March 21, 2008

McBride: 97% blinded by partisanship

Jessica McBride is at it again and this time with 75% more hysteria. McBride makes much of her allegation that Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler, in responding to the often baseless attacks of the Mike Gableman campaign and its surrogates, is counting non-criminal cases in those responses.

"Cases without CR or CRNM are not considered criminal cases by the court," raves McBride, and charges that Butler is "misrepresenting the court's decisions with legal errors."

What McBride doesn't seem to understand is that the criticism of Butler's dispositions in criminal cases began at least as far back as November, when the Mike Gableman campaign circulated a letter signed by three county sheriffs and three district attorneys.

Not long after, Gableman lieutenant Darrin "The GOP Persuader" Schmitz began disseminating the falsehood that Butler "consistently sides with criminals."

Attached to the letter was a list of nine cases in which Butler participated: Jensen, Knapp, (Richard A.) Brown, Sykes, DOC v. Schwarz, Stenklyft, Young, Jerrell, CJ, and Dubose. "Paid for by Gableman for Supreme Court," it says.

Of those nine cases, only six are designated with the -CR suffix, and if McBride really wants to get technical, Stenklyft concerns a statute passed in the wake of Wisconsin's Truth in Sentencing provisions that nevertheless allowed for sentence adjustment, and ENTIRELY revolves on questions of statutory construction and the constitutional separation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, neither of which are criminal matters.

(Stenklyft is another case the Gableman campaign has deliberately misrepresented, and I'll have more on it soon.)

One of the nine cases concerns a Chapter 980 commitment, precisely the type of case McBride demands that Butler not include for his defense, Jerrell, CJ is a juvenile matter, another sort of case that McBride demands Butler not include for his defense, and DOC v. Schwarz addresses an administrative matter where neither of the named parties are even "criminals" (Schwarz is an official in the State Division of Hearings and Appeals).

Rick Esenberg, a professor of law at Marquette University, may once again lamely accuse me of "sniping at the edges," but this is hardly the case. This is fundamental. Because McBride, in her devoted zealotry, is essentially demanding that Butler may not defend himself by making reference to the very decisions that the Gableman campaign is using to attack him. And she's apparently doing it with a straight (albeit red-in-the) face.

I don't need to expand on how utterly nonsensical and hypocritical McBride's position is. I thought journalists valued their credibility.

While we're on the subject of percentages, let's recall, shall we, Gableman's own comical observations:
Gableman said the [sided with criminals] 60% [of the time] figure came from a study by an outside group.

"I don't know if the number is 30%, 60%, 80%, or 90%," [Gableman] said, before adding, "I'm unaware of any study that contradicts those numbers."
And don't forget the 9,000 uncontested traffic tickets that Gableman "presided over" and used in support of his own calculations, a blatant misrepresentation upon which McBride is predictably silent.

How do you get to claim you "presided over" 9,000 uncontested traffic tickets, by the way? Because a copy happened to pass through an office in the building where you work? When Justice Butler was a circuit judge in Milwaukee County, he could often be found enjoying his lunch in the courthouse cafeteria. Is he therefore authorized to assert that he "presided over" a delicious ham sandwich?

That's almost as silly as expressing unawareness of studies contradicting numbers that you have no idea are accurate or not.


William Tyroler said...

Cases without CR(NM) aren't considered criminal? Fine. Then don't throw 974.06 (equivalent of habeas) appeals into the mix: their case numbers don't have a "CR" suffix, because they are technically considered civil appeals. And that means we can take Ralph Armstrong off the table. It's not a criminal appeal -- under McBride Taxonomy -- so Butler's vote in favor of relief cannot by definition represent a vote "siding" with criminals.

illusory tenant said...

Good point. McBride can be (inadvertently) entertaining as hell. She apparently has no clue as to how subtle, or what close calls the questions presented in these cases can be, right down to whether the case number should include this or that suffix.

In the Brown case that's come up lately, even Rick Esenberg seems 100% confident that the disposition absolutely must be scored in the defendant's favor.

The Supreme Court only reversed the lower court's denial of Brown's motion to proceed. He wanted, ultimately, to withdraw his guilty plea. But the (unanimous) Supreme Court didn't allow him to do that, it just ordered another hearing at which the State could present more evidence as to why Brown could not withdraw the plea.

Why Esenberg thinks this a slam dunk for the defendant is beyond me. And he teaches law.