Feb 11, 2014

Club for Growth Wants to Kill John Doe Probe in Complaint before Federalist Society Judge

From left to right: Felon Tim Russell, Scott Walker
and Felon Brian Pierick, Four other Walker associates
were convicted in a Wisconsin John Doe probe (2010-13).
Update III: Prediction that the Randa rules against the criminal class of Republicans now holding sway in Wisconsin was confirmed April 8, 2014. (Marley. MJS)

Update II: Today, it was reported that due to Randa's ruling a proposed settlement to rape and molestation victims announced today, "would be by far the smallest sexual abuse settlement in any Catholic Church bankruptcy of this size filed to date." Nice job, Rudolph Randa, you protected sexual predators and screwed their vicitms.

Update: Reader notes Federalist Society Judge Rudolph T. Randa made news by fronting for the Milwaukee child-molesting set in ruling for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in a bankruptcy case in July 2013, insulating $50 million in the process, and failed to disclose his connection to the archdiocese. See also Judge Randa Is Asked by Creditors of Archdiocese to Leave Case (Goodstein. NYT).

When is a law and its implementation by law enforcement unconstitutional?

When it's used to determine if and when crimes have been committed by Republicans, who now-a-days see themselves as above and beyond the reach of Wisconsin statutes, aka the law.

So contends Wisconsin Club for Growth (WCG) and WCG's Eric O'Keefe who evidently do not like Wisconsin's John Doe statute, Wisconsin statute 968.26, and call for its implementation and perhaps its existence to be stuck down as unconstitutional in a complaint filed in federal court this week.

WCG is hoping Senior U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa will agree.

Randa is a judicial rightwinger who as recently as February 21, 2013 was listed as an advisor to the rightest Milwaukee Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Studies.

The Federalist Society advocates a roll back of civil rights, reproductive choice, and civil liberties under the rubric of what they claim is a valid approach of textual originalism to constitutional interpretation. (See Richard Posner for a scathing review of this "gotcha jurisprudence.")

Randa is the judge who sent an innocent Georgia Thompson to prison, a ludicrous affair later overturned in an extraordinary decision in oral arguments before a panel of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Randa is listed along with other activist rightwingers as Federalist Society Members, including the following:  Ken Starr, Theodore Olson, Edwin Meese, Robert Bork, Antonin Scalia, Alex Kozinski, Ann Coulter, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Randy Barnett, Samuel Alito, Troy Eid, Hugo Teufel III, Charles Fried, Richard Allen Epstein, Priscilla Owen, Spencer Abraham, Edith Brown Clement, Rudolph T. Randa, William H. Pryor, Jr., Diane S. Sykes, David M. McIntosh, Maura D. Corrigan, C. Boyden Gray, John Sitilides, David Schizer, Jeff Ballabon, Roger Pilon, Nilda Pedrosa, Charlie Korsmo, Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Stephen Bainbridge, Michael I. Krauss, Holly Coors, Don Wagner, Steven G. Calabresi.

The Wisconsin John Doe statute is a law enforcement tool used to determine the existence of criminality when for example conflicts of interests, stonewalling (as in John Doe One that found multiple felonies and misdemeanors in Scott Walker tenure of Milwaukee County Executive), practical difficulties and concern for the good name of innocent citizens mandate launching a John Doe probe after approval by a judge, administered by district attorneys, their agents and a supervising judge.

But the Wisconsin Club for Growth and other Wisconsin rightwingers object again today.

They continuously blasted the first John Doe probe that netted six criminal convictions of Scott Walker appointees, top staff members, and associates. No retractions from the rightwing exist about their smears of John Doe jurists and no claims of innocence exist on record from any of Walker's allies.

Now, WCG and O'Keefe have filed a complaint in federal court contending First and Fourteenth Amendment violations by John Doe investigators and prosecutors, including the presiding judge.

The complaint offers a bizarre history of Scott Walker's tenure and essentially a political editorial that WCG does not like progressives. The complaint also references the federal Citizens United decision as part of its argument that the probe is unconstitutional.

As noted by Jason Stein and Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the named "defendants in Monday's suit are Reserve Judge Gregory A. Peterson, who is overseeing the investigation; special prosecutor Francis Schmitz; Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm; Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf; Assistant District Attorney David Robles; and investigator Dean Nickel."

Attorney Marcus J. Berghahn offers an instructive research memo on Wisconsin's John Doe statute in which he writes in part:
 Unlike normal criminal proceedings, which can be initiated if there is probable cause to believe a person has violated the law, John Doe proceedings help law enforcement develop the evidence necessary to establish the very existence of probable cause.

If a district attorney requests a judge to convene a proceeding to determine whether a crime has been committed in the court's jurisdiction, the judge shall convene a proceeding," says Wisconsin's John Doe statute. ...

(T)he proceedings are also designed to protect innocent citizens from the fallout of frivolous prosecutions. [See State ex rel. Reimann v. Cir. Ct., 214 Wis. 2d 605, 621, 571 N.W.2d 385, 390 (1997)]

As the Wisconsin Supreme Court stated in 1889: 'When [the John Doe] statute was first enacted the common-law practice was for the magistrate to issue the warrant on a complaint of mere suspicion, and he was protected in doing so. This was found to be a very unsafe practice. Many arrests were made on groundless suspicion, when the accused were innocent of the crime and there was no testimony whatever against them. This statute was made to protect citizens from arrest and imprisonment on frivolous and groundless suspicion." [State ex rel. Long v. Keyes, 75 Wis. 288, 294-95, 44 N.W. 13, 15 (1889).]
The complaint, if not dismissed, will offer a test on whether Randa wants to go out as a jurist committed to the rule of law or a rightwing hack posing as an impartial judge.

My own reading here is that the complaint is a distraction and stalling tactic meant to buy time for Scott Walker's reelection bid in November.

On February 19, many papers and e-mails concerning the criminal conviction of former Walker aide, Kelly Rindfleisch (aka Multiple Kelly), will become public.

Rindfleisch is another Walker aide convicted in the last John Doe probe, but the resulting political embarrassment of criminality in Walker's office will not be decreased by stalling the current John Doe probe, though the mounds of information coming from Scott Walker's former office will offer a nice introduction to the country of who Scott Walker is.

As for the current John Doe, since when do federal judges get to declare law enforcement investigations unconstitutional just because the subject matter involves possible criminality by Republicans?

I would not bet on a favorable ruling on this complaint for the criminal class of Republicans now holding sway in Wisconsin.

Too much of a stink would result, and the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is not exactly staffed by dummies, Diane Sykes notwithstanding.

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