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Ziegler Stumbling.

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Ziegler Stumbling.

Postby MPMay » Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:12 am

After Judge Annette Ziegler ran away with the primary race for the open Supreme Court seat, many of us wondered if Madison attorney Linda Clifford had any chance of catching up.

Given Ziegler's gaffes this week, the answer is yes.

First, Ziegler gets caught in an Ethics 101 flunkorama by failing to recognize the most basic rules of judicial recusal, ruling in cases where her husband has an interest. This was reported first in the State Journal.

http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/local/i ... 11&ntpid=1

Now, we have a report of illegal campaign contributions that have to be returned, admittedly a perhaps administrative error, but not the sort of news you want if you are running on a "law and order" platform. This is noted in the MJS story recapping the conflict of interest and noting the campaign finance issue in a footnote:

http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=573250

All of this may end up being a tempest in a teapot if Clifford doesn't get her campaign moving soon (anybody heard or seen an ad yet?), but this gives Clifford an opportunity that she cannot let pass.

Stay tuned to see if Clifford can make this a contest or if Judge Ziegler steamrolls her way to a seat on the high court.

MPMay
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Postby chance » Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:13 pm

It just keeps on coming -

The WSJ reports that Ziegler handled 5 cases involving United Healthcare of Wisconsin, in which she holds > $50,000 worth of stock, without recusal or notice to the parties.

Ziegler's also showing herself to be remarkably inept at handling this issue. According to the WSJ story, at a Q&A sesssion in Dodgeville, Ziegler -- who has opened her response to this issue by explaining that she uses a "gut check" to determine if she's got a conflict of interest problem -- repeatedly refused to answer a question as to whether she thought the Supreme Court's rules on judicial conduct applied to her.

Could it be that Ziegler is just really, really, really dumb?
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Postby AlphaLiberal » Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:15 pm

Now, Ziegler is saying that she doesn't have to follow the Supreme Court rules on conflict of interest. She just "checks her gut" but doesn't tell the parties of her conflict of interest,as requird by Supreme Court rules.

If she was smart, she would admit the mistake. But, thankfully, she's digging her heels in and pretending the rules don't apply to her.

What do you expect from someone whose campaign manager is Jack Abramoff crony Mark Graul? According to Graul, he never did anything wrong taking gifts from Abramoff while Chief of Staff to former Rep Mark Green.

Clifford nails it in today's WSJ article:
But her opponent, Madison attorney Linda Clifford, blasted Ziegler's handling of the cases, saying it violated the Wisconsin Supreme Court rule requiring judges to either recuse themselves or notify the parties and get their approval to proceed when they have a conflict of interest.

"The rule either was disregarded or not understood," Clifford said at a stop in Spring Green. "Either scenario I would find shocking and totally inadequate in a candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court."

http://www.madison.com/wsj/mad/top/inde ... 69&ntpid=2

Is it really a good idea to elect someone to the Supreme Court who won't even follow their rules? (Hint: The answer is "no.")
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Postby AlphaLiberal » Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:17 pm

The Right Wing nationally has targeted our Supreme Court for takeover with the Club for Growth funneling money to help her out.

Folks, we need to pay attention to this race!
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Postby Mister_A_In_Madison » Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:25 pm

chance wrote:Could it be that Ziegler is just really, really, really dumb?


:shock:

:wink:
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Postby AlphaLiberal » Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:59 pm

I don't think she's dumb, but arrogant.
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Postby gargantua » Tue Mar 06, 2007 2:21 pm

Maybe Linda Clifford is a genius.....just sitting back and letting her opponent self-destruct. She sure doesn't seem to be doing any campaigning.
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Postby chance » Tue Mar 06, 2007 3:04 pm

AlphaLiberal wrote:I don't think she's dumb, but arrogant.

I think maybe you're right. Doing some digging around, I ran into this article by Mike Nichols of the Journal-Sentinel, indicating that there was a consensus among her peers that she was really sharp.

So why would she so blantantly ignore conflict of interest issues like this? Perhaps it's because the scale of the potential conflict is so miniscule compared to her actual financial position, that it seems trivially unimportant to her.

The compensation that her husband J. J. (Jeffrey) Ziegler gets from serving as a member of the board of the West Bend Savings Bank is peanuts compared to this family's money. J. J. is an heir to the fortune of bigwig Bernard C. Ziegler, who died in 2005. Poking around in on-line court records for Washington County on the probate of that estate there, shows (working back from the filing fee) that it is in the range of $28 million. That estate will wrap up soon. Annette Ziegler may just figure that they're way beyond even caring about any benefit that could possibly accrue to them from whatever she might do in a case involving West Bend Savings Bank or any other party they have an interest in. And hell, maybe she's right. But, then, what would she care about, as a potential (or actual) multi-millionaire?
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Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Mar 06, 2007 3:17 pm

chance wrote:
AlphaLiberal wrote:I don't think she's dumb, but arrogant.

