It was released yesterday by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.*
Although District Attorney Kratz's communication with you was inappropriate, it did not appear to involve possible professional misconduct.First of all that would be communications, plural. One reason that is important is because, despite the press's concentration on certain of the more "racy" — that's a reporter's term — messages, there are two clearly distinguishable types of messages contained among the lot.
One is of the "racy" type. But at least equally as disturbing are the ones demonstrating the prosecutor's impatience with the victim's failure to respond immediately to the prosecutor's sexual overtures. Those of themselves are a compelling showing of harassment, which the Supreme Court rules of professional conduct expressly addresses.
Secondly, this: "[I]t did not appear to involve possible professional misconduct." Now, I understand the certain species of legalese whose author seeks to couch language in studied vagueness and generality and I try to be mindful of the occasions upon which it's warranted.
But this cannot be one of them.
Peeling away at these several layers of attenuation from a substantive misconduct violation reveals that we have (1) behavior that is misconduct; (2) behavior that is possible misconduct; (3) behavior that involves possible misconduct; (4) behavior that appears to involve possible misconduct; and ultimately (5) behavior that does not even appear to involve possible misconduct.
And we are expected to accept that Mr. Kratz's behavior falls within the latter sphere. With respect, that is an indefensible adjudication.
If it isn't, then I would sure like to see the defense. Perhaps we will.
At the risk of sounding glib, may I say that I don't know whether there are specific standards of conduct that govern the activities of the Office of Lawyer Regulation but if there were, this investigator's statement just might appear to possibly involve contravening them.
The professional associations of attorneys are continuously concerned with improving the perception among the public of the members of that profession and this sort of thing really does nothing to help.
eta: Neither does this, but for entirely separate reasons:
The attorney for prosecutor Ken Kratz says two of the four women who accuse him of being sexually suggestive are "driven by financial opportunity."Mr. Kratz is certainly entitled to the most vigorous defense against any and all actions taken against him. In terms of the public perception, however, that one is likely to elicit very little sympathy.
* Pages four and five of five; .pdf.