Wis. commission begins probe of alleged attack

Jessica M. Karmasek Jun. 28, 2011, 10:27am


MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - The Wisconsin Judicial Commission confirmed Monday that it received information about an incident that occurred at the state Supreme Court.

The incident the commission was referring to was a claim by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley that fellow Justice David Prosser physically attacked her in her chambers.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Prosser allegedly attacked Bradley on June 13. That was the day before the state's high court released an opinion upholding Gov. Scott Walker's controversial Budget Repair Bill.

"Three knowledgeable sources" told the Center that Prosser and Bradley were arguing about the ruling in front of the other justices. When Bradley asked Prosser to leave her chambers, Prosser then grabbed her neck with both hands, the sources said.

Bradley, herself, recounted the attack to the Journal Sentinel on Saturday.

"The facts are that I was demanding that he get out of my office and he put his hands around my neck in anger in a chokehold," she told the newspaper.

However, others told the Journal Sentinel that Bradley charged Prosser and that the justice put up his hands to defend himself, coming in contact with Bradley's neck.

But Prosser, who was recently reelected to the Court, says the claims will be "proven false."

Late Saturday, Prosser issued the following statement to the Journal Sentinel:

"Once there's a proper review of the matter and the facts surrounding it are made clear, the anonymous claims made to the media will be proven false. Until then, I will refrain from further public comment," he said.

The commission, in a statement, said it authorized an investigation of the incident at a meeting Friday.

The investigation, it said, will be conducted "without prejudgment in a fair and thorough manner" in accord with commission procedures.

It noted that all judicial commission proceedings are confidential pursuant to state code.

"The Commission will have no further comment," it said of the incident.

According to its website, the commission's task is "to enforce high standards of judicial behavior, both on and off the bench, without compromising judicial independence."

The commission strives "to maintain public confidence in the judiciary by providing a forum for the expeditious and fair disposition of complaints of judicial misconduct and disability."

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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