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No charges against Prosser; time for Bradley to step down

No charges against Prosser; time for Bradley to step down

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.

Very truly,

P.A. Barrett
Special Prosecutor

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.]


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From the statement of the special prosecutor, it seems that there was simply not enough evidence to charge. That’s considerably different from a false accusation and considering the prosecutor also stated there aren’t going to be charges against Bradley, it appears there isn’t enough evidence to charge her with anything, including whatever Wisconsin classifies filing a false police report as. Now if there was clear evidence her accusation was false, rather than not enough evidence her accusation was true, I’d agree.

    SmokeVanThorn in reply to Awing1. | August 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Bradley accused Prosser of committing a felony by putting her in a “choke hold.” She did so at a time when there was significant political advantage to be gained by vilifying Prosser. Investigators interviewed the persons who witnessed the alleged event. There was so little support for Bradley’s accusation that the prosecutor will not pursue the matter further.

    In the minds of some, the fact that Bradley made an unsubstantiated, scurrilous and politically motivated accusation against a colleague is not enough to disqualify her from holding a position on Wisconsin’s highest court; actual criminal conduct is required. Amazing.

      “There was so little support”. I don’t know I’d consider not finding evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard by which a prosecutor must believe they can prove the accusations, “so little support”.

    From JSOnline comes Judge Bradley’s BS comment:

    In her own statement, Bradley said the case “is and remains an issue of workplace safety.”

    “My focus from the outset has not been one of criminal prosecution, but rather addressing workplace safety. I contacted law enforcement the very night the incident happened but did not request criminal prosecution. Rather I sought law enforcement’s assistance to try to have the entire court address informally this workplace safety issue that has progressed over the years,” Bradley said. “To that end, chief of (Capitol Police Charles) Tubbs promptly met with the entire court, but the efforts to address workplace safety concerns were rebuffed. Law enforcement then referred the matter for a formal investigation and I cooperated fully with the investigation.”

    “Workplace safety” among WISC judges (all seven of them) requires involving police headed by a Democrat police chief and the smearing of a conservative judge. Right!

[…] up with this post by William A. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection. It contains several links to the […]

Now, now Professor. When has an elected Democrat ever done the honorable thing and left office after being discovered to have committed some illegal/immoral/unethical/obscene/heretical/blasphemous or other malfeasant action?

“You’re living in a dream world, Neo.” 🙂

Cowboy Curtis | August 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Now that the official investigation is over, Justice Bradley and the the Chief Justice are free to come forward and tell the public all the gory details. Or file a civil suit for assault and/or battery.

I’m not holding my breath, as I assume even liberal judges are subject to libel and slander suits in Wisconsin.

Perhaps Prosser should file one anyways. I bet all sorts of neat stuff would show up in discovery.

Had there been anything to prosecute Prosser over, Ismael Ozanne (D) wouldn’t have missed a heartbeat in doing so. There’s no way that case would have been allowed to leave Dane County. Instead the case got punted to Sauk County DA Patricia Barrett (R) to announce the conclusion that there was nothing prosecutable in the whole flap. There’s a reason why that case was assigned to Barrett, who by the way, had previously announced that she would not be standing for reelection at the end of her current term. Ozanne would have been kneecapped by his own people for announcing the same decision in Dane County. How long will it take before Barrett is accused of giving Prosser a pass? I’d bet it appears on tonight’s first newscast.

Somehow, I blame the Tea Party and Global Warming for this miscarriage of justice…

Looking forward to the real elections in Wisconsin, come November 2012. This time, the union shills and DNC will have too many brush fires, in too many state and Federal elections to prevent further conservative progress.

Why was Prosser’s interview the only one taped?

Frankly, the entire incident reeks of high school like behavior. I would seriously consider firing both of them if they worked for me and believed this was the way to work out their issues. Conduct was injudicious all around and Prosser and Bradley both should step down; possibly Abrahamson, too, if she or her office were responsible for leaking this and seeking political gain. We deserve better than this from our public officials and won’t get it unless and until we demand it in no uncertain terms.

“Bradley needs to step down”

GFL on that one, Professor. 🙁

3000 Fewer public sector union members paying dues as two TA’s unions decide not to recertify.

* Due to the new law, they have to recertify every year and must get a majority of all members, as opposed to a majority of those that actually vote, in favor of retaining the certification. This sets a higher bar for recertifying.

* Under the new law, union dues are no longer automatically deducted from pay checks and handed to the union. They had only managed to get about 10% of their members to voluntarily pay dues.

* Most members didn’t see the point in keeping the union since, under the new law, they can only use it to bargain for wages, not benefits.

How long will WI stay Blue without massive political contributions from public sector unions?

The new WI laws specifically exempt police / fire from its provisions. Why? Why not apply the same laws to them?

WI is not a right-to-work state, why aren’t Republicans using their majority to push this through?

[…] powerful witness (Chief Justice Abrahamson!) who supports her against the other four Justices. The Special Prosecutor told The Associated Press that accounts from other justices who witnessed the apparent altercation VARIED (i.e. somebody is […]