Posts Tagged ‘Michael Gableman’

Ouch –– Herald messes up on legal jargon

February 15, 2010

My favorite law blogger comments on this Herald headline: “Supreme Court Justice cleared to hear case; conflict of interest claim dismissed.”

Not true. The “claim” in this instance was presented in the form of a written motion requesting that one justice be disqualified from hearing the merits (the substance of the legal arguments) of a criminal appeal, State v. Allen, that the motion is related to.

Motions generally end up being either granted or denied. Here, the result was neither: by effect of the 3-3 split on the court, the motion was not granted, but nor was it denied. Because the motion was not granted, the judge at whom it was directed may presumably participate in deciding the merits of State v. Allen.

Otherwise Amelia Vorpahl’s report is accurate enough,* but the headline is brutal. She needs to file a motion against her editor.

Commission dismisses Gableman’s charges

November 12, 2009


“Therefore, we conclude that the facts alleged in the complaint do not constitute a violation of SCR 60.06(3)(c) for which discipline may be imposed. Accordingly, we recommend that Justice Gableman’s motion for summary judgment be granted and the Commission’s complaint be dismissed.”

The arguments in favor of dismissal were unanimous, although each member issued a strongly worded condemnation of Gableman’s campaign tactics.

The decision was based on the premise that the Judicial Code only “encourages” judges to avoid “misleading statements.” Therefore, because the individual statements in the ad were technically true, Gableman’s misconduct can only be frowned upon, not disciplined.

The best part:

“It is more than a bit ironic that Justice Gableman has been represented in this matter by an able lawyer who, it might be argued, found a loophole.

More discussion on this later.

Michael Gableman: Great politician

November 2, 2009

Frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman became a defense attorney if he is removed from the Supreme Court for judicial misconduct (unfortunately, I believe the latter scenario is very unlikely to materialize). His penchant for innuendo and attacks on credibility are much more appropriate skills for a defense litigator or a politician than a prosecutor or a jurist – at least outside of Wisconsin.

Illusory Tenant gives us a glimpse at a peculiar back and forth between Gableman and Virginia Bartelt, who was representing the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin:

Gableman: Do you know what the Open Society Institute is?

Bartelt: I don’t know, your honor, but the executive director of the league is [telling me] that that is not a member of the Wisconsin association.

Gableman: Okay. So, but the Open Society Institute is one of the donors to the league.

Bartelt: It’s possible. Nationally.

Gableman: And that’s a George Soros-funded entity. Do you know that?

Bartelt: I don’t know that.

Gableman: Okay, so you wouldn’t know, for instance, how much George Soros has contributed to the League of Women Voters in the last, say, five years.

Bartelt: I would not, your honor.

Gableman: Or the last year.

Bartelt: No.

Gableman: Could you find that out.

Bartelt: I imagine that I could.

Gableman: Would you.

It will be interesting to see how the conclusion to that inquiry will be especially relevant in determining changes to judicial codes of conduct, which was the matter at hand.

What do we do with Gableman?

October 20, 2009

The other day I was walking out of Memorial Library when I had the pleasure of recognizing Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman. At least I believe it was him. He was sauntering along with a younger man – perhaps a clerk or a CFACT admirer. I had a strong temptation to shout out “CHILD MOLESTER,” to see how he would respond.

There’s a lot of confusion about what needs to be done with Gableman, a justice who found his spot on the court after running a campaign focused on his “support from law enforcement” as well as his opponent’s career as a public defender. Gableman found Louis Butler’s past defending people accused of crimes simply repulsive.

Since there haven’t been any recent updates on the ethics charges against him, Ed Garvey is suggesting that Gableman recuse himself from all cases involving criminal defendants. That would be a good preliminary step. Garvey suggests another good secondary step: publicly funding Supreme Court races. However, for that to be effective additional regulation of third party campaign ads, such as the ones run by WMC against Butler, would be necessary.

Moreover, the conclusion to any judicial reform in Wisconsin should be the termination of judicial elections, and more importantly, the termination of re-elections. Although the Cap Times is loathe to doubt the wisdom of the Wisconsin volk, it’s time they recognize that there are certain matters that are best not handled by the people.

The political system is dirty, and involves playing to any appeal possible to win votes, however, the judicial system is supposed to counter-act that. If judges owe their careers to elections they cannot be expected to be any fairer than politicians. Yes, politicians can appoint hacks to courts, but if the judge turns out to deviate from his expected ideology, the governor can simply say “I didn’t see that coming.” It doesn’t always work, which is why right wingers are so adament about appointing “conservative justices.” But it would work better than a system in which the judge is no different than the politician, in which he runs a campaign and makes promises, plays constituencies against each other and lies.

Palmer is right. Maybe we are too stupid.

Just plant some crack on Michael Gableman

September 15, 2009

At least then his downfall would be consistent with his judicial philosophy that the law should not get in the way of putting people in prison.

