May 12, 2014

Rudolph Randa's Reversals by Appellate Court Draw Attention

John Doe probe halted by Judge Rudolph
Randa is an investigation that grew out
of embezzlement from military veterans'
funds by Scott Walker appointees.
From left to right: Tim Russell, Scott Walker
and Brian Pierick, Four other Walker associates
were convicted in a Wisconsin John Doe probe
Updated - As Wisconsin awaits the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on Judge Rudolph Randa's order to halt the law enforcement investigation known as John Doe II, attention is being focused on Randa's many other rulings reversed on appeal.

Randa's two orders last week to halt the probe of possible collusion by Scott Walker's campaign and out-of-state independent expenditure groups have attorneys mystified, though attorneys are prevented from questioning the ethics of Randa by rules of the State Bar of Wisconsin.

Randa's decision in Eric O’Keefe and Wisconsin Club for Growth, Inc. v Francis Schmitz, et al (Case No.  14-C-139) is contrived to reach a desired result.

Federal Election Commission (FEC) Vice Chair, Ann Ravel says Randa "has cut and pasted a lot of decisions, a lot of language from various decisions, in a way that is actually not applicable. And if it were to be carried out to its full meaning, there would be very few campaign [finance] laws that would continue to be able to be enforced"

Now, Randa's past ruling are drawing attention as a window into the ethics of Randa by journalists.

This weekend's pieces (Bice, Stein and Dietrich, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) includes this passage:
For instance, in 2007, Randa referred repeatedly to a drug dealer's Mexican heritage, saying 'you people' and 'those people,' during sentencing. The judge also discounted the defendant's claim of being a good family man, saying 'even Adolf Hitler was admired by his family. Adolf Hitler loved his dog. Yet he killed 6 million Jews.'
Randa has a reputation as an imperious judge, reminding some of the late U.S. District Judge John Shabazz in this respect whose open contempt for litigants and his own self reverence were infamous.

But Randa takes his self-regard down to the vainglorious, ordering the physical structure of the courtroom architecture altered in a bizarre move transforming the appearance of his bench into something resembling a throne.

Report Bice, Stein and Dietrich: Known for his "authoritarian" manner in court, about a decade ago, "Randa spent $1.85 million in taxpayer dollars to upgrade his courtroom, chambers and library, even adding a 400-pound, hand-carved wooden U.S. District Court seal to the wall and moving the six courtroom chandeliers so they aligned with his bench, not the windows."

But it is Randa's frequent reversals more than his manner that has jurists alarmed.

Randa presided over the infamous prosecution of Georgia Thompson in 2007 by former U.S. Attorney Stephen Biskupic (2001-2008), [Biskupic's wife works as a judicial assistant on Randa's staff and Biskupic now represents Scott Walker's campaign in his law firm begun with his former assistant from the U.S. Attorney's office], that in a spectacular action was reversed by a bipartisan panel on appeal immediately after oral arguments with the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of the Seventh Circuit, Frank Easterbrook, ordering Thompson freed, and ordering her acquittal.

Randa insisted Thompson remain jailed during the appellate process though the conviction was condemned across the nation.

More examples abound, and it would take a large undertaking to examine all the victims under Randa's judgeship.

One case involves Randa refusing to recuse himself in the child molestation scandal-bankruptcy proceedings by creditors of the Milwaukee Archdiocese (Goodstein, NYT) with whom Randa was associated.

Randa reversed the decision of a federal bankruptcy judge in July 2013 after the Milwaukee Archdiocese transferred $57 Million to a cemetery fund to avoid paying the rape and sexual assault victims of Catholic priests.

"In his ruling, Judge Randa decided that forcing the archdiocese to tap its cemetery fund would violate the First Amendment’s free exercise of religion clause and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law passed by Congress in 1993, " reports Goodstein. (emphasis mine)

That decision has not yet been appealed. 

See also ThinkProgress (Millhiser) for more information on Randa.

If anyone had any doubt that George Will is just another propagandist for the GOP, this doubt can properly dispensed with reading Will's take in which he writes, "U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa, revolted by the police-state arrogance of some elected prosecutors, has stopped a partisan abuse of law enforcement that was masquerading as political hygiene."

Will as usual ignores inconvenient facts, including the fact that two district attorneys are Republicans, the special investigator is Republican, and the vote by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board to investigate was unanimous.

"Former judges on the state Government Accountability Board voted unanimously last year to authorize the investigation of fundraising and spending by Gov. Scott Walker's campaign and his allies during the recent recall elections, according to a Tuesday court filing," report Patrick Marley and Daniel Bice (April 15, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).

Moreover, John Doe probes in Wisconsin are overseen by a judge and the John Doe probe is an investigation; John Doe probes do not mete out the trial and conviction and sentence as Will would have readers believe in his deceitful prose.

Doesn't George Will research his columns?

No comments:

Post a Comment