Friday, March 16, 2012

Who Judges Judges?

Earlier I posted about this afternoon's filing of a complaint with the Wisconsin Supreme Court charging Justice David Prosser with a violation of the Code of Judicial Ethics.  In filing the complaint, the Judicial Commission found that there was probable cause that Justice Prosser had violated the Judicial Code of Ethics, growing out of an altercation he had with Justice Anne Walsh Bradley, back in June, when he allegedly had physical contact with Justice Bradley during the altercation near the door of her chambers.

Here are the specific Judicial Code sections that Justice Prosser is alleged in the complaint to have violated:

SCR 60.02
 An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. A judge should participate in establishing, maintaining and enforcing high standards of conduct and shall personally observe those standards so that the integrity andindependence of the judiciary will be preserved.
SCR 60.04

(d)  A judge shall be patient, dignified and courteous to litigants,
jurors, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the judge deals in an
official capacity and shall require similar conduct of lawyers, staff,
court officials and others subject to the judge's direction and control.

(o) A judge shall cooperate with other judges as members of a
common judicial system to promote the satisfactory administration of
Given that all the previous reports on the incident in June had six of the seven Supreme Court justices present for the altercation, you may be wondering who the fact-finder will be on the complaint.  The prosecution of the complaint against Justice Prosser will proceed to a public hearing that will be conducted by a panel of three judges from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, or by two Court of Appeals judges and one reserve judge (retired judge).   Under Wisconsin Statutes, sec. 757.87(3), The judges on the panel will be picked by Court of Appeals Chief Judge Richard S. Brown who is on the District II Court of Appeals panel in Waukesha.  The panel wil reach agreement on findings of fact, conclusions of law, and if a violation is found, a recommended sanction.  These determinations are then sent the Supreme Court for final disposition.

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