Wisconsin Justice Ann Walsh Bradley accused Justice David Prosser of using an illegal “chokehold” on her. At the time, I pointed out that if the charge was not sustained, and Bradley falsely had accused Prosser of using a potentially life threatening “chokehold,” Bradley needed to step down.
Now, a special prosecutor has just decided not to file any charges in the case, as reported by JSOnline:
A prosecutor says she won’t file any criminal charges against Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser over allegations he choked a liberal colleague.
Justice Ann Walsh Bradley accused Prosser of choking her in June as the justices deliberated on a legal challenge to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s contentious collective bargaining law, which strips most public workers of nearly all their union rights.
Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett is acting as a special prosecutor in the case. She says she has reviewed investigators’ reports and decided there’s no basis to file charges against either Walsh Bradley or Prosser. She told The Associated Press in an interview that accounts from other justices who witnessed the apparent altercation varied, but declined to elaborate further.
Bradley made a false accusation of criminal conduct against a fellow member of the bench. She needs to step down.
Update: Via WisPolitics, here is the special prosecutor’s letter:
I have reviewed the Dane County Sheriff’s Department investigation in the above matter, consisting of the following:
70 pgs. of transcribed Reports
47 pgs. of Attachments received from interviewees or results of the investigation
2 discs of photos taken in Justice Bradley’s assistant’s office and the Justice’s office
1 audio disc of the interview
with Justice Prosser (I was advised by Dane Co. Det. Hansen that no other interviews were audio taped.)
I did inquire if there were any handwritten notes taken by the detectives during this investigation. I was
advised that, per protocol, said notes were destroyed once the detectives reports were finalized.
After a complete review of the documents and photos, listening to the audio interview and meeting with Det. Hansen, I have determined that no criminal charges will be filed against either Justice Bradley or Justice Prosser for the incident on June 13, 2011.
Prosser never accused Bradley of committing a crime. Bradley, by contrast, made a very specific accusation of a chokehold, a dangerous device which almost never is justified:
Remember the term “chokehold” as the investigation as to what really happened progresses and the facts eventually come out.
“Chokehold” is a very specific term, and is more than hands or a forearm coming into contact with one’s neck. A chokehold requires that there be sufficient pressure applied as to put the person at risk of reduced oxygen or blood flow….
Wisconsin law recognizes the use of a chokehold as a criminal battery if there is no legal justification for its use. In Re John Doe Petition, 329 Wis.2d 724, 735, 793 N.W.2d 209, 214 (2010)(Wisc. Ct. Appeals)(“allegations that a prison guard squeezed his neck to the point of impairing his breathing, without any legitimate purpose for the chokehold, could conceivably support a charge of battery or some other offense”).
There also is a specific statute making it a felony to commit a battery on a judge. W.S.A. 940.203 (“(2) Whoever intentionally causes bodily harm or threatens to cause bodily harm to the person or family member of any judge under all of the following circumstances is guilty of a Class H felony”).
So let’s be clear, Bradley has accused Prosser of committing a felony, not just having a bad temper.
It’s also time for the entire investigative file to be released because the role of Chief Judge Shirley Abrahamson in this event, and how it was leaked and used for political purposes, needs to be understood.
[Changes and additions were made to this post from the original.]