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Wisconsin Supreme Court stops John Doe investigation against conservatives

Wisconsin Supreme Court stops John Doe investigation against conservatives

Rips prosecutors’ “paramilitary-style home invasions conducted in the pre-dawn hours” against Scott Walker supporters

https://youtu.be/FPoSV9v7J1s

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has effectively killed the “John Doe” case which led to home raids and intimidation of a wide range of Wisconsin conservative activists.

The decision is embedded at the bottom of this post.

Here is the key finding, which completely shreds both the legal theories and motives of the prosecutors, completely vindicates the targets, and praises those who fought back legally against prosecutorial misconduct (emphasis added):

¶133 Our lengthy discussion of these three cases can be distilled into a few simple, but important, points. It is utterly clear that the special prosecutor has employed theories of law that do not exist in order to investigate citizens who were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing. In other words, the special prosecutor was the instigator of a “perfect storm” of wrongs that was visited upon the innocent Unnamed Movants and those who dared to associate with them. It is fortunate, indeed, for every other citizen of this great State who is interested in the protection of fundamental liberties that the special prosecutor chose as his targets innocent citizens who had both the will and the means to fight the unlimited resources of an unjust prosecution. Further, these brave individuals played a crucial role in presenting this court with an opportunity to re-endorse its commitment to upholding the fundamental right of each and every citizen to engage in lawful political activity and to do so free from the fear of the tyrannical retribution of arbitrary or capricious governmental prosecution. Let one point be clear: our conclusion today ends this unconstitutional John Doe investigation.

Andrew Grossman, who filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case and who has served as counsel to Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth (two of the targets of the investigation) in various federal civil rights litigation against the prosecutors, provided me with the following statement:

Today’s decision puts an end to one of the worst abuses of power ever seen in Wisconsin law enforcement. The next step will be holding those responsible accountable for their actions. The Court’s recognition that the John Doe was a politically motivated “dragnet” of Gov. Walker’s allies provides strong support for Cindy Archer’s civil rights action against the Milwaukee prosecutors and lawsuits by potentially any of the other John Doe targets.

Background on John Doe abuses:

We have been covering the John Doe cases for a year and a half. You can read all out posts in the John Doe (WI) Tag.

Here are some key posts:

Analysis:

The court found that Wisconsin statutes did not limit “issue advocacy,” and that any attempt to so limit speech was unconstitutional:

¶7 We can resolve the original action, Two Unnamed Petitioners, by first examining whether the statutory definitions of “committee,” “contributions,” “disbursements,” and “political purposes” in Wis. Stat. §§ 11.01(4), (6), (7), and (16) are limited to express advocacy[4] or whether they encompass the conduct of coordination between a candidate or a campaign committee and an independent organization that engages in issue advocacy. Second, if the definitions extend to issue advocacy coordination, what then constitutes prohibited “coordination?”

* * *

¶41 We turn first to Two Unnamed Petitioners, the original action filed with the Wisconsin Supreme Court. This case requires us to interpret Wisconsin’s campaign finance law, Wis. Stat. Ch. 11. By its very nature, this task involves fundamental questions regarding the scope of the government’s ability to regulate political speech. To resolve this case, we must engage in statutory interpretation of the phrase “political purposes,” which includes all activities “done for the purpose of influencing [an] election.” Wis. Stat. § 11.01(16). We conclude, consistent with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 3 of the Wisconsin Constitution, that the plain language of “political purposes” in Wis. Stat. § 11.01(16) is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague if it is not given a limiting construction and applied to only express advocacy and its functional equivalent. This conclusion invalidates the special prosecutor’s theory of the case and ends the John Doe investigation. Therefore, we agree with the Unnamed Movants and grant their requested relief.

The Court ripped into the investigating prosecutors (emphasis added):

¶68 Having reached our conclusion about the scope of conduct regulated by Chapter 11, we now turn to the special prosecutor’s theories of coordination and whether the alleged conduct is regulated under Wisconsin law.[23] The special prosecutor has disregarded the vital principle that in our nation and our state political speech is a fundamental right and is afforded the highest level of protection. The special prosecutor’s theories, rather than “assur[ing] [the] unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people,” Roth, 354 U.S. at 484, instead would assure that such political speech will be investigated with paramilitary-style home invasions conducted in the pre-dawn hours and then prosecuted and punished. In short, the special prosecutor completely ignores the command that, when seeking to regulate issue advocacy groups, such regulation must be done with “narrow specificity.” Barland II, 751 F.3d at 811 (quotations omitted).

