May 31, 2011

No ethics complaint forthcoming for Justice Prosser

In the Isthmus, Bill Lueders noted the other day that former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice Donald Steinmetz filed an ethics complaint with the Office of Lawyer Regulation against Joel Winnig, the Madison attorney who lost to JoAnne Kloppenburg in the February primary.

Steinmetz is upset Winnig referred to Mike Gableman as "a cancer on the body politic" who "continues to pollute the Wisconsin Supreme Court." (This space strongly condemned the remarks as "not helpful.")

It may be recalled that Gableman himself was found in late 2009 by a three-judge panel to have violated two separate provisions of the State code of judicial ethics for his antics in the 2008 Supreme Court election.

Joel Winnig's harsh comments are pure opinion, obviously. On the other hand, what to make of Justice David Prosser's rejoinder:
"I think Joel has been smoking some of the stuff he wants to legalize," Prosser said, referring to Winnig's position on marijuana.
Isn't Justice Prosser accusing Joel Winnig of committing a crime? That's damaging to Winnig's reputation, even if Justice Prosser was kidding.

So where is the OLR ethics complaint against Justice Prosser?

Fair's fair.

7 comments:

John Foust said...

I say we start a pool as to when a SC candidate compares another candidate to Hitler.

Anonymous said...

Apparently it is acceptable for a sitting justice to make stinging remarks toward an ideological opponent, but it is unacceptable for an ideological opponent to lambaste a sitting justice.

illusory tenant said...

Yes. Meanwhile see Steinmetz's remarks re: Louis Butler as reported by Lueders, the same idiotic line of criticism advanced by Gableman and Bopp.

CJ said...

I think "false accution" would be hard to prove. Particularly because Prosser has already called Justice Abrahamson a bitch and got away with it.

On the other hand, he did refer to himself as a turd.....

illusory tenant said...

I'm not serious, by the way. However, there is a serious distinction in defamation law between opinion (Winnig's) and allegations of illegal conduct (Prosser's).

CJ said...

@it- I do understand the distinction between libel/defamation and allegations of illegal conduct. Was just trying to demonstrate that the man speaks wildly and irresponsibly, minus that last comment.

Want to find out if allegations of illegal conduct would be taken seriously? How about a blue mob flash media blast filled with stories of Prosser's private life and proclivity for the ganga. Hey, they don't have to be real, do they?

illusory tenant said...

Count me emphatically out of that.