-mail to him and to the other justices saying that such behavior was unacceptable.

Prosser has more than amply demonstrated that he does not have the judicial temperament to be a justice on the Wisconsin supreme court.

He owes it to the court, to his colleagues, and to the citizens of Wisconsin to do the decent thing: resign.

June 27, 2011

Prosser Incident Investigated

Filed under: Wisconsin Supreme Court — millerlf @ 5:20 pm

Following is a Journal Sentinel article on the choking activity of Judge David Prosser.

Threatening or assaulting a judge is a felony, and those found guilty of it are subject to penalties of up to $10,000 and six years in prison. Simple battery is a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of a $10,000 fine and nine months in jail. But it was not clear if either of those statutes would be invoked in this case.


Two probes opened into Bradley claim

By Patrick Marley, Jason Stein and Don Walker of the Journal Sentinel

Updated: June 27, 2011

Madison – Two agencies are investigating a claim by Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley that Justice David Prosser put her in a chokehold earlier this month.

The separate probes are being run by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, which oversees the state’s judicial ethics code. The sheriff’s investigation was launched Monday; the commission’s was authorized Friday and publicly acknowledged on Monday.

“After consulting with members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, I have turned over the investigation into an alleged incident in the court’s offices on June 13, 2011 to Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney,” Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs said in a statement. “Sheriff Mahoney has agreed to investigate this incident.”


June 26, 2011

Did Judge Prosser Choke Ann Walsh Bradley around the Neck in Self Defense?

Filed under: Wisconsin Supreme Court — millerlf @ 10:05 am

Operating on a mandate from the Wisconsin electorate, man’s man Judge David Prosser reached out and choked Judge Ann Walsh Bradley around the neck.

How will Charlie Sykes spin this violence against women?

Following is an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

By Crocker Stephenson, Cary Spivak and Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel June 25, 2011

Prosser claims reports are false

Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley late Saturday accused fellow Justice David Prosser of putting her in a chokehold during a dispute in her office earlier this month.

“The facts are that I was demanding that he get out of my office and he put his hands around my neck in anger in a chokehold,” Bradley told the Journal Sentinel.

Sources told the Journal Sentinel two very different stories Saturday about what occurred. Some confirmed Bradley’s version. According to others, Bradley charged Prosser, who raised his hands to defend himself and made contact with her neck.


June 25, 2011

Wisconsin Supreme Court Judge Prosser Grabbed Fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley Around The Neck In An Argument In Her Chambers Last Week

Filed under: Wisconsin Supreme Court — millerlf @ 11:55 am

By Bill Lueders, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism Updated: June 25, 2011

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser allegedly grabbed fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley around the neck in an argument in her chambers last week, according to at least three knowledgeable sources.

Details of the incident, investigated jointly by Wisconsin Public Radio and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, remain sketchy. The sources spoke on the condition that they not be named, citing a need to preserve professional relationships.

They say an argument that occurred before the court’s release of a decision upholding a bill to curtail the collective bargaining rights of public employees culminated in a physical altercation in the presence of other justices. Bradley purportedly asked Prosser to leave her office, whereupon Prosser grabbed Bradley by the neck with both hands.


April 9, 2011

Madison’s Congressional Rep. Tammy Baldwin Calls on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for Federal Investigation of Waukesha County Vote in State Supreme Court Election

Filed under: Elections,Wisconsin Supreme Court — millerlf @ 1:54 pm

Baldwin calls for investigation of Waukesha County vote reporting

By Bill Glauber of the Journal Sentinel

April 9, 2011 U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking for a federal investigation into the handling of vote records in Waukesha County in the wake of Tuesday’s election for the state Supreme Court.

Baldwin’s office said she sent the letter Friday night.

Baldwin wrote Holder: “Following this week’s election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, numerous constituents have contacted me expressing serious doubt that this election was a free and fair one. They fear, as I do, that political interests are manipulating the results.”


April 6, 2011

Walker in Denial: Its All About Him

Filed under: Scott Walker,Wisconsin Supreme Court,Wisconsin Uprising — millerlf @ 3:06 pm

Walker says Supreme Court race not a referendum on his agenda

Associated Press Posted: Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gov. Scott Walker says the state Supreme Court race was not a referendum on him.

Walker said Wednesday the election that was too close to call was a choice about two different candidates with different backgrounds. Based on unofficial results previously unknown JoAnne Kloppenburg led incumbent David Prosser by a razor thin 204 votes.

Kloppenburg supporters tried to tie Prosser to Walker throughout the campaign against Prosser, who is a former Republican speaker of the Assembly.

Walker says for those who believe the election was a referendum, the votes against Prosser were largely focused in the Madison and Milwaukee areas. He says he’s not worried that the election results are a bad sign for Republican state senators up for recalls.

Wisconsin State Journal: Kloppenburg Wins by Narrow Vote, Declares Victory

Filed under: Wisconsin Supreme Court,Wisconsin Uprising — millerlf @ 3:01 pm

Kloppenburg tops Prosser by razor-thin margin in Supreme Court race

DEE J. HALL Associated Press Posted: Wednesday, April 6

With all precincts reporting, challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg edged incumbent David Prosser in a tight race for Wisconsin Supreme Court justice that seems certain to end up in a recount.

