Petition aims to oust Wis. SC justice after alleged attack

Jessica M. Karmasek Jul. 8, 2011, 11:49am


MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - A Wisconsin non-profit, non-partisan advocacy group is calling for state Supreme Court David Prosser to resign.

On Tuesday, One Wisconsin Now delivered to the Court the names of more than 10,000 people calling for Prosser's removal after accusations that he choked a fellow justice.

Last month, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley claimed that 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.

"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.

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

"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 in a statement.

The Wisconsin Judicial Commission confirmed late last month that it received information about the incident and has authorized an investigation.

The investigation, it said in a statement, 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.

But One Wisconsin Now says an investigation isn't enough.

"There is no excuse for David Prosser's conduct and the people of Wisconsin are demanding he resign. Even Prosser's ally Scott Walker has acknowledged how serious this incident is," Scot Ross, the group's executive director, said in a statement.

"There is one reason the eyes of the nation are focused on our state's high court and it is because of David Prosser's unconscionable conduct towards Justice Bradley."

The group said in a statement that Prosser's temper and abusive conduct have been "well documented."

It alleges that he once charged a colleague on the floor of the state Assembly with his fists in the air. The group says the incident was documented in a video by the group and released in March.

The group also alleges Prosser called a colleague on the Court a "bitch" and threatened to "destroy her."

According to its website, One Wisconsin Now is a "statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values."

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

More News