April 27, 2009
Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer Robert Henak has filed motions in the Wisconsin Supreme Court calling for Justice Michael Gableman to recuse himself from participation a pending case, State v. Allen.
Catch this: Henak wrote, "Gableman relied, as a candidate, upon an agenda of promoting the interests of the prosecutorial arm of state government while denigrating both the legal rights of those accused of crimes and their counsel." Bad enough that his TV spots distorted the record of Justice Butler, who was accused by Gableman, of finding a loophole for his client. Gableman also received $3 million in his campaign from third-party special interests in the form of ads promoting the same type of agenda.
The agenda, writes Henak, "Demonstrates both actual bias in favor of the prosecution...and the appearance of bias." Can Justice Gableman run the risk of being accused in the future of finding a loophole to help the accused? Face it, voting against the accused would be easier. Recusal should occur when the judge in question either is actually biased or there is the appearance of bias.
This is interesting. Can a judge, at any level, ignore campaign contributions, or does acceptance of money suggest that justice is for sale? Henak raises the bias issue in criminal cases. How about a tax case involving WMC?
If the home team hired the homeplate umpire would you believe him on close calls? Time for public financing. Meanwhile, we will watch the Supreme Court's ruling.
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