With all 3,630 precincts reporting as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, Kloppenburg led by 204 votes, 740,090 to 739,886.

Prosser’s campaign didn’t return a message early Wednesday to the Associated Press. However, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that he told supporters at his election-night party that there was “little doubt” there would be a recount.

When she was trailing earlier Wednesday morning, Kloppenburg told supporters she hadn’t given up.

“We’re still hopeful,” Kloppenburg said, according to AP. “So thank you all and let’s all get a good night’s sleep and see what tomorrow brings.”

The nonpartisan matchup between Prosser, a self-described judicial conservative, and Kloppenburg, an assistant attorney general who has vowed to be impartial on the bench, drew more special-interest money and attention than any Supreme Court race in state history.

Tuesday’s contest was widely considered a referendum on Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s moves to weaken public employee unions and a test of the political strength of the unions to strike back.

The fate of the law, currently tied up in Dane County Circuit Court, likely will be determined by the Supreme Court. A Kloppenburg win would be seen as breaking the court’s 4-3 conservative bloc, which is expected to be sympathetic to the measure.

The race also was being watched around the country as the first test of a coordinated move by Republican governors to cut state spending and undercut public employee unions, traditionally strong supporters of liberal and Democratic candidates.

Business and conservative groups favoring Prosser, 68, weighed in heavily with TV ads, spending almost $2.2 million in an effort to defeat Kloppenburg, 57. The liberal Greater Wisconsin Committee poured an estimated $1.4 million into ads attacking Prosser, according to the New York-based Brennan Center for Justice, which has been tracking spending in the race.

The commercials accused Prosser of declining to prosecute a sex offender priest in the late 1970s while he served as the district attorney of Outagamie County. The ads also charged Prosser would uphold Walker’s political agenda. The incumbent also was criticized for calling Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a “total bitch.” He has said Abrahamson goaded him to anger, and he faulted her for creating a divisive atmosphere on the court.

Kloppenburg was criticized for her lack of judicial experience and labeled as a “government lawyer” whose prosecution in a state environmental case landed an elderly farmer in jail.

The spending broke the state’s previous record for television spending by non-candidate groups, the Brennan Center said.

“Once again, costly spending and negative attack ads have raged out of control in Wisconsin,” said Charles Hall, a spokesman for Justice at Stake, which opposes special interest spending in court races. “Regardless of who wins this election, public confidence in a fair, impartial court system will inevitably be damaged.”

Both sides were banking on large turnouts in key areas Tuesday to fuel their candidates to victory in the race for a 10-year term on the bench.

Madison has been ground zero for protests against Walker’s collective bargaining bill that drew tens of thousands of demonstrators to the Capitol and around the state. Turnout in Madison was on pace to beat records for a spring election, with Madison estimating 70 percent of registered voters went to the polls.

Prosser campaign manager Brian Nemoir said he was encouraged by high turnouts around Milwaukee. The counties around Wisconsin’s largest city generally vote Republican, helped Prosser, a former Republican speaker of the state Assembly.

Until Walker introduced his bill severely limiting collective bargaining for 175,000 public employees, Prosser was seen as a clear favorite. He got 55 percent of the vote in the four-way Feb. 15 primary to Kloppenburg’s 25 percent.

“Prosser won Milwaukee city and county in the primary, so that needs to turn around — and turn around big-time — for Kloppenburg to have a shot,” said Charles Franklin, a UW-Madison professor of political science.

Franklin said the heavier than normal turnout favored Kloppenburg because it meant voters who sat out the primary were energized to vote in Tuesday’s election.

“Prosser would have sailed to re-election if this (controversy) hadn’t come up,” Franklin said. “I think a lot of the race has become a proxy fight between Walker and the unions.”

The final tally appeared to be held up by vote counting in Eau Claire and Marathon counties, which continued after midnight.

The close results suggest the race may be decided by a recount. Under Wisconsin election law, a candidate has three days after the official results have been tallied to request a recount. The candidate must specify a reason for the request, such as a belief a mistake was made in the counting or some other irregularity.

Prosser has been on the high court for 12 years. He was appointed by then-Gov. Tommy Thompson in 1998 and elected to a 10-year term with no opponent in 2001.

Kloppenburg has worked as an assistant attorney general for 22 years under both Republican and Democratic attorneys general. She handles a variety of legal matters, specializing in environmental regulation and litigation. Prosser labeled her inexperienced. Kloppenburg criticized Prosser for being a partisan because of his repeated references to himself as a judicial conservative.

The nearly $3.6 million in outside spending is for commercials aired through Monday and is expected to increase once Tuesday’s ad buys are tallied, the Brennan Center said.

Even without a final tally, this race has been more expensive than the 2008 contest that drew $3.38 million in outside spending. Then-Burnett County Circuit Judge Mike Gableman defeated incumbent Justice Louis Butler in that race.

The candidates themselves were limited to each spending $100,000 in the primary and $300,000 in the general election under the state’s new Impartial Justice Act — a public-financing program Walker proposes to cut.

The winner of Tuesday’s election will be sworn in Aug. 1.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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