I think maybe you're right. Doing some digging around, I ran into this article by Mike Nichols of the Journal-Sentinel, indicating that there was a consensus among her peers that she was really sharp.

I'd call it hubris.
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Postby AlphaLiberal » Tue Mar 06, 2007 3:20 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:
chance wrote:
AlphaLiberal wrote:I don't think she's dumb, but arrogant.

I think maybe you're right. Doing some digging around, I ran into this article by Mike Nichols of the Journal-Sentinel, indicating that there was a consensus among her peers that she was really sharp.

I'd call it hubris.

hubris over what? Being a judge? This happened beofre the primary, no?

And I do think that being filthy rich (if, indeed, she is) affected her thinking. $50 grand is not much worth getting worked up over to her.

Can you post a link to the CCAP page showing the money they inherited?
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Postby chance » Tue Mar 06, 2007 3:29 pm

AlphaLiberal wrote:. . . Can you post a link to the CCAP page showing the money they inherited?

You can't link directly to CCAP output, but you can call it up easily enough. Go to CCAP and search for cases involving Ziegler, Bernard C. -- you should get a hit on 2005IN000081, Washington County, In the estate of Bernard C. Ziegler -- click "Court Record Events", and item 23, April 7, 2006, shows a filing fee of $56,917.95 being paid on the same day as the filing of the inventory. In Wisconsin, the filing fee required on filing of the inventory is 0.2% of the gross value of the estate. All you have to do, as they say, is the math.
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Postby AlphaLiberal » Tue Mar 06, 2007 3:35 pm

So, Judge Ziegler is a multi-millionaire who hides her ties to banks and businesses when normal citizens seek relief in the courts?

Wow!

AND.... she is running on "law and order," but apparently "law and order" does not apply to her or her cronies!!

Those are some principles!
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Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:15 pm

AlphaLiberal wrote:
Henry Vilas wrote:
chance wrote:
AlphaLiberal wrote:I don't think she's dumb, but arrogant.

I think maybe you're right. Doing some digging around, I ran into this article by Mike Nichols of the Journal-Sentinel, indicating that there was a consensus among her peers that she was really sharp.

I'd call it hubris.

hubris over what? Being a judge? This happened beofre the primary, no?
Yes, that happened before the primary and yes, it's hubris. A filthy rich judge presiding in safe, conservative circuit who thinks that she can get away with it.

Alpha Liberal wrote:Can you post a link to the CCAP page showing the money they inherited?

What? Put their names into CCAP yourself. Individual pages can't be linked. And be forewarned that CCAP is missing a lot, as some counties report more to it than others. Those that do are only bare bones in civil cases. No money amount would be mentioned.
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Postby chance » Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:57 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:. . . Put their names into CCAP yourself. Individual pages can't be linked. And be forewarned that CCAP is missing a lot, as some counties report more to it than others. Those that do are only bare bones in civil cases. No money amount would be mentioned.

Sometimes true, Henry, and sometimes not. Go back and read my post, then look it up yourself. The money (the filing fee for filing the estate) is mentioned. The value of the estate can be figure from it.

There's more stuff accessible out there in those public court records than many people realize. Like, for example, a lot of detail about that highly controversial sexual assault case sentence that Ziegler handed down in 1999, which some folks are now dredging up. Turns out, it's something that should be considered a fair topic for discussion -- although not really because of the sentence itself. More about that later, maybe . . .
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Postby AlphaLiberal » Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:58 pm

OK, so here's the WI Supreme Court Committee that oversees judges. There's a link on that page to the Code of Judicial Conduct Adobe.

Interesting. How long can it take to find the relevant passage? Two commerical breaks on Colbert Report.
(d) The judge knows that he or she, individually or as a fiduciary, or the judge's spouse or minor child wherever residing, or any other member of the judge's family residing in the judge's household has an economic interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding or has any other more than de minimis interest that could be substantially affected by the proceeding. p. 14

What then?
Under this rule, a judge must recuse himself or herself whenever the facts and circumstances the judge knows or reasonably should know raise reasonable question of the judge's ability to act impartially, regardless of whether any of the specific rules in SCR 60.04 (4) applies. p. 13

is that it? no.
A judge should disclose on the record information that the judge believes the parties or their lawyers might consider relevant to the question of recusal, even if the judge believes there is no real
basis for recusal. p. 13

The next obvious question is whether judges have to follow Supreme Court rules and what happens if they choose to substitute their "gut" for the rules. Is there any law and order for Judge Ziegler?

Should we elect someone who promises strict penalties for the rest of us for not following rules, but none for herself?
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