Court: No halt for now to secret John Doe investigation

2013-11-23T06:30:00Z Court: No halt for now to secret John Doe investigationDEE J. HALL | Wisconsin State Journal | | 608-252-6132

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals Friday turned down a request by three unnamed petitioners to halt the secret investigation into recall-related activities by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and more than two dozen political groups.

In an order released late Friday afternoon, the 4th District Court of Appeals ordered that the “motion to stay all further proceedings in the underlying John Doe investigations is denied at this time.”

“Proceedings may continue in any or all of these matters unless and until this court orders otherwise,” the three-judge panel ordered.

The court also agreed to consolidate all five petitions for supervisory writ challenging the investigation, which began in Milwaukee County and has spread to four other counties: Dane, Iowa, Dodge and Columbia.

And it denied, for now, a request to send the matter to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The order provided the first public confirmation that the petitioners are challenging the authority of both Reserve Judge Gregory Peterson and John Doe prosecutor Francis Schmitz, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice, to conduct the secret probe.

According to the order, the petitioners are challenging:

• The legal authority to appoint a reserve judge, in this case, Peterson, to oversee a John Doe investigation;

• The legal basis for assigning a single reserve judge to handle John Doe investigations in multiple jurisdictions;

• The legal basis for the appointment of a special prosecutor, in this case Schmitz, to act in multiple jurisdictions;

• The authority to appoint a special prosecutor in any of the five John Doe investigations;

• The scope of the secrecy orders; and

• Whether the judge can use a post office box for filing of certain documents.

The three judges — Brian Blanchard, Joanne Kloppenburg and Paul Lundsten — rejected the final two arguments, saying they “plainly lack merit” but ordered the parties to submit additional arguments on the remaining claims.

In denying the stay requested by the petitioners, the judges said “each of the petitioner’s four remaining claims for relief appears to rely upon one or more propositions that lack direct factual support in the materials provided in the writ petition.”

Normally such a petition would be rejected, the judges said. “We recognize, however, that the special nature of a John Doe investigation limits the petitioners’ ability to gather the necessary documents without court intervention,” they wrote. The court also said it would consider the requests by the petitioners to make public some of the documents filed in the appeals court.

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(25) Comments

  1. array1
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    array1 - November 25, 2013 1:40 pm
    Anyone else find it odd the the republicans are purchasing new paper shredders?
  2. Wis_taxpayer
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    Wis_taxpayer - November 24, 2013 7:37 pm
    And Paul Lundsten, a former Assistant Attorney General of Wisconsin… yet another flaming Liberal… he is the judge that sent the Anti-union law to the Supreme Court.

    So, before painting everyone with a wide brush, do a little research…. two of the three judges you named are far from Liberal by way of their rulings.

    Just another talking point argument of "the other side does it too"
  3. Wis_taxpayer
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    Wis_taxpayer - November 24, 2013 7:27 pm
    Brian Blanchard… is this the ultra Liberal judge that overturned the voter ID law?

    Wow, what a flaming Liberal… he agreed with Walker!
  4. Wis_taxpayer
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    Wis_taxpayer - November 24, 2013 6:19 pm
    Really? So those six convicted Walker administration officials currently serving time are innocent?
  5. Wis_taxpayer
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    Wis_taxpayer - November 24, 2013 3:23 pm
    Many liberals breathed a sigh of relief when the District Four Court of Appeals refused to put the brakes on the John Doe investigation, but they shouldn’t rest easy just yet.

    The fact that Walker's team of lawyers even brought an appeal to the Court of Appeals tells us that they have a new strategy in this round of John Doe investigations: They're looking for a "get out of jail free" card from Wisconsin's Uber-Partisan Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeals was just the first step on their road to get there.

    Considering the makeup of the District Four Court of Appeals—they are all former prosecutors, including Brian Blanchard, who as Dane County District Attorney, famously spear-headed his own investigation into the wrong-doings of elected Democratic and Republican state legislators in the caucus scandal—Walker's lawyers had to know that their recent appeal wasn't going anywhere.

    If they knew they couldn’t win at the Fourth Circuit, why did they bother appealing? To get to the Supremes!

    Clearly, this is a signal that they're trying to work their way up the courts, to get this matter in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which they hope will follow their partisan leanings and step in to stop the John Doe investigation in its tracks.

    This is a departure from how Team Walker handled the first John Doe investigation, where it was all about cooperating. In fact, Walker even claimed on multiple occasions that the first John Doe investigation was operating at his behest.

    Now, however, there obviously is something that is making the Walker camp very skittish. So skittish, that they seem desperate to get this in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Kangaroo Court.
  6. Stuck In The Middle With You
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    Stuck In The Middle With You - November 24, 2013 8:53 am
    The current targets in the sights of this John Doe investigation should learn a lesson from those that came before when Scott Walker was just a county executive is that he has paved his road to higher office with those that he has thrown under the bus.
  7. MrNatural
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    MrNatural - November 23, 2013 1:42 pm
    You only see it that way because of the storm troopers on the right. It is possible that those on the left do not subscribe to the same slash and burn politics that the right does.
  8. truthzeeker
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    truthzeeker - November 23, 2013 10:20 am
    Another blogger afraid of the truth? Based on your sad attempt at slandering people, it must be true.
  9. truthzeeker
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    truthzeeker - November 23, 2013 10:17 am
    Ah, you are so consistent! So logical! So loose with slurs. So useless in a true forum to get at the truth. As a number of prior bloggers stated, "If you have nothing to hide, let the truth be known." I think you are afraid of the truth. Admit it!
  10. Wis_taxpayer
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    Wis_taxpayer - November 23, 2013 9:21 am
    Chalk up yet another loss for the Walker team!

