Judge William Foust should deny Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne's request for a special prosecutor in the State Supreme Court kerfuffle.
There is no case here and the D.A. knows it. But the District Attorney is stuck on flypaper and he wants off. Ozanne is in possession of the Dane County Sheriff's office investigation into the incident of June 13 in the court's Capitol chambers. The initial story had Ann Walsh Bradley gasping for air as her fellow justice, Dave Prosser, throttled her with hands around her neck, presumably to the horror of the other four justices present in the room.
But the sheriff's investigatory report, so long in the making, does not recommend prosecution, Ozanne tells us. The Wisconsin State Journal has the story.
That tells me the entire contretemps in the offices of Justice Bradley is seven shades of gray, Roshomon in black robes, with both Justice David Prosser and Bradley wishing they had behaved differently but guilty of no crime.
The more nuanced version reported by Christian Schneider had disputatious words exchanged before Bradley flew at Prosser with fists raised. Prosser fends her off while another justice, unnamed, pulls Bradley away. She cries, "I was choked." Another of the justices present responds, "You were not choked."
If the facts as presented by the sheriff's report jump off the page demanding legal retribution, then file charges, Mr. D.A. If the inescapable conclusion drawn by a reasonable person is that a crime has occurred, don't fiddle faddle. Bring the indictment. Because if the sheriff's report does not make the case, no one will. It is worth noting that Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs poked into the case and chose not to make an arrest, either.
Ismael Ozanne does not want to bring charges and for good reason. He knows he has no case but fears that deciding not to charge will enrage the howling mob in Madison. He fears that his liberal privileges will be revoked and that he will be the target of sing-alongs and vuvuzelas. He will be linked to the Koch Brothers and ALEC. Oh, and he can forget about election to the post to which he has been appointed.
Shirley Abrahamson does not want charges to be filed. She does not want to sit on the witness stand for three days running as the defense attorney starts from the very beginning of her reign as chief justice 15 years ago to plumb the institutional dysfunction she has wrought. (Defense attorneys have greater latitude.)
Justice Bradley does not want charges to be filed. She does not want to be contradicted on the witness stand by some of her fellow justices. She does not want to answer why, if she was choked, she or Abrahamson or both went to liberal advocacy journalist Bill Lueders, a notorious enemy of Prosser, instead of filing a complaint with the police. Ann Walsh Bradley does not want to subject herself to perjury.
Nor does the court system want to house and feed that Waukesha County jury that any first-year law student would demand on Day One.
But if you got to have a special prosecutor, get E. Michael McCann out of Milwaukee. He's available and straight down the middle.
(Art from grovsnus.)
A cracker jack column
Thank you, Scott Walker. From the libertarian Tim Nerenz:
The past few weeks of debt-ceiling jabberwocky in Washington D.C. has produced only one clear winner Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. ...
Walker inherited a $3.3 billion deficit mess from his predecessor. ... [He] did not sulk or pout or pitch a fit in prime time. He did not berate his adversaries. He did not say an unkind word about the public employees whose unions vilified him and his supporters. While the opposition party abandoned their posts and fled to another state, the Governor quietly went to work each day and moved his plan through the legislature.
Walker's budget fix liberated the state from the fiscal death grip of its public sector unions. He saved taxpayers hundreds of millions, and he saved the jobs of tens of thousands of state workers, municipal employees, and teachers who would otherwise have been laid off ...
Here is the record under Walker; refute it if you can.
The depths into which they sink
"New Low." The Oshkosh Northwestern on August 1:
To be sure, policing each and every phony, false and jaw dropping claim made in political ads would be futile. Even so, there are some cases that are so egregious and detrimental to maintaining a sliver of civility that remaining silent could be construed as tacit support. A mailer campaign against Sen. Randy Hopper, R-Empire, by the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund is so viscerally vicious that the only conclusion one can draw is that the group is intent on Hopper's personal destruction. ...
The group's mailers are not just a tad distasteful or over the line. They exemplify an alarming and disgusting - escalation in the politics of personal destruction that are polluting Wisconsin politics.
In another recall race in the Milwaukee area, a Leftist group is accused of paying for votes.
Word I heard
Tommy Thompson is IN.
Old eminence grise Jim Klauser is on board. The machine is being reassembled. Thought: Tommy was right when he said he could beat Russ Feingold. Turns out, anyone with a half-decent resume and a healthy bank account could and, in the person of Ron Johnson, did.
My old mentor will have beaucoup de competition in the Republican primary for Herb Kohl's U.S. Senate seat this time around. He can bring in boatloads of national cash, name I.D. up the wazoo, and residual good will. Question: Will he be outflanked from the Right and if so, by whom?