¶69 The limiting construction that we apply makes clear that the special prosecutor’s theories are unsupportable in law given that the theories rely on overbroad and vague statutes. By limiting the definition of “political purposes” to express advocacy and its functional equivalent, political speech continues to be protected as a fundamental First Amendment right.

The court made clear the investigation was stopped cold in its tracks:

¶76 To be clear, this conclusion ends the John Doe investigation because the special prosecutor’s legal theory is unsupported in either reason or law. Consequently, the investigation is closed. Consistent with our decision and the order entered by Reserve Judge Peterson, we order that the special prosecutor and the district attorneys involved in this investigation must cease all activities related to the investigation, return all property seized in the investigation from any individual or organization, and permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation. All Unnamed Movants are relieved of any duty to cooperate further with the investigation.

The Court went on in addition to uphold a lower court’s quashing of a subpoenas and search warrants sought by the prosecutors, finding that the John Doe powers did not allow “a fishing expedition”:

¶91 Reasonableness and particularity are not just requirements of search warrants, however. Subpoenas issued by courts, and by extension John Doe judges, must also satisfy these requirements of the Fourth Amendment. In re John Doe Proceeding, 272 Wis. 2d 208, ¶38. A John Doe proceeding, with its broad investigatory powers, must never be allowed to become a fishing expedition.

¶92 It is difficult, if not impossible, to overstate the importance of the role of the John Doe judge. If he does not conduct the investigation fairly, as a neutral and detached magistrate, the risk of harm to innocent targets of the investigation-and we remain mindful that all such targets are presumed innocent-is too great. Through the use of a John Doe proceeding, “law enforcement officers are able to obtain the benefit of powers not otherwise available to them, i.e., the power to subpoena witnesses, to take testimony under oath, and to compel the testimony of a reluctant witness.” Washington, 83 Wis. 2d at 822-23. Such powers, if not wielded with care and skill may serve to transform a John Doe proceeding into an implement of harassment and persecution by a vengeful or unethical prosecutor. Thus, John Doe judges must be mindful of this danger and zealously guard the rights of all citizens against over-reach.

The Court then summarized its holdings, just so there was no doubt that it had completely rejected the prosecutors’ legal theory on coordination of issue advocacy (emphasis added):

¶133 Our lengthy discussion of these three cases can be distilled into a few simple, but important, points. It is utterly clear that the special prosecutor has employed theories of law that do not exist in order to investigate citizens who were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing. In other words, the special prosecutor was the instigator of a “perfect storm” of wrongs that was visited upon the innocent Unnamed Movants and those who dared to associate with them. It is fortunate, indeed, for every other citizen of this great State who is interested in the protection of fundamental liberties that the special prosecutor chose as his targets innocent citizens who had both the will and the means to fight the unlimited resources of an unjust prosecution. Further, these brave individuals played a crucial role in presenting this court with an opportunity to re-endorse its commitment to upholding the fundamental right of each and every citizen to engage in lawful political activity and to do so free from the fear of the tyrannical retribution of arbitrary or capricious governmental prosecution. Let one point be clear: our conclusion today ends this unconstitutional John Doe investigation.

¶134 In Two Unnamed Petitioners, we hold that the definition of “political purposes” in Wis. Stat. § 11.01(16) is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 3 of the Wisconsin Constitution because its language “‘is so sweeping that its sanctions may be applied to constitutionally protected conduct which the state is not permitted to regulate.'” Janssen, 219 Wis. 2d at 374 (quoting Bachowski, 139 Wis. 2d at 411). However, a readily available limiting construction exists that we will apply and that will prevent the chilling of otherwise protected speech; namely, that “political purposes” is limited to express advocacy and its functional equivalent as those terms are defined in Buckley and WRTL II. With this limiting construction in place, Chapter 11 does not proscribe any of the alleged conduct of any of the Unnamed Movants. The special prosecutor has not alleged any express advocacy, and issue advocacy, whether coordinated or not, is “beyond the reach of [Ch. 11].” Barland II, 751 F.3d at 815. Accordingly, we invalidate the special prosecutor’s theory of the case, and we grant the relief requested by the Unnamed Movants.

