Justice moves slowly but surely forward in Wisconsin as the DA refers the Prosser choking incident to a Special Prosecutor.
After reviewing the Dane County Sheriff’s investigation into the alleged choking of a female Supreme Court Justice by Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, the Dane County DA is requesting a special prosecutor to review the incident. Due to the expense of a special prosecutor, this move suggests that the Sheriff’s report indicates that there may be validity to the charge that Prosser put Justice Ann Walsh Bradley into a chokehold on July 13, 2011.
The Dane County District Attorney announced he has received the Dane County Sheriff’s investigation into the July 13, 2011, incident involving the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The DA issued a statement saying:
“I will be requesting Dane County’s Chief Judge to appoint a special prosecutor to review and make any determinations necessary in this matter due to this office’s prominent role in the litigation connected to this incident. Process matters. How we do our jobs is just as important as what we do in our jobs. The people of this State deserve to feel confident in the rule of law and the exercise of discretion by their constitutional officers. I take this action not because I feel this office wouldn’t be fair, but so that any decision can be free from accusations to ensure the public’s trust in the system and to allow the incident to be reviewed on the merits with no appearance of political motivation for any decisions or outcome.”
The alleged choking incident occurred in Bradley’s office as the justices argued over the timing of the release of its ruling on an Open Meetings violation lawsuit soon after Justice Prosser won his seat back after an election fraught with accusations of fraud. The actions and procedures of Republican county clerk Kathy Nickolaus during that election and the canvassing of it are being investigated (this is not her first go around with the law; she was granted immunity during an investigation into the Republican legislature when she worked for them as a computer data analyst). However, before the logs were fully reviewed, Justice Prosser was declared the winner by the Government Accountability Board. His “win” maintained the conservative bent of the court, and as Prosser was billed as a “complement” to Governor Walker’s agenda, it was obvious (if disappointing due to the evidence) that if he won, the court would overturn the void on the union-killing bill.
Republicans repealed Dane Country Justice Sumi’s ruling that the union busting law be voided due to its passage violating Open Meetings Laws (it was very clear that at least three violations did occur). The lawsuit regarding the violations of the Open Meetings law was originally filed against the Legislature by District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, the same person who requested a Special Prosecutor in the Prosser choking incident. Ozanne has requested the Chief Judge of Dane County to appoint a Special Prosecutor so that decisions resulting from the investigation won’t be open to accusations of partisan influence.
Special prosecutors aren’t cheap, and it’s doubtful the DA would be moving forward in this manner unless the evidence uncovered in the Sherrif’s report warranted it.
After the choking incident was first reviewed, Prosser grabbed the microphone of a reporter attempting to question him, displaying more of his infamous temper than he should have on camera. In the past, Prosser has threatened the Chief Justice, also a woman, calling her a “bitch” and telling her he would destroy her in a “ground war!” He later blamed her for his actions, suggesting that her “manipulation” made him do it. This is the standard defense of men who abuse women, so it wasn’t a surprise when he was later accused of choking another female justice.