March 30, 2009

Precision is for other people: Koschnick

At last Friday's final State Supreme Court forum in Madison, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Randy Koschnick said the job for which he claims superior qualifications "requires precision."

Koschnick, who considers it "a badge of honor" that a substantial percentage of his professional peers view him as unqualified for the State's highest court, was referring to legal language and the need to be accurate when characterizing decisions of the courts.

It's a standard he apparently doesn't apply to himself.

Some may recall the case of Richard A. Brown, a convicted sex offender who figured in the political campaign of the currently embattled judge Michael Gableman. In November 2007, Gableman claimed that Brown had been released into Milwaukee County.

Yet Richard A. Brown remains in custody to this day (in Juneau County) and will remain in custody for the foreseeable future.

At Koschnick's political campaign website, there exists a document called "Selected Cases of Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson," which also purports to describe the 2005 Brown decision.

According to Koschnick, the "result" in State v. Richard A. Brown was: "Sex predator ordered released from custody." Far from being a precise statement of the decision, this one is wildly inaccurate.

In fact the Supreme Court's order was to the circuit court to "notify the Department of Health and Family Services that it should submit to the circuit court ... a plan for Brown's supervised release."

That's it, that's all.

Three things: 1) The Supreme Court may not order the release of this sex offender even if it wanted to. 2) The circuit court may not order the supervised release of a sex offender unless it authorizes the DHFS plan according to a series of criteria. 3) If granted, supervised release — by statutory definition — is itself "custody and control."

Perhaps Judge Koschnick was confusing supervised release with discharge, which is dealt with in a separate section of the statute, one that wasn't addressed by the Supreme Court in State v. Brown.

That statute, Chapter 980, is the same one Koschnick berates the Chief Justice over, as she determined that it was unconstitutional.

Has he even read it? Or has he read State v. Brown? "Precision" would appear to require both, especially prior to leveling imprecise charges.

Abrahamson is "out of the mainstream," Koschnick says, because of her opinion on the constitutionality of Chapter 980. In support of this allegation, Koschnick cites the observation of former Justice William Bablitch, who also determined Chapter 980 to be unconstitutional.

So much for "precision."

Are there any reporters in this State having the wherewithall to take a closer look at and expose Judge Randy Koschnick's spurious claims?

Because there are enough fluffers.


Anonymous said...

Judge Koschnick posted over 70 cases on his web site and the best you can do is play semantics with one case? The bottom line about the Brown case is that Abrahamson cast the deciding vote to overturn the circuit court's finding that Brown was more likely than not to reoffend even if he was supervised in the community and therefore should remain in secure custody.

What about the three justices who indicated in their dissenting opinion that the "basis for the majority opinion is not found in the law. Rather, the majority opinion simply reflects its view that it is time for Brown to get out." Was this assessment "wildly inaccurate" too?

The case analysis on Koschnick website accurately depicts Abrahmson's record as repeatedly siding with criminal defendants as evidenced by her deciding votes to throw out convictions for murder, robbery and sexual assault, as well as her dissenting votes in cases where these types of convictions were upheld. Because Koschnick does not have the money to run ads to educate the public about Abrahamson's record and Abrahamson has fat campaign chest and some sell outs in the law enforcement willing to appear in her ads, many voters will no doubt buy into her laughable claim that she is "protecting Wisconsin families." Fortunately with Butler gone, Abrahamson's ability to put police officers and the public in harm's way will be severely limited, even if she wins.

illusory tenant said...

If you think portraying this result as "Sex predator ordered released from custody" is merely playing semantics, then I'm sorry, but I can't help you.

And the bulk of the notations on this list of cases is purely descriptive ("Defendant's perjury conviction upheld"), which is not particularly interesting.

Has Koschnick ever criticized the reasoning in any of these cases? Has he explained why they give him such grief or why they're incorrect? No. All he seems to care about is the disposition.

Anyway, don't fret too much, I'll have some more on some of the other cases on this representative sample (2%) of the Chief Justice's jurisprudence.

Stay tuned.