¶135 To be clear, this conclusion ends the John Doe investigation because the special prosecutor’s legal theory is unsupported in either reason or law. Consequently, the investigation is closed. Consistent with our decision and the order entered by Reserve Judge Peterson, we order that the special prosecutor and the district attorneys involved in this investigation must cease all activities related to the investigation, return all property seized in the investigation from any individual or organization, and permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation. All Unnamed Movants are relieved of any duty to cooperate further with the investigation.

More Analysis to follow.

————————

Wisconsin Supreme Court – John Doe Decision

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Comments

A righteous bench-slapping by a good judge.

Mark it down, some of you WHINOs who think nothing goes right.

Now, let’s see if the civil law can’t break through to get to these pukes who conducted this Anschluss against ordinary Americans in the name of the Collective.

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to Ragspierre. | July 16, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Unless and until there are consequences, civil or criminal, imposed on those who both did this and ordered this; it will not deter them. I have not yet seen any sign of consequences; although I may have missed it.

    I expect that the Leftist Sturm Abteilung will continue to march unimpeded.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Ragspierre. | July 16, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    I wanted to see shaming. I’m not satisfied. I wanted to see terms such as “misconduct” or “abuse of process” or “malfeasance” or “political motivation” used. I wanted the judge to give the victims a boatload of ammo for a civil suit. A gigundo boatload of ammo for a gigundo civil suit. Yep, it was a good “slap” at the prosecutors, but it’s not the beatdown they deserve.

      Forget shaming, time to throw the book on these investigators and the attorney who initiated this fishing exhibition. Jail time and then ask a judge to go “Section 42, Article 1983” violation of civil rights and lift immunities from private lawsuits to all individuals who was involved in the illegal search and seizure. Sue their asses off and take EVERYTHING they own. PERIOD. Then they will learn…….

…would assure such political speech will be investigated with paramilitary-style home invasions conducted in the pre-dawn hours and then prosecuted and punished.

Well, sure, it sounds bad when you put it that way.

I’m sure the special prosecutor would prefer “Dropping in for a early morning chat”.

    legacyrepublican in reply to rinardman. | July 16, 2015 at 9:45 am

    …. and a coffee and donut too. After all, they are cops. 😉

    They’ll do the beer clatch later, of course.

Bitterlyclinging | July 16, 2015 at 9:23 am

Just a whiff of Gestapo there.
Good thing it was the Wisconsin Supremes and not the John Roberts Court, considering the difficulty that court had with “As established by the States”

    Whitewall in reply to Bitterlyclinging. | July 16, 2015 at 9:38 am

    To update the comparison, East German Stasi police. Liberals are out in the open now and they don’t look good in court or on camera. Scott Walker knows just who and what this enemy is and what they are capable of.

smalltownoklahoman | July 16, 2015 at 9:23 am

ABSOLUTELY HUGE win for Walker and his supporters! Not only have his worst enemies failed to stop him but the courts have thoroughly rejected their attempts to intimidate his supporters into silence. This ought to provide a lot of momentum for his campaign going forward.

DINORightMarie | July 16, 2015 at 9:25 am

Wow – love that last statement. Pure clarity. No mincing words.

Now, does that open up the possibility of those victimized by this totalitarian witch-hunt to sue the state (et. al.) for damages? More than many I’ve read about, I believe these targeted victims who were SWATted, in essence, as a part of this political witch-hunt, suffered “mental suffering and anguish” etc.

Would that also then allow discovery, opening up the records, the documentation, of these goons?

This needs the disinfectant of light to expose what happened behind the veil………or it will happen again, I believe. Maybe not in WI…….but thug-fellow-travelers are birds of a feather…..

Was this unanimous? I’d be surprised if the progressives on the WI supreme court went along with this decision.

What happened in Wisconsin is similar to Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. A cabal of Demprog storm troopers literally trampled the Constitutional rights of citizens and broke the law in the process. Wisconsin is a veritable cesspool of union thugs and DemProglodytes hellbent on squashing anyone who stands in the way of their corruption. Chisholm and his cronies should be charged with abuse of office and unlawful intimidation and frogmarched off to jail.

Don’t expect Obama’s DOJ to do anything about it. They’re too busy shredding the Bill of Rights and breaking the law themselves.

