Supreme Court gives future colleague brief reprieve from charges

Legal News Line May 2, 2007, 10:00am

Judge Annette Ziegler

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Supreme Court has put the state's Ethics Board on the clock over its allegations against Supreme Court Justice-elect Annette Ziegler. The Supreme Court Monday gave the Ethics Board until next Monday, May 7, to respond the Ziegler's counter-charge that the Board does not have jurisdiction to discipline her over recent ethics complaints. Ziegler charged last Thursday in a filing with the Supreme Court that only the state's judiciary can punish cases of judicial misconduct, LegalNewsLine reported. Then she asked her future colleagues on the Supreme Court to temporarily bar further Ethics Board action on her case until after they have heard both sides. The Ethics Board had scheduled a hearing on Ziegler's punishment for May 17. Wisconsin's Judicial Commission, which falls under the Supreme Court's authority, decided April 20 to begin its own investigation of Ziegler's alleged ethics breaches. The Commission will probe 17 allegations filed recently by the Wisconsin Democracy Project. The Ethics Board wants Ziegler, a conservative who easily won election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court April 3, found guilty of five ethics charges. They relate to cases Ziegler heard involving a bank on whose board her husband sits. The justices declined to halt further Ethics Board action against Ziegler but instead applied a deadline for it to respond to her complaint. Justice David Prosser did not participate in the ruling. The Ethics Board charges are punishable by fines of $5,000 per violation.

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