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“Justice Denied”: David Prosser ‘Chokehold’ Case Produces No Charges In Wisconsin

There will be no criminal charges against the Wisconsin Supreme Court justice accused of choking a colleague in chambers, the special prosecutor investigating the case told The Associated Press Thursday.

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley had alleged that Justice David Prosser put her in a “chokehold” during an argument in chambers in June over the passage of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget bill. Prosser’s defenders said Bradley rushed at him with her fists raised and he put up his hands in self-defense.

With all but one of the state high court justices present for the altercation, and offering widely different stories of what happened, Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett, who was given the case by local prosecutors and law enforcement who recused themselves, decided not to pursue charges, she told the AP.

“The totality of the facts and the circumstances and all of the evidence that I reviewed did not support my filing criminal charges,” Barrett said.

Barrett did not disclose how she came to that decision, but said witnesses had different versions of what happened. She didn’t elaborate.

Prosser, a conservative justice on the officially nonpartisan court, did not seek reconciliation with Bradley in a statement he issued after Barrett’s announcement.

“Justice Ann Walsh Bradley made the decision to sensationalize an incident that occurred at the Supreme Court,” Prosser said. “I was confident the truth would come out and it did. I am gratified that the prosecutor found these scurrilous charges were without merit. I have always maintained that once the facts of this incident were examined, I would be cleared. I look forward to the details becoming public record.”

Bradley, a liberal justice, released a statement defending her decision to make the skirmish public.

“My focus from the outset has not been one of criminal prosecution, but rather addressing workplace safety,” she said. “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. 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.”

Prosser was reelected to a 10-year term in a contentious election in April. Bradley’s term is up in 2015.

By: Reid J. Epstein, Politico, August 25, 2011

August 26, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Democracy, Democrats, Elections, GOP, Gov Scott Walker, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, States, Teaparty, Unions, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Key Question For Wisconsin Democrats: To Run “Fake” Candidates, Or Not?

Wisconsin Democrats now face a key decision in the state Senate recalls: AfterRepublicans have declared a strategy to plant fake candidates in the Democratic primaries — in order to delay the general elections from July to August, and make trouble in the Dem primaries while the GOP incumbents run unopposed — will they respond in kind and plant fake candidates on the Republican side?

Earlier on Friday, the labor-backed progressive group We Are Wisconsin called upon Dems to run some fake Republican candidates, arguing that this was necessary in order to stop the Republicans from sabotaging the Dem primaries. From their statement:

Another potential scenario created by the Republican chicanery in the primary that could severely disadvantage Democratic candidates is that Republican incumbents who do not face primary challengers advance automatically to the general election ballot. This creates a scenario where “legitimate” Democratic challengers are exposed to unlimited spending by outside groups and pro-Republican forces, which could cause the “legitimate” Democrats in the race to lose the sham primary. There would be no check on millions of dollars in shady outside money coming in to relentlessly attack “legitimate” Democrats, and full-scale mobilization of Republican resources to turn out their voters in the Democratic primary and to advocate a message such as “if you support Randy Hopper, vote for fake candidate X.”

Running fake Republicans, the argument goes, would force GOP voters to stick to their own primary and prevent a spoiler from winning on that side, thus defusing any such potential ploy.

TPM sought comment from the state Dems and was told a statement was forthcoming. So at time of writing, the gears appear to still be turning on this question at the Dem headquarters.

The filing deadline for those recalls is this Tuesday, July 13, at 5 p.m. CT. In order to qualify for the ballot, candidates must at that time also file at least 400 signatures collected from the district, with 800 signatures as the maximum allowed in order to have a buffer against disqualifications.

The key here is that recalls are now tentatively scheduled for July 12, under the state election officials’ proposed timelines, targeting six Republicans. If there were only one Democrat against each one Republican, then the July 12 date would be the general election. But if there were additional Democrats, the July 12 date would then become the primary, giving the incumbents more time to campaign for a general election in August.

Also, thanks to Wisconsin’s open primary system in which anybody can vote in a party primary, it would force the Democrats to spend time, money and resources campaigning for their own nominations.

 

By: Eric Kleefeld, Talking Points Memo, June 10, 2011

June 11, 2011 Posted by | Collective Bargaining, Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, GOP, Gov Scott Walker, Government, Ideologues, Ideology, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States, Union Busting, Unions, Voters, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , | 2 Comments

Wisconsin Republicans On The Ropes

Christian Schneider, a fellow at a right-wing Wisconsin think-tank, has been writing regular dispatches for National Review, in which he channels the view of the state GOP. This latest one makes Wisconsin Republicans facing a recall sound pretty desperate:

If both Hopper and Kapanke lose, that leaves only one more seat Democrats have to pick up to retake the Senate. In order to delay recall elections, the GOP has planned to run fake Democratic primary candidates against the GOP challengers, which would push the elections back another month. That would give Republicans an extra month’s worth of distance from the collective-bargaining imbroglio that got them in this situation, and would allow more time to campaign.

Yet this will almost certainly be seen as a “dirty trick” by media and some voters. It certainly appears like an admission that Republicans are struggling. And while it can be argued that the recall elections in themselves are merely dirty tricks, enough of a double standard exists that this ploy could backfire.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says the same thing. Fake candidates are needed in order to give them “another month.” And it’s justified because a recall is also unfair — (“I think the cynicism comes from the recalls. Recalling senators for taking a tough vote is just wrong.”)

It’s a great glimpse into the process of rationalization. Fake candidates might be a dirty trick, but so is… petitioning to recall elected officials under Wisconsin law for enacting changes they didn’t campaign on that offend their constituents!