I hope Eric O’Keefe and his fellow compatriots bring a fucking sledgehammer of lawsuits and charges against Chisholm and his cabal.

stevewhitemd | July 16, 2015 at 9:44 am

Superb ruling.

It would be best if the Wisconsin legislature amended their law to do away with any “John Doe” style proceedings, and if Gov. Walker signed that into law. Let the Democrats complain, and when they do, tie the tin can of this prosecutorial abuse around their necks.

And one more item of business: put a credible opponent up against Milwaukee County prosecutor John Chisholm in the next election, and defeat him. Run him out of office. He’s a thug.

Gov Scott Walker should make this a hallmark of his campaign for president. He should let the world know that the sleazy tactics of Democrat apparatchiks will not prevail.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to paulejb. | July 16, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Absodamnlutely.

    Walker should make prosecutorial reform an issue in his campaign so he can talk about this a lot. When the ‘rats whine, he can point out that the only ones who would be impacted would be prosecutors who abuse their power and those who rely on similar prosecutors to take out their political opponents, such as the Austin prosecutor’s legal assault on Rick Perry. Mosby wouldn’t like it, either, but neither she nor any of her fellow travelers were going to vote for Walker anyway.

    Heh. I LOVE the idea of a Walker DOJ investigating prosecutors, including state AGs, in blue jurisdictions across the country. Oh what fun that would be; break out the popcorn with lotsa buttah!

Should we expect sanctions and an ethics investigation?

For example, ¶135 suggests that the special prosecutor violated Rule 3.1. The Supreme Court seems to foreclose even a good faith argument defense against a 3.1 violation (being unsupported in “reason or law” implies that there is no support for arguing a reasonable extension of the law).

The special prosecutor seems to have made a frank mockery of Rule 3.8. In particular the press leaks and public statements by his office suggest that 3.8(f) and 3.6 are in play as well.

In short, there should be a rich vein of model rules violations that should be rightfully mined — what do you think Bill? Will we look back in two years and see a fizzle on the ethics side?

    Observer in reply to geo.kap. | July 16, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Yes, if the court didn’t refer this matter to the Wisconsin state bar for disciplinary action against the special prosecutor, district attorneys, and John Doe judges involved in this outrageous abuse, then the targets should immediately file their own bar complaints (if they haven’t done so already).

    There are multiple, serious ethics violations here and every one of the lawyers involved should be disbarred. They are unfit to practice law, in Wisconsin or anywhere else.

      Vancomycin in reply to Observer. | July 16, 2015 at 10:22 am

      The bar associations in most states have been captured by progs. Good luck getting the bar to issue any kind of punishment to the prosecutors.

Uncle Samuel | July 16, 2015 at 9:54 am

Abuse of power is the leftist way and definitely the Obama regime signature trait.

From day one, Obama has used his office to punish and malign Conservative and to stifle/silence dissent.

PC really means punitive conformity and compliance.

Ouch. I can feel the burn from here.

The question I have is two-fold. A) How petty do you think the prosecutors be about carrying out the terms of the decision, i.e. how many months will it take them to return the property, if they do, and how much of the ‘evidence’ seized will be ‘accidentally’ shared with outside sources instead of being destroyed? (and of course, if the originals are ‘destroyed’ there’s nothing to prove the sharing took place)

And related, B) Are the prosecutors still employed and for how long? If so, they have incentive to be as petty and vindictive as possible and stretch out the property-returning and evidence-destroying process as much as possible.

    The investigation was ongoing and the prosecutor running it personally threatened Gov. Walker with prosecution for comments Walker made about the investigation. I’m interested in seeing how that works out. The prosecutor spoke as if he was dealing with a mafia drug lord. And perhaps he even believes that he is: his wife is apparently a big union backer.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to JBourque. | July 16, 2015 at 7:56 pm

      The case is over and the decision has been publicly published, so there’s nothing the prosecutor can do to shut up Walker or his supporters. The prosecutor is no longer in the position of threatening Walker about talking about the investigation because the court found that the investigation was totally bogus from the git-go: “It is utterly clear that the special prosecutor has employed theories of law that do not exist in order to investigate citizens who were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing. In other words, the special prosecutor was the instigator of a “perfect storm” of wrongs that was visited upon the innocent Unnamed Movants and those who dared to associate with them.”

