Update IV: From Greg Neumann (WKOW, Madison): "@Burke4WI says she does not think Judge Randa should have the final say on the John Doe investigation into GOP recall campaigns and groups." Better than nothing.
Update III: Mary Burke, Scott Walker's presumptive Democratic Party opponent, has nothing to say about this naked display of corruption in the judiciary. Nothing.
Update II: Here's Brendan Fischer's take from PRWatch: "Judge Randa's May 6 decision halting the investigation is extraordinary. It involves a federal court injecting its own interpretation of state law into a high-profile criminal probe of political operatives of the party that appointed him to the bench, while state court proceedings are ongoing. It deploys a strained reading of U.S. Supreme Court precedent and the facts of the case, portraying the investigation -- led by a bipartisan group of District Attorneys and a Special Prosecutor who voted for Walker, and approved unanimously by the bipartisan group of retired judges on Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board -- as politically-motivated retaliation against Republicans. ....
Update: Naked corruption by Judge Rudolph Randa (United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin)
Randa just dove into the depths of corruption, and certified the law enforcement attorneys' arguments "frivolous," a necessary step for his halting the John Doe probe into Scott Walker's possible campaign and illegal coordination, among other fact-finding done by the criminal probe.
For a finding of frivolousness, a judge must certify arguments to be utterly meritless, and most likely made in bad faith.
Here's a lay definition of frivolous: A legal move in a lawsuit clearly intended merely to harass, delay or embarrass the opposition. Frivolous acts can include ... an appeal which contains not a single arguable basis (by any stretch of the imagination) for the appeal. (Law.com)
I would be surprised if Randa's decision lasts a day. In any event the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Judicial Misconduct Compliant Form is here.
Randa's decision will almost certainly be appealed, and overturned
Judge Rudolph Randa's "decision and order," mandating the destruction of evidence gathered in the Wisconsin criminal investigation known as John Doe II reads like a political op-ed column from the Wall Street Journal, in service to the Republican party of Wisconsin, as much as a precisely crafted judicial opinion.
Randa's bizarre order (PDF link from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) was stayed within hours by a three-judge panel for the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (May 7 order).
The appellate panel's language is measured of course, but reading between the lines, it is the legal equivalent of excoriation, and a complete reversal of Randa's decision.
On Monday, May 5, the Wisconsin district attorneys and other John Doe authorities filed an Emergency Motion for Stay Pending Appeal and Memorandum in Support of Motion.
Randa ignored the filing, and rushed out his decision and order the next day, May 6.
Wisconsin jurists cannot state on the record that Randa's actions are corrupt, reckless, and in disregard to settled legal procedure, but what Randa did was precisely for a corrupt purpose in support of the GOP and in opposition to the rule of law.
Chief Judge Diane P. Wood, William J. Bauer, and Frank H. Easterbrook write in their May 7 order:
Apostol v. Gallion, 870 F.2d 1335 (7th cir. 1989), once a litigant files a notice of appeal, a district court (like Randa's) may not take further action in the suit unless it certifies that the appeal is frivolous. The district court failed to follow that rule when, despite the notice of appeal by several defendants, it entered a preliminary injunction. This court accordingly stays the injunction, and all further proceedings in the court, until [Judge Randa] has ruled definitively on the question posed by Apostol. (emphasis added)Why didn't Randa know this?
And why did Randa rush out his decision and order, a maneuver that lasted mere hours before being reversed in the appellate panel's order?
Randa's decision is replete with editorializing, minimizing the crimes of Scott Walker appointees and aides who embezzled from military veterans funds and committed misconduct in public office as "minor offenses."
Randa even refers to Walker's Act 10 Bill as "reforms," ["...Wisconsin Club for Growth (WCFG) argued that the reforms of the Budget Repair Bill were fair ..."] (p. 3) and presents as fact that "left-leaning organizations" (p. 3) are in political opposition.
Randa goes on and on, attributing the political motives of Eric O'Keefe (of the Wisconsin Club for Growth) and R. J. Johnson (a respected Wisconsin GOP politico) as benign and in the public interest.
Writes Randa: "The initial focus of the first (John Doe) proceeding was the embezzlement of $11,242.24 that Milwaukee County had collected for the local Order of the Purple Heart while Walker was serving as Milwaukee County Executive. From there, the first John Doe developed into a long-running investigation of all things Walker-related." (p. 4)
"All things Walker-related?" Does this really strike anyone as anything but editorializing, and biased against and hostile to the John Doe investigation?
Randa's background of the case including his editorializing is not addressed on the appellate panel's order; it is not blasted by Wisconsin jurists (who ethically cannot criticize the ethics of a fellow jurist), so if falls to lay citizens and journalists to tease out what happened.
In none of the reporting from Wisconsin media outlets have we seen the facts of Randa's inappropriate and inaccurate editorializing reported on and condemned.
What happened this week is that a corrupt federal judge, a former member of the rightwing Federalist Society, fronted and shilled for the Republicans and other right wingers, and only the integrity of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit saved the rule of law in Wisconsin.
Nowhere does Randa even cite the Wisconsin John Doe statute that serves the Wisconsin people as a law enforcement tool.
One can read a scholarly and unbiased judicial opinion and find the arguments of both sides of the litigants' presented, analyzed, and refuted or sustained. Not so Randa's.
Randa's opinion makes a laughingstock of his tenure on the bench, already tarnished by the ludicrous Georgia Thompson prosecution and his unethical ruling on the Milwaukee Archdiocese bankruptcy proceedings settling the mass child rape and molestation cases.
In this case, Walker's attorney, Steven Biskupic, is married to Cary Biskupic who is a Judicial Assistant for Randa. No appearance of impartiality there, in Randa's view who should have recused himself from this case.
One thing Randa did get right is this: "According to the prosecutors, R.J. Johnson controlled WCFG and used it as a 'hub' to coordinate fundraising and issue advocacy involving FOSW (Friends of Scott Walker) and other 501(c)(4) organizations such as Citizens for a Strong America, Wisconsin Right to Life, and United Sportsmen of Wisconsin." (p. 8)
There is certainly reasonable suspicion for a John Doe probe, as the five Republican and Democratic district attorneys agree.
Randa did a service in demonstrating that Wisconsin Republicans (including Randa) today feel they are above the law.
Walker hopes that the criminal investigation will "move on," but not for Walker's benefit Walker says, but for the people of the state.
Right. I wonder if Scott Walker has any comment about Randa's characterization of stealing from veterans as a "minor offense" since Walker appointed the embezzlers who had no veterans' advocacy experience and no non-profit experience.
Walker also says the John Doe investigations are distractions. Yes, criminal investigations usually are distractions from those who have engaged in criminal activities.
It is incumbent on those Wisconsin citizens in the legal profession to borrow the courage of appellate attorney and author, Sidney Powell—who blows the whistle on massive corruption in the U.S. DoJ and federal judiciary in her new book, Licensed to Lie ...—and call for impartiality in the judiciary and the rule of law in Wisconsin.