March 4, 2011

Scotts Walker & Fitz: By any farce necessary

Counselor Plaisted wonders who, exactly, are the scofflaws:
Each house may punish as a contempt, by imprisonment, a breach of ... the privileges of its members; but only for one or more of the following offenses:

(a) Arresting a member or officer of the house, or procuring such member or officer to be arrested in violation of the member's privilege from arrest.
In other words, the Wisconsin Republican Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald and his GOP allies are making themselves liable to imprisonment by having another member of the legislature arrested.

Indeed, an argument might be forwarded that they were liable to imprisonment shortly after 4 p.m. yesterday, on issuing their 14 ersatz "arrest warrants."* In at least one legal sense a "procurer" may be guilty even if the act being procured is never completed.

Attempt is sufficient. See, e.g., this local miscreant.

Admittedly, that context is probably distinguishable from the present one, but given the farcical nature of the Republicans' and their attorneys' own antics, it's not so easily ruled from consideration.

* A sample, via the Wheeler Report, containing the ludicrous charge of "disorderly behavior," which the same above-indented statute suggests is "conduct in the immediate view of either house or of any committee thereof and directly tending to interrupt its proceedings."

Unfortunately the "warrant" does not contain an affidavit from Sen. Fitzgerald affirming that "I can see Rockford, IL from my house."

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