      The judge ordered the investigation cease immediately. Unless the judge gives the prosecutor X amount of time to return “evidence” and materials seized, it is to be done immediately. I could be wrong, but I think “immediately” is ten business days. So, if everyone doesn’t have their stuff back in two weeks, I will hope that the prosecutor is hauled back into court on contempt charges and a spectacle is made of it.

The ruling is nice to see. BUT I can’t help but wonder how many progressives are looking at this and thinking, “Okay, what do we need to do next time to make it fly?”

The Wisconsin state Supreme court just made the IRS audit list. This ruling is not good for the Commies anywhere in the United States.

The Commies in Wisconsin just got a major butt hurt.

I don’t see the word “frivolous,” but I see the definition of it, in this ruling.

I look forward to the complaint for malicious prosecution, not to mention the disbarment proceedings. Each of those will take time, but the precedent would be worthwhile.

    Vancomycin in reply to Valerie. | July 16, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Don’t hold your breath on disbarment. It would not shock me to find out the WI state bar was captured by the progs. It would *also* not surprise me very much to see the state bar issue a statement in support of the prosecutors…

    Ragspierre in reply to Valerie. | July 16, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Yep. “Unsupported in fact or law” is pretty damned damning.

    I do believe the supremes were pointing at Chisholm and his minions and saying, “Sic ’em!” to the rest of the Wish-con-sin bar.

    We’ll see…

I hope the police agencies and senior officers (leadership) that participated in these activities suffer civil suits. They had an ethical and legal duty to evaluate the warrants and decline any participation.

Yay!

So proprietorial immunity is out for this bunch of creeps? Will the citizens of WI have to pay their legal fees from taxpayer funds? Chisholm could do car washes or raffles with the unions to pay his legal bills I suppose.

Don’t get too excited. For the Progs, this isn’t a loss yet.

The purpose was harassment, a pit into which the victims had to throw time and money. From that standpoint, the operation was a total success.

Successes are models for future assaults.

The only way to introduce a downside to something like this is to inflict real punishment on the perps. And that means some of them have to spend time behind bars.

Until that happens, this crap will stay in the playbook.

    Elliott in reply to tom swift. | July 16, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Agree that for progs the process is THE punishment. Even if they loose they hide behind immunity. That has to end. And claiming the public having to pay for THEIR damages is harmful is bosh. If the jurisdiction keeps electing them they need to pay for them harming others.

      Immolate in reply to Elliott. | July 16, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      These particular progs are about to get a big dose of “process-as-punishment”. There is no immunity from what is about to happen to them.

    Ragspierre in reply to tom swift. | July 16, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Sorry, Capt. WHINO.

    You are looking for “justice” from our legal system. We’ve been all over this for years now. You’re delusional.

    “Behind bars” is simply a loopy (though ideal) outcome. You don’t get “ideal” in this flawed veil of tears, honey.

    You MAY need to learn to accept victories where you find them, and HOW you find them. With, of course, the caveat that you are free to push for ideal outcomes via the democratic process. You just have to deal in reality.

    Part of that means letting due process…I dunno…PROCESS. It won’t happen in a time-frame to give you instant gratification. Or with a bow tied around it.

      Vancomycin in reply to Ragspierre. | July 16, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      Part of that means letting due process…I dunno…PROCESS. It won’t happen in a time-frame to give you instant gratification. Or with a bow tied around it.

      What part of what swift said is wrong though. The process in this case was the punishment for chisholms victims here. Yeah, the investigation got stopped, eventually…But that eventually is what makes this tactic so effective. While that investigation was ongoing people were having their lives threatened and ruined by this.

      If I were playing by the same rules as the progs I would be looking at this as a huge success. It had it’s intended effect of shutting people up. Look, they even shared info with the IRS…and *that* is going to be a gift that keeps on giving for them.

        Ragspierre in reply to Vancomycin. | July 16, 2015 at 2:11 pm

        “For the Progs, this isn’t a loss yet.”

        Well, let’s START with that as being wrong. If you don’t think this ruling was a TOTAL, flaming, death-spiral loss, you are (politely) out of your mind.

        “While that investigation was ongoing people were having their lives threatened and ruined by this.”

        I suppose, given they were delicate lil’ flowers, they were “ruined”. Some people are that fragile. I don’t think of conservative activists and employees as being that brittle, but you are free to.

        “It had it’s intended effect of shutting people up.”

