Mar 16, 2023

Disgraced Wisconsin District Attorney Wants NYT v. Sullivan 'Overturned' Following Legal Defeat for Cop

Goya Here Comes the Bogeyman,
plate three from Los Caprichos.
Bogeyman do not like criticism
from citizens.

Crooked Cops Fly Together


Madison, Wisconsin — Disgraced Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz resigned in 2010 following allegations Kratz sexually harassed several women, including a sexual assault claim alleging Kratz "had forcible sex with an emotionally vulnerable woman after previously prosecuting the woman," (Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Kratz (In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Kratz)).

Kratz is also notorious for his crooked prosecutions of less than two years earlier from Kratz' harassment and assault, a time during which Kratz corruptly prosecuted two innocents featured in the Emmy-winning Making a Murderer (Netflix) docuseries. Kratz termed himself a "dick" for the assaults, not for the crooked prosecutions.

The "dick" blamed his narcissistic personality disorder and multiple drug addictions, after being driven from the district attorney's office after the allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault came to light, after which he was driven from the Wisconsin legal profession altogether in 2019.

Steven Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, were convicted of first-degree homicide by Kratz for the 2005 murder of a young photographer, Teresa Halbach. Both men are serving life sentences in spectacular miscarriages of justice, supported by Wisconsin Democrats, the better to look tough on crime.

Now, a retired cop, Andrew Colborn, whom Wisconsin citizens say helped frame Steven Avery just lost a civil suit for defamation against Netflix. The case is Andrew L  Colborn v. Netflix, Inc,, et al,, case No. 19-cv-0484-bhl); and the case was dismissed on summary judgement.

The crooked prosecutor Ken Kratz has raised his head again after being driven from office, the law profession and the state of Wisconsin.

Kratz wants the landmark First Amendment case, New York Times v. Sullivan (1964) overturned.

"Shifting the burden to the defamed person to prove he didn’t plant evidence is, of course, an impossible standard. Courts continue to protect big media against any accountability for outrageous claims made in the name of entertainment. It’s time to overturn the NY Times vs Sullivan’s actual malice hurdle and recognize that real people, and their reputations, are being crushed in the process," the Wisconsin Law Journal quoted Kratz last week.

Kratz' statement follows plaintiff Andrew Colborn request to gut NYT v. Sullivan in a legal filing in 2019, a maneuver widely seen as Hail Mary call.

The core holdings of Sullivan protect rights of people in communities to criticize and hold accountable crooked public office holders Kratz and cops in east-central Wisconsin who routinely view with suspicion those citizens who fervently object to their conduct.

Colborn and Kratz are crazy.

New York Times v. Sullivan

In 1964, the New York Times and civil rights workers prevailed over tyrannical Montgomery police and its odious City officials at the United States Supreme Court, New York Times v. Sullivan .

Justice William Brennan writing for a unanimous court authored a defense of the liberty of the people against government tyrants, a principle that today stands as both an inspiring statement for liberty and a landmark declaration of the power of citizens over public officials.

Writes Brennan:

The First Amendment, said Judge Learned Hand,

presupposes that right conclusions are more likely to be gathered out of a multitude of tongues than through any kind of authoritative selection. To many, this is, and always will be, folly, but we have staked upon it our all. United States v. Associated Press, 52 F.Supp. 362, 372 (D.C.S.D.N.Y. 1943).
Mr. Justice Brandeis, in his concurring opinion in Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 375-376, gave the principle its classic formulation:
Those who won our independence believed . . . that public discussion is a political duty, and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government. ... Believing in the power of reason as applied through public discussion, they eschewed silence coerced by law -- the argument of force in its worst form. Recognizing the occasional tyrannies of governing majorities, they amended the Constitution so that free speech and assembly should be guaranteed.
Thus, we consider this case [New York Times v. Sullivan] against the background of a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials. (New York Times v. Sullivan).

Parable of Racist Police

To understand the power of Sullivan today, consider a recent example of racist Wisconsin police in which the DeForest, Wisconsin Police Chief Daniel Furseth was caught on video surveilling and mocking a group of black teenagers dressed for their high school prom, and stopping by an area restaurant, as was reported by a former police intern on YouTube in June 2018.

