Aug 13, 2013

Iron County Judge and DA Are Focus of New Citizen Scrutiny

Madden faces accusations he had an affair
with an alleged crime victim while presiding
over the 1997 trial of the defendant,
the former live-up boyfriend of the alleged
crime victim. Madden's legal career is on the line
A supporter of a victim of Madden's said of
Madden, "the little prick's time is up soon,"
referring to Madden's 27-year reign as Judge.
Updated - A reader writes: "(Judge) Madden should have recused from the (Miller) case without a doubt. Note, in the interview transcript (between Judge Madden and Stephen Williams) (Madden) said he would recuse from any further proceedings to do with Don (Miller) but, some 6 months after the interview he then presided over the September 2012 post-conviction hearing. Very naughty. Any further action on Don's case he will not preside, he will be in the witness box answering to several affidavits attesting to the fact he had a relationship with the alleged victim before, during and after trial. After the judicial complaint is lodged after the next course of action he will likely become the 4th judge ever permanently removed from the bench in the entire state (of Wisconsin). That will make 2 out of 4 of them from Iron County."

No branch of government should be above public scrutiny. The case of Don Miller in Iron County Wisconsin is an object lesson on why this principle remains a bulwark in a constitutional democracy.

There's criminal corruption in Iron County, and to paraphrase an Iron County worker: Wake up and smell the roses.

Iron County (Wisconsin) Judge Patrick J. Madden and District Attorney Martin Lipske remain the focus of an escalating investigation by a group of supporters of an innocent man convicted in 1997 on allegations (now recanted, and then last year repeated) by his then live-in girlfriend, who became in embroiled in a multi-year affair with the presiding trial Judge, one Patrick Madden.

Disappearing evidence, no DNA evidence, a sexual liaison between judge and (alleged) victim, a sitting District Attorney taunting a man in prison serving a 42-year sentence: Welcome to Iron County Wisconsin, population 5,900.

The case has been taken on by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School's Innocence Project as law students and lawyers involved with the case have made numerous 270-mile treks by car from Madison, Wisconsin up to the north woods of Wisconsin to find out what the heck is happening up in Iron County.

Supporters of freeing Don Miller say they expect this isolated county to see Innocence Project staff this week. The case is State of Wisconsin v. Donald R. Miller [Case Number: 97 CF 60]. And this case stinks to high heaven.

Specifically, law students and lawyers are looking into why allegations (and I hesitant to specify what they are, but you can follow this link) that have been recanted by the alleged victim have landed Miller in prison to serve a 42-year sentence. Miller has been incarcerated since 1997.

The alleged victim is Connie Vargovich.

Iron County (Wisconsin) Judge Patrick J. Madden presided over the December 4-5, 1997 trial of Miller. The verdict was reached one day later by the jury who didn't take very long to deliberate.

Now, Madden faces new allegations he had an ongoing affair with Vargovich after the trial of Miller (other allegations place the affair before and during the trial).

Sources in Iron County, supporters of Miller, tell me several depositions placing Madden and Vargovich together at local bars and sex clubs include one witness stating under penalty of perjury in a new deposition that Madden and Vargovich once disappeared into a tavern bathroom together for approximately one-half hour.

Madden, say sources in this small community, was not happy, when these and other allegations were revealed on the website, Anatomy of a Wrongful Conviction.

Madden has been a judge in Iron County since 1986, and was appointed by Gov. Tony Earl. Prior to the judicial appointment he served as District Attorney for two northern Wisconsin counties, including Iron County.

DA Lipske who succeeded Madden as District Attorney after Madden was appointed to Iron County judge, was reportedly urged by Madden to run for DA, some three years after Lipske's license was suspended for misconduct in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Lipske is an incredibly capricious and vindictive figure for a sitting jurist, and one who has the highest rate of criminal cases overturned or dismissed on appeal of all of Wisconsin's 72 counties, according to the 2008 study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Department of Journalism.

In the future, sooner than Lipske knows, a wider audience will know why.

Secrets often don't remain secrets for long in small towns.

During the trial of Miller's, Madden was observed in the courthouse hallway, hugging and whispering, and visibly reassuring the alleged victim, Vargovich, whom several say was involved in an affair with the Judge.

"When (Madden) noticed that he was being watched he quickly slipped back into his office," reads several affidavits filed at the Anatomy of a Wrongful Conviction site.

Stay tuned.


  1. Interesting stuff--

  2. Madden was on the board of directors at the hospital that "treated" Vargovich/rape kit.