        Really? From my POV, it had the effect of bringing courageous people from out of the background. People who knew, liked, and had worked with Chisholm for years.

        Some “victory”….

        Valerie in reply to Vancomycin. | July 16, 2015 at 6:47 pm

        Shutting people up? I’m not so sure about that. I think this investigation helped launch Walker’s presidential run.

    Ragspierre in reply to tom swift. | July 16, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    I’ll just throw these out for some thought…

    1. “Successes are models for future assaults.”

    K. Here’s an acid test…if you’re right, you’ll see more of these attempts. If I’m right, you won’t. IF you think politically ambitious prosecutors will try MORE of this, fine. I suggest you don’t understand human nature…or reality. See consequences, Stevens, Sen. Alaska, prosecutors.

    2. This whole deal was (pretty much) unique to Wish-con-sin, which has some pretty unique laws. If you disagree, put up your LINKS.

    3. Glenn Reynolds (and I) have said for years that prosecutorial and judicial immunities are too broad. BUT they ARE there for some good reasons. We DO want them modified, BUT we don’t want them taken away.

    4. ANY contractor or other small businessperson CAN count on being sued, or HAVING to sue. THAT is reality. Are their lives “ruined”?

    5. “Behind bars” is a silly expectation. A MORE realistic expectation is the ending of a career. My bet is that Chisholm is DONE. But THAT is a political question for the people making up his constituency. THEY may be terrible, awful, really bad people. That’s democracy for ya. Bets?

      1. Rags, a lot of people have this backwards: there have been many assaults like this in the past and will continue to be in the future. This is just the latest example of “lawfare”. Tom DeLay, the unfounded ethics charges against Sarah Palin, etc. WI may have had a law making this easier, but this kind of lawfare can be expected wherever progs can manage it. Note that the unfounded sexual harassment complaint against the Republican candidate out in San Diego didn’t involve actual criminal charges.

      2. See #1 for lawfare examples.

      3. Agreed, on both counts. I would like to see any revisions extended to LEOs. Holding them to the same duty to disobey unconstitutional orders as our military might be a good start.

      4. Here, you are simply comparing apples and oranges, for one simple reason: any businessman / contractor has to ask himself one simple question: “Is it worth my time and money to either launch this lawsuit, or to defend against one.” NO prosecutor or bureaucrat ever has to ask that question, because he’s using the taxpayer’s money to launch the suit, defend against one, or pay off any judgements. It is therefore always to his advantage to press charges.

      There’s also the little factoid that legitimate businessmen and contractors can’t send armed men in dead of night to kick in your front door and terrorize you and your family…. assuming they don’t shoot you. This point fails on every level.

      5. Depriving people of their civil rights under color of authority is an actual crime. Why is jail time unrealistic? And if your point is that our justice system is that corrupt, then maybe it’s time for some good Son of Liberty to deliver our message at 3 am.

      Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | July 17, 2015 at 9:36 am

      SDN

      The idea that a prosecutor…

      1. has unlimited resources, and

      2. ALWAYS charges/prosecutes

      Is simply nuts.

      At the end of any process in civil law (if you push it hard enough) is a guy with a gun, too.

      Your point about lawfare is overboard. We ARE NOT talking about every misuse of power ever in the whole world, but about the case here. tom’s point was that this was no defeat for the Collective. My point is that it damn sure IS, and we need to be happy about it. Did we learn some things about how to fight this? I think we did. Is that good? I think it IS! Did the court here lay down a bright line respecting political speech? If you can read, you have to say, YES!

      Finally, yes, laws were…putatively…broken. People could be ARGUED to deserve jail time. Who do you think will investigate and prosecute?

      MAYBE someone will. THAT takes time.

      Someone will almost surely bring civil actions here. THAT takes time.

        Of course, they won’t prosecute every case; just enough, like this one, to make examples. If you read the case, this one basically dried up conservative donations for 2012 in WI from that very effect.

        Go ahead and ignore the patterns; we’ll manage without you.

          Ragspierre in reply to SDN. | July 17, 2015 at 9:53 am

          WTF are you talking about?

          Bad people doing bad things? People misusing power? People playing dirty tricks?

          Golly and shaaaaaaAAAAaaazam…!!!

          You may be on to something there, pard…

          Great “pattern recognition” powers you got thar.

          SDN in reply to SDN. | July 18, 2015 at 8:52 pm

          Oh, Rags, one would almost think you were afraid some of your former prosecutions might land you in the greybar hotel…

      Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | July 17, 2015 at 9:48 am

      Another point or two…

      1. the political process is often MUCH faster and provides more justice than can our legal system can

      2. if you think there’s any doubt about who won here, ask who’s downing sour grapes and cussing at the clouds. It ain’t Mr. Walker or any of the victims.

      Is it?

Sooo… I take it that this court decision is also meant to put an end to the special prosecutor’s threats to prosecute Scott Walker for interfering in his investigation? Or what?

    Ragspierre in reply to JBourque. | July 16, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    I’d opine, “Yes, it does end that threat”. There’s just no rational way to justify that, given the root prosecutions are now gutted.

    But…Rick Perry.

MSM in Seattle was spinning this announcement like there was a hint of truth in the prosecution.

    Spiny Norman in reply to Andy. | July 16, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    They were probably giving Abrahamson’s and Crooks’ dissenting opinions more credibility than the decision itself.

    Valerie in reply to Andy. | July 16, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    NPR in San Diego was claiming that the investigation had already yielded criminal convictions of Walker aides.

Henry Hawkins | July 16, 2015 at 12:54 pm

O/T: This LI reader is overjoyed to see more and more articles by Professor Jacobson again.

Now, if only the IRS were subject to such a court. But I digress.

KPFK, the local NPR station in San Diego, had a show on today about 2:30 pst where the host was claiming that the Koch brothers packed the Wisconsin Supreme Court just for the purposes of deciding this case.

Really.

    Ragspierre in reply to Valerie. | July 16, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Reading must be a dark art for the idiots who populate that station.

    You can’t read the opinion and come away without the KNOWLEDGE that Chisholm was WAY outside the legal rails.

Does this have any effect on the federal cases that Judge Randa decided? The 7th Circuit, apparently ignorant of the purpose that sole purpose of 42 USC sec. 1983 is the vindication of federal rights against corrupt or unlawful state officials, vacated Randa’s rulings because, the 7th Circuit said, the courts of the very state who enabled this witchhunt to proceed unabated, had decided first. DONE. Does this put J. Randa back on the case to vindicate federal rights against state officials? Without him, I do not think this day would have come.

There is plenty more that must be done to bring the permanent bureaucracy of the State of Wisconsin and of Milwaukee County into compliance with the constitutional guarantees of liberty. Their bureaucracies are owned lock, stock, and barrel by the fascist Left wingnuts of the so-called “Democratic” Party, who have plenty of allies in the courts; for example, the judges who, to their everlasting infamy, eagerly enabled and avidly assisted this effort to punish as crimes political opinions different than their own.

I have lived in this God-forsaken, Madison-plundered State for 20 years. I have been agog since the day I arrived at the poisonous, arrogant, apparently permanent dominance of fascist left-wing buffoons, and at the giant government BOOTHEELS firmly jammed into the THROATS of its citizens, for far longer than any self-respecting democracy or republic should ever have tolerated.

Does this have any effect on the federal cases that Judge Randa decided? The 7th Circuit, apparently ignorant that the sole purpose of 42 USC sec. 1983 is the vindication of federal rights against corrupt or unlawful state officials, vacated Randa’s rulings because, the 7th Circuit said, the courts of the very state that enabled this witchhunt to proceed unabated, must be the first to decide whether these federal rights should be vindicated. DONE.

Does this put J. Randa back on the case to vindicate federal rights against state officials? Without him, I do not think this day would have come.

There is plenty more that must be done to bring the permanent bureaucracy of the State of Wisconsin and of Milwaukee County into compliance with the constitutional guarantees of liberty. Their bureaucracies are owned lock, stock, and barrel by the fascist Left wingnuts of the so-called “Democratic” Party, who have plenty of allies in the courts; for example, the judges who, to their everlasting infamy, eagerly enabled and avidly assisted this effort to punish as crimes political opinions different than their own.

I have lived in this God-forsaken, Madison-plundered State for 20 years. I have been agog since the day I arrived at the poisonous, arrogant, apparently permanent dominance of fascist left-wing buffoons, and at the giant government BOOTHEELS firmly jammed into the THROATS of its citizens, for far longer than any self-respecting democracy or republic should ever have tolerated.

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