An intrepid soul has ventured bravely forth in defense of Burnett County Judge Michael Gableman's freshly minted television ad which, as has been already observed, distorts reality in several decidedly reprehensible manners.
The said brave soul, Republican consultant Brian Fraley, helpfully informs us that "Louis Butler WAS, by choice, a public defender for many years and it looks like he did help a few scumbags get off."
Yes, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler was a public defender 20 years ago. Thanks for that blinding glimpse of the obvious, and also for the absurd suggestion that there's something wrong with being one (the right to criminal defense counsel is explicitly guaranteed by the United States Constitution).
So Fraley thinks "it looks like" Louis Butler had some success as an attorney. Let's hope he did! I'm not aware of anyone who attended law school with a view to being a failure.
But does Fraley have any examples? Well, no. Only the so-called example contained in Gableman's ad, a case Butler had relatively little to do with. Butler was not even the defendant's lawyer during the initial proceedings. Butler filed an appeal of the original conviction, which was his job at the time, and won on a question of whether some evidence was legally admissible at trial.
However, Butler's efforts were ultimately for naught, because although the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed the evidence in question was tainted, it found its effect on the jury was not prejudicial, and therefore upheld Reuben Lee Mitchell's conviction. That Mitchell served his initial sentence and then went on to re-offend had absolutely nothing to do with Louis Butler. Nothing.
Maybe Fraley doesn't know it, but there are laws in this country that govern what sort of testimony and evidence may be presented in court. It doesn't matter whether the defendant is an alleged child rapist or a homeless man who stole some loaves of bread from Panera's corporate headquarters. The principles are the same.
So Butler wasn't "working to put Reuben Lee Mitchell on the street," he was working to ensure another of Mitchell's constitutional rights, the one to a fair trial. Fraley and anyone else foolish enough to defend Gableman's teevee ad should take a look at the Bill of Rights sometime. They might be amazed at the number of protections that are extended to criminal defendants, let alone the panoply of more specific guarantees that arise from the Constitution's broad strokes.
And the public defender exists because the government has a lot of resources that the accused often doesn't have. The Framers of the Constitution, in their wisdom, knew this. But it would be unfair to cast Brian Fraley's understanding against that of, for example, James Madison, since few minds compare favorably with the latter's.
Next, quoting from some campaign propaganda received from the lovely and talented Gableman mouthpiece Darrin Schmitz, Fraley reminds us, in yet another glaring obviousness, that the public record is "fair game" and, by golly, even Louis Butler said so himself.
Well of course the public record itself is "fair game." But is it fair game to manipulate, distort, and constructively lie about the public record itself? Wouldn't that be the polar opposite of "fair game"? Why, yes, yes it would.
And that, believe it or not, is the entire substance of professional Republican consultant Brian Fraley's defense of Michael Gableman's disgraceful attack performance. One wonders why he decided to publish it in the first place. Far from being a defense, it's more like an expression of helpless embarrassment. And if that was not the intent, it certainly is the result.
The sole saving grace is that Fraley provided his sparkling analysis for free on the internets. Because in a more professional set of circumstances, Fraley's consulting firm, The Markesan Group, advertises first and foremost "Critical Thinking" services. Apparently you have to pay him for that. I sure as hell hope it's cheap, but not quite as cheap as Gableman's electoral strategy.
One thing is undeniable: Justice Louis Butler, in his constitutionally mandated former role, was a far more effective defender of the accused than is Brian Fraley of Mike Gableman's deliberate rubbish in his own present role as lame-o Republican apologist.
[Please visit the iT Butler/Gableman archive.]