May 17, 2012

Wisconsin: It's about time to fire Franklyn Gimbel

Dear sir, your account is net 60 days in arrears.

Admits veteran Milwaukee attorney Franklyn Gimbel, who the Wisconsin Judicial Commission retained to "assist in the prosecution of [the] formal action" against State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser:
“Even though there's nothing in the statutes that requires [an order from the Supreme Court], apparently there's some past practices where that's happened,” Gimbel said.

This guy filed a formal complaint against Prosser two months ago and he's still stuck on "apparently"? "Apparently," Mr. Gimbel's done little more than look at the Supreme Court's online dockets for a few prior Judicial Commission cases — including two which were filed against Prosser's Republican Party colleagues, Justice Annette Ziegler and Mike "Peppercorn" Gableman; that makes three out of four Republicans* on the court being the respondents in formal disciplinary actions — and was seeing the word "order" at the left hand side of the docket notations.

That isn't law. That isn't even doctrine. And it isn't even past practice, as former Justice Janine Geske points out in the same Shepherd Express article, it's a "referral," a mere acknowledgement. It's like an entry on an accounting ledger. According to Mr. Gimbel, Richard S. Brown, the chief judge of the Court of Appeals who is mandated by State statute to convene the three-judge panel which is to hear the Commission's case, is "waiting for an order from the Supreme Court before proceeding."

I hope he's not holding his breath because there ain't no such thing. The Supreme Court has no authority anywhere to withhold an order that doesn't exist in — nor is even contemplated nor implied by — the law.

The operations of the Wisconsin Judicial Commission's investigations and prosecutions in both ethics and disability cases are at arm's length from the Supreme Court and that arm is a detachable, detached prosthetic.

Seriously, if Gimbel hasn't gotten to the bottom of this after 60 days, it's time for the Commission to hire somebody who will do it. Hell, if David Prosser's Republican buddy Scott Fitzgerald can conjure up fake arrest warrants based on bogus premises derived from frivolous lawsuits, then somebody can compel Judge Brown to obey the clear directive of the State statutes and get on with entertaining the Prosser prosecution.

A prosecution that is separately mandated by State statute — it's one thing to disobey the law, it's another to obstruct its progress on a distinct procedural track: Here now we have both happenstances.

And Ed Fallone is correct, as usual: "[M]y guess is that they do not want to have a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals issue a negative ruling against Prosser." Quite so. And they'll ignore the law to avoid it.

Even the chief judge of the Court of Appeals will ignore it. "Apparently."

What a travesty. Of the law. Courtesy of alleged judicial conservatives.

The latter phony pretense being the grandest farce of them all.
"Your precious belief that we have a government of laws in Wisconsin never fails to amuse."@BrewCityBrawler
Fortunately that's still funny, but admittedly a little less so this morning.

* The fourth Republican is "hypocritical" and makes stuff up.