Apr 19, 2012

Scott Walker Misleading Wisconsin on Targets of John Doe Probe

When Kelly Rindfleisch learned she is a target

Update: Don't look for a box score listing the legal disposition for everyone contacted and interviewed by John Doe investigators, but one person interviewed has been publicly cleared by the probe, out of an apparent sense of fairness by the Milwaukee DA's office. (Bice. MJS, April 19, 2012) Good for you, DA Chisholm; the law can afford to be just. [Uppity Wisconsin suggests a deal reached on this matter.]

Wisconsin jurists contacted for this piece are unanimous on the following point: In Wisconsin, no one is ever told he or she is a 'target' of a John Doe investigation until he or she is charged with a crime, at which point being a target is readily apparent. Telling a criminal suspect that he or she is a 'target' would, in the words of one jurist, "defeat the purpose" of a John Doe investigation.

Wisconsin statute 968.26 on John Doe proceedings is the statutory authority for conducting John Doe probes in Wisconsin.

Of great interest to Wisconsin citizens in the John Doe investigation of Scott Walker's and his aides' possible [likely] illegal practices while serving in the Milwaukee County Executive's office, is the following message repeated by Walker and his PR flacks:

'We reiterate again that the governor has been told he is not the target of the investigation,' said Walker campaign spokesperson, Ciara Matthews. (Spicuzza. Wisconsin State Journal, March 10, 2012) That's a variation of Walker's line pushed: I haven't been told I am a target.

The next questions asked of Matthews and Walker should be: Is that what is supposed to happen? You get told you're a target by the district attorney's office and the presiding judge in John Doe probes?


I am not a target
No text of the John Doe statute, no derived rules on John Doe proceedings, no best practices, in point of fact nothing by law, procedure or satisfaction of rights of those [and there is likely many] contacted and interviewed compels or even mildly suggests alerting a suspect that he or she is a 'target.' Scott Walker just made that up, and will keep repeating I-am-not-a-target until he gets asked on camera about this nonsense.

Telling someone he is a target would in the words of one jurist, "defeat the purpose" of a John Doe investigation. [Written here before are the words, Scott Walker Is Not the DA's Number One Helper. "Help," as in Walker wants to help the DA is another misleading PR job Walker is putting out, deceiving the Wisconsin people as he sets up his criminal defense fund.]

The purpose of a John Doe investigation is to determine if and by whom a crime has been committed in a given court's jurisdiction, by statute.

There are a very wide range of causes why a district attorney might request a judge to convene a John Doe proceeding: Conflicts of interest, practical difficulties, and so on.

But if the GOP propaganda machine, like Charlie Sykes, wishes to slur the DA's office, he might with more justice try taking on the presiding judge.

By statute 968.26 (2) (b):

The judge shall convene a proceeding as described under sub. (3) if he or she determines that a proceeding is necessary to determine if a crime has been committed. When determining if a proceeding is necessary, the judge may consider the law enforcement investigative reports, the records and case files of the district attorney, and any other written records that the judge finds relevant.
That judge would be Appeals Judge Neal Nettesheim. So, Media Trackers and the Wisconsin Reporter—get to work, time to slur another Wisconsin jurist.

And Scott Walker, there is one document that actually does alert you that you have become a target: A criminal complaint.

You'll see.

1 comment:

  1. Back when I was a boy, we had journalists who pointed out such facts that exposed the lies uttered by those in power.

    Also, I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time.