    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! Laser Focused!
  11. eclectic
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    eclectic - November 23, 2013 8:54 am
    Meaningless posturing.

    Consider the source. Brian Blanchard is a former Dane County District attorney....bought and paid for by the democratic party. Kloppy Kloppenberg know...just Kloppy. I am not sure about Paul Lundsten, but in all probability he is left leaning, as that is what is necessary to get elected in District IV. This will eventually reach the supreme court, where there is a conservative bias, and it will be reversed.

    Politics dominates the judicial system. Unfortunately, the whole concept of a non-partisan judicial system has died....along with respect for the system.
  12. davea
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    davea - November 23, 2013 8:08 am
    It sure would be fun to watch and hear how all this will be defended on a re-election, or presidental run!
  13. davea
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    davea - November 23, 2013 8:05 am
    BUT - BUT - BUT -That's what I was told to do!!!!
  14. davea
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    davea - November 23, 2013 8:04 am
    But you sure are a JOKE!
  15. sarge
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    sarge - November 23, 2013 7:04 am
    Overturning democracy is no joke huh? Are you familiar with the Freudian concept of projection?
  16. sevendaze
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    sevendaze - November 23, 2013 6:07 am
    In the first John Doe, walker said publicly that #1. He was NOT the target of the investigation AND #2. None of the legal defense fund was being used for the defense of any of his agents. Both of these contradict the reasons for a legal defense fund for an elected official. So either he was lying OR he broke rules/ laws OR both. Call the GAB and ask to speak with someone about this. The guy I called, this past summer, said he would be fired if he told me what he knows. He said walker had discussions with the GAB prior to moving FORWARD. So, if a goof like me can get these type of answers over the phone, what would someone that is official or a reporter get from an interview with the same person?
  17. mhazzard
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    mhazzard - November 23, 2013 5:22 am
    Overturning democracy no joke like when gogebic writes mining legislation and cuts access for taxpayers to beautiful north Wisconsin...that democracy?...
  18. DanMerc
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    DanMerc - November 22, 2013 9:40 pm
    The GOP is unethical and will continue to be. If you support the GOP I would take a step back and take good look at what the GOP is doing and stop trying to save face.
  19. PatrickL
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    PatrickL - November 22, 2013 8:26 pm
    Considering that Scott Walker spent over a half million dollars so he could announce that he was not part of the first John Doe investigation, it will be interesting to see how much money will be doled out to nationally known defense attorneys in this case. Considering the ramifications of this investigation, we'll get a chance to see who are the real Tea Party/ALEC darlings in Wisconsin. That is: Who gets the defense money and who gets thrown under the bus.
  20. geo_
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    geo_ - November 22, 2013 7:25 pm
    Why try to put roadblocks on the path of justice, if there was no criminal activity there will be no charges.
  21. guirkymondo
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    guirkymondo - November 22, 2013 7:01 pm
    If Republican Senator Scott Fitzgerald is a target of this investigation (and he refuses to answer that question from reporters), then what is the probability that Fitz tries to deflect by pinning any illegal alleged campaigning activities on Tea Party Kim Simac "activities", as well as any activities of her son, James Maillette, now EVP of Wisconsin Family Action (supposedly subpoenaed by the John Doe)?

    I can just imagine Fitz saying: "It wasn't ME. It was HER...and her kid"
  22. guirkymondo
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    guirkymondo - November 22, 2013 6:54 pm
    Bah! Communist activist Tea Party Governor & legislators, wanting to redistribute wealth by TAKING from the poor & middle class and giving to millionaires. Fascist lackeys & brown-shirts thugs threatening violence and intimidating with guns while twisting Bible verses. Bah! America-hating, "Republican Red Rednecks" spewing states' rights without acknowledging the global might of these UNITED States of America. These RW activits still fume over taxation of their whiskey stills in the late 1700s and the loss of their slavery operations in the 1800s...are, as a last gasp effort, become domestic terrorists who, like Timothy McVie, refuse to and whine about the necessity of taking personal responsibility for paying their fair share to live in a civilized society. Bah! Buncha losers. And racist, to boot.
  23. guirkymondo
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    guirkymondo - November 22, 2013 6:46 pm
    These unnamed "petitioners" are using the same types of delaying tactics that were employed by the Republican party operatives who were investigated and convicted in the Nixon Watergate scandal.

    Seems like the petitioners are feeling a bit "hot"...on the "hot seat", as it were.

    If they are completely innocent, there should no reason to try to stop a secret John Doe investigation...unless the petitioners KNOW they are guilty.

    BTW, if Scott Walker is not under investigation and has not been subpoenaed for information, then there is NO reason not to say he's not under investigation. But, it appears he CAN'T say this. So...
  24. thedudeabides
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    thedudeabides - November 22, 2013 6:28 pm
    Bah! Liberal activist judges! Union lackeys! Thugs! Bah! America hating, teacher loving godless commie terrorists! Bah!
  25. truegangsteroflove
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    truegangsteroflove - November 22, 2013 6:10 pm
    Gee, I wonder why some anonymous characters would want to stop an investigation of our crusading governor. Surely he will not be charged with any crimes. He wouldn't take money from nefarious sources, or use his office and state employees in a political campaign. Indeed, it is those who accuse him who should be indicted. He has his own chief of the State Police, and even the Capitol Police, and friends on the Supreme Court and in the Attorney General's office, so let's see him exercise some muscle!! The crony capitalism campaign has only just begun.!

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