Tomorrow is the moment of truth for Gableman, who will present his case to a state judicial panel, which will determine whether the some of the ads he ran against his opponent in last year’s Supreme Court race were dishonest. In case you forgot, Gableman’s entire campaign was based on the premise that incumbent justice Louis Butler was soft on crime, evidenced by his ability to find “loopholes” to set criminals free…as a public defender.

Gableman’s ad described the case of Reuben Lee Mitchell, a child sex offender who Butler defended on appeal as a public defender.

“Butler found a loophole. Mitchell went on to molest another child,” the ad said.

What it didn’t say was that while Butler prevailed before the appeals court, the Supreme Court ruled that Mitchell had to remain behind bars. He committed the subsequent crime only after he was released on parole.

The state Judicial Commission filed a complaint against Gableman in October, saying Gableman violated a provision of the state’s judicial ethics code that bars judges from lying about political opponents.

But Gableman argues the ad was true because it did not explicitly say that Butler’s actions caused Mitchell’s release. He can’t control how viewers might interpret his ads, his lawyers have argued.

What’s most disturbing about this case is not merely that Gableman lied, but that the complaint against him doesn’t include reference to his obvious disdain for the state’s constitution. His campaign was founded on the idea of disregarding a defendant’s right to legal representation. How can he possibly be fit to serve in a position where he will be expected to uphold that right? According to Gableman’s campaign, Butler’s response should have been,”Actually, on occasion I didn’t defend my clients. Sometimes I made sure to give them poor options, to make sure they were convicted and put in prison.”

On a different note Political Capital wonders if there is any motivation for justices to be non-partisan and impartial anymore. The answer in Wisconsin, I believe, points to the contrary.

Even worse, Minnesotans are now laughing at the Sconz’s legal system.

Supreme Court rules in favor of Catholic school

July 22, 2009

Illusory Tenant is all over Justice Michael Gableman for a ruling yesterday that dismissed the suit brought by a teacher who was fired from a Catholic school and replaced by a younger woman.

Gableman decided yesterday that an Onalaska, Wisconsin school’s firing of a veteran 53-year-old teacher and replacing her with one eighteen years her junior is an employment practice protected as a “free exercise of religion,” and that the dismissed teacher is therefore precluded from pursuing any further her age discrimination claim against the former employer.

Truth be told, Gableman does have a case, although I ultimately believe it is weak. What is especially dubious is his citing of the Establishment Cause in the U.S. Constitution. Religious schools are freer to self-regulate than public schools, however, they are still required to abide by certain state standards and are certified by the state. Gableman cites the ministerial exception, which “is grounded in the idea that the introduction of government standards [in]to the selection of spiritual leaders would significantly, and perniciously, rearrange the relationship between church and state.”

However, this is irrelevant if the religious institution is seeking to abide by state stand

Gableman stayin alive

July 19, 2009

It looks like Michael Gableman can dedicate his time to considerably bigger headaches now.

State regulators have dismissed a complaint against Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman that contended he made campaign calls from a government phone when he was Ashland County district attorney in 2002.

Good. It would be an awful shame if such a corrupt public figure went down over such trifles. Hopefully the complaint filed against him by the Wisconsin Judicial Commission will be more fruitful.

Michael Gableman looking for a loophole…

July 9, 2009

Justice Michael Gableman is now making the case that the ethics complaint against him is a form of harassment. Sound familiar? I think we’ve heard similar stories up in Alaska. Hopefully this story will end the same way. And no, that does not mean Michael Gableman for president.

Illusory Tenant has been on Justice Michael Gableman’s case for awhile, and rightly points out that Gableman’s case before the Wisconsin Judicial Commission has been overlooked by the media.

“According to the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, a teevee advertisement approved by Gableman during his 2008 election campaign “contains a false statement of fact that [Gableman] made intentionally or with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity.”

The Judicial Commission found the ad “does extreme violence to the public’s confidence in the integrity of Wisconsin’s judicial system.”

This is an important test for Wisconsin’s judicial system, and it’s encouraging to see that our hyper-partisan judicial system, in which judges are politicians and not jurists, has some (albeit low) standards for judicial conduct. At issue of course is Gableman’s campaign in 2008, when he effectively labeled his opponent a friend of child molesters by accusing him of “finding loopholes” to set criminals free. Or worse…defending criminals back when he was a…defense attorney. Translation: he believes in the 5th amendment of the constitution. Nice to see somebody else notices the irony of Gableman, now a defendant himself, criticizing somebody for making decisions based on the law as a judge, as well as for following the rule of law when acting as an attorney:

Ironically, Gableman and his well heeled supporters had referred disparagingly to some provisions of the Constitution and other statutory protections as “loopholes” and “technicalities.”

But apparently they come in mighty handy once you find yourself the respondent in a disciplinary proceeding.

I’ve written about this issue way back when for the Herald. Gableman is one of the most embarassing figures in the state of Wisconsin. We all have to keep a closer eye on him.

My biggest hope was that Louis Butler would volunteer to be his defense attorney. Maybe then he could get a chance ignore any potential “loopholes” and let Michael Gableman get the justice he deserves.