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Report: Wis. justices to focus on camaraderie

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Sep 29, 2011


MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - The Wisconsin Supreme Court, mired in drama in recent months, agreed Wednesday to work better together.

According to The Associated Press, the state's high court adopted this statement:

"We duly affirm our commitment to collegiality and collaboration in the manner we work together the bulk of the time."

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson told the AP she hopes the pledge will help regain the public's trust.

Earlier this month, the Court voted 6-1 against a proposal that called for making more of its deliberations public.

The Court's conservative majority believed doing so would be a mistake.

Abrahamson had submitted the proposal for open deliberations in response to a recent physical altercation between two justices.

"We should be, above all, a place where disputes are resolved -- openly, civilly, professionally -- not where they are created," she wrote.

Last month, a special prosecutor said she would not bring charges against Justice David Prosser, who was alleged to have physically attacked Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in her chambers in June.

According to the 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.

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.

The special prosecutor said Bradley also will not face criminal charges. However, the state Judicial Commission is doing its own investigation into the matter.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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