Blame the Victim

Analysis of a hate crime prosecution defense?

Nope – its analysis of a Corporