March 20, 2008

Amen, brother.

This letter appeared in the Watertown Daily Times yesterday:

I am rescinding my endorsement of Judge Michael Gableman for Wisconsin Supreme Court. I endorsed him because he had been a district attorney and I believed he would bring an understanding of law enforcement to the Supreme Court. However, a recent television ad released by him makes me believe that Michael Gableman is unfit for the Supreme Court.

Gableman's ad states that Louis Butler "worked to put criminals on the street," and then brings up a case involving Reuben Lee Mitchell and states, "Butler found a loophole and then Mitchell went on to molest another child."

First, this ad doesn't tell you that Justice Butler's involvement with the Reuben Lee Mitchell case was when Butler worked as an appellate attorney for the state public defender and not as a judge or justice. Butler was fulfilling his ethical duty as Mitchell's appellate defense attorney. He had nothing to do with this case as a judge or justice.

Second, Gableman's ad is inaccurate. Mitchell served his entire prison sentence. Butler's legal argument was deemed correct by the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. However, Mitchell was not given a new trial. Mitchell's later conviction had nothing to do with Butler.

Third, in the United States of America, defendants have the constitutional right to an effective defense attorney under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution — one of our most fundamental constitutional rights. The accuracy of our criminal justice system to separate the guilty from the falsely accused is greatly reduced without competent defense counsel. Gableman's ad mocks this fundamental constitutional right which protects us all.

As a prosecutor, I firmly believe in convicting and properly punishing criminals, but I also understand that I have a duty to be certain that a defendant is actually guilty. A competent criminal defense attorney helps me be accurate.

I am troubled that a candidate for our highest court would belittle our constitutional right to counsel which enhances the accuracy of the criminal justice system. I am equally troubled by Gableman's cavalier disregard for accuracy in his representations to the public through this ad. The integrity of the criminal justice system should not be allowed to be tarnished by one man's ambitious desire for higher office. Judge Gableman will not be receiving my vote for Supreme Court justice in April.

Steven G. Bauer
District Attorney
Dodge County

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is refreshing to see a public official stand up for decency so publicly. As happy as I am to see this, I am troubled that more have not stepped forward.

Are we really going to let another ethically challenged justice onto the supreme court? As bad as Zeigler was/is, she broke ethical rules. Gabelman broke the law. If he wins, we will be staring down the inevitability of a DA charging him with felony violations of using state resources to raise campaign money.