DeForest, Wisconsin Police Chief Daniel Furseth is a racist
cop who surveiled and mocked five young black men
in some faux black slang with a demeaning, racist and
derogatory narrative caught on video. Furseth was widely
criticized, resigning under fire before joining like-minded police
at the Town, not the City, of Madison, Wisconsin. Prior to
the holdings in New York Times v Sullivan (1964), public
officials like the Furseth could prevail in libel actions, pleading
libel per se against those such as the police intern who
published the video on YouTube. Wrties the whistle-
blower: "This is what the stupid, ignorant, and imbecilic Village
of  DeForest elects to be their 'Top Cop.' This is the racist
Chief of Police Daniel Furseth, who is much like the rest of
DeForest, poorly educated, socially intolerant, and completely
incompetent when it comes to federal law (you know
the one that trumps state and local law when it’s in conflict
with it). Only a redneck and backassward community like
DeForest would want someone like this as a Chief to keep the
black man out."
Observing the youths and commenting in mocking accent, Furseth said: "Okay, we is out on our dates. We got the bitches, we gonna get them, and we gonna give them food. I got my cane, I’ve gots (sic) my suit. Oh baby … Okay, boys, let’s go in. This is the fanciest restaurant we ever been to and it’s called the Steak ‘N Shake. (Laughter) Unbelievable."

A reader should listen to the 36-second clip on YouTube to get a full accounting of the malice and racism that most small-town Wisconsin cops know to keep under wraps. Furseth and his all-white police force really do not like black people.

In August 2018 came reports of four new counts of misconduct by Furseth, (WISC-TV).

Chased out of office, the racist Daniel Furseth was never heard from again, right? Wrong.

Furseth was quickly hired by the town of Madison, not the City, in October 2018.

An official with the town of Madison police department, not the City, confirmed by phone on August 14, 2019 that Furseth is still employed with the Town police, locally notorious for racism, harassment, bogus citations and misconduct.

Pre-New York Times v Sullivan (1964), or had American jurisprudence taken another direction, the Town, DeForest and Furseth may have enjoyed cause for civil action for my opining that Daniel Furseth and Town and Village officials are racist, ignorant pig-fuckers who should have their teeth kicked out.

The former police intern who blew the whistle on YouTube similarly might not enjoy protections for his commentary about the character of the DeForest, Wisconsin Police Dept in which Furseth rose through the all-white ranks to become chief in 2015.

The judiciary over the last 60 years has risen to become a refuge for civil pleadings from social movements working for those persecuted by the State — often the repository of lurid souls like Daniel Furseth and L.B. Sullivan who, one may believe, should be anomalous is a classical liberal society.

Liberties Prevail

The United States Supreme Court of the 1950s, 60s and 70s in significant areas made it appear individual rights prevailing were a dynamic as inevitable as the triumph of reason over racism and liberation over atavistic taboo.

Landmark legal rulings after rulings were won and each victory seemed a fulfillment of long-denied liberties as the civil rights and peace movement flourished.

Brown v Board of Education (1954), New York Times v Sullivan (1964), Loving v Virgina (1967), Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) and United States v. United States District Court (1972) and dozens more Court holdings promised to buttress citizens against routine incursions of liberty by State actors and law enforcement.

Sullivan under Attack
Many today fear an epic backlash, and the challenges to Sullivan are emblematic.

 There are now at least three cases in three different appellate circuits — Second, Sixth and Seventh — in which rightwing plaintiffs appear intent on revisiting New York Times v. Sullivan.

  • Sixth Circuit - Nicholas Sandmann v. WP Company LLC, d/b/a [doing business as] The Washington Post (2:19-cv-00019). Plaintiff says he will appeal the dismissal decided in jUly 2019.
  • Seventh Circuit - Andrew Colborn v. Netflix, Inc (1:19-cv-00484). Likely to be dismissed in a  Dec 19, 2019 hearing in District court. An appeal is possible.
  • Second Circuit - Sarah Palin v New York Times Co, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 17-3801. Case will be heard on the merits in U.S. District Court.

 Political rightwingers and disgraced cops. Yuck.

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