The more interesting thing to emerge here is that Republicans just want to drag things out as long as possible because they understand that right now they’re losing. You don’t try to buy time if you think you’re winning. It’s like Homer Simpson’s strategy to get through a test he knows he can’t pass — “I’ve been working on a plan.  During the exam, I’ll hide under some coats, and hope that somehow everything will work out.” If you don’t have any particular reason to think more time will help other than “something could happen,” then delay is a mark of real desperation.

What happens if Democrats win a net of three recall campaigns? Obviously it will be a shot against the bow of the most aggressively partisan Republican governors across the country. And note also that Wisconsin Republicans were planning to protect Paul Ryan from electoral challenge by making his district more Republican. But if they lose the state Senate, they’ll need to agree on a bipartisan redistricting plan, and they may not be able to pull it off.

 

By: Jonathan Chait, The New Republic, June 8, 2011

 

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June 8, 2011 Posted by | Collective Bargaining, Conservatives, Democracy, GOP, Gov Scott Walker, Government, Governors, Ideologues, Ideology, Media, Politics, Public Employees, Rep Paul Ryan, Republicans, Right Wing, Union Busting, Unions, Voters, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Not Resting On Their Laurels, Wisconsinites Establish Walkerville

Walkerville, Wisconsin

 

After the huge wave of protests throughout February and March, the focus of activists in Wisconsin moved to the impending recall elections this summer. The winter actions erupted as a result of an anti-union bill which threatened to remove essentially all collective bargaining rights for public employees as well as hamstring unions by requiring the almost impossible tasks of annual recertification and individual opt-in dues collecting. In response, besides assembling in numbers reaching nearly one-hundred thousand, Wisconsin citizens amassed signatures on petitions to facilitate the recall of numerous state senators who had voted for Governor Walker’s duplicitous legislation.

In the past two months, though a presence of protesters has remained – with their t-shirts, buttons, signs, banners, vuvzelas – around the vicinity of the capitol building, it appeared the united front of thousands had waned. Groups still came to meet for solidarity sing-a-longs and to attend governmental committee hearings on the many new regressive, pro-corporate, anti-human bills being forwarded by the Wisconsin legislature. But with the recall elections on the horizon and with the recent small victory of the Dane County circuit court dismissing the anti-collecting bargaining law (as it had been passed so hastily as to not adhere to common legislative requirements), it appeared that Wisconsinites might be done with the fight, resting on their own laurels and those of the Democrats they hoped to elect via the recall.

Of course, the corporate media, who operate under the same anti-human system that fosters plutocracy and redistribution of wealth from the many to the few, would like nothing better than to make it appear that all is “back to normal” in the cheese state. So, perhaps few people outside of Wisconsin and even outside of Madison realize that we were serious when we said that this was not a protest but a movement. There is much yet to be accomplished.

As of 7pm on Saturday, June 4th, a diverse group of citizens, representing unionists, non-union workers, students, teachers, immigrants, farmers, families and people with no formal affiliation (save for being a part of the empathetic class who truly seeks liberty and justice for all) laid down their tents and founded “Walkerville” around the perimeter of the Wisconsin capitol building. With a nod to the Hooverville tent cities of the Great Depression, these activists are demonstrating that we are not only opposed to the aforementioned anti-union bill, but that we are opposed to the entire regressive budget of this state, which wholly removes the rights and social safeties for the most vulnerable members of our society and shifts all of the state’s bounty to the wealthiest and most anti-social corporate oligarchs. The police state enacted by the Walker administration has severely hampered the lawful and peaceful assembly of citizens in our own statehouse, so Walkerville exists to re-establish the constant presence and occupation by the people of the state, whose voice is being muted within the capitol.

Most importantly, Walkerville demonstrates that we in Wisconsin are not going to let up. Just as we are being attacked on all fronts as citizens, we will be fighting back on all fronts. Though the Democrats in our state legislature have stepped up to the plate and helped to support the will of the people, it is unlikely that they would have done so had their feet not been held to the fire. If we had not gathered in the capitol clearly proclaiming our will, our presence, and our solidarity, it is not clear the state Democrats would have had the impetus to help us fight. Thus we know that simply electing new officials will never be enough to ensure justice for the people from the government.

States like New York and California serve as prime examples of how the Democratic agenda is just as corporate as the Republican. Governor Andrew Cuomo, the son of a man once considered one of the strongest liberals in NY State history, is promoting many of the same brutal and unnecessary cuts to education and poverty programs. The underserved of California are faring no better under Jerry Brown. If we citizens fail to realize that we must pressure ALL politicians of all politician affiliations, and we must be prepared to fight indefinitely against the bipartisan corporate takeover of our local, state, and federal our government, we are sure to lose.

Walkerville signifies the fortitude of the Wisconsin people, and the recognition that our struggles as citizens are not soon to end. Our actions may take new forms or may morph as they are reassessed for utility, but they are far from over.

For those of us in Wisconsin who cannot camp out day and night around the capitol but still want to volunteer with the movement, there are numerous opportunities to be present for more protests and actions against the state budget, which will be negatively affecting all of us. (See Defend Wisconsin for full details.) For those in other states who will likely see similar developments, please know that we are still fighting, as you will surely have to fight too. The more we acknowledge that this struggle against the ruling class will be ongoing, that it affects us all, and that we may not ever be able to “return to normal,” the more likely we may have a fighting chance for our future.

June 6, 2011 Posted by | Collective Bargaining, Conservatives, Corporations, Democracy, GOP, Gov Scott Walker, Government, Ideologues, Ideology, Middle Class, Politics, Public Employees, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States, Union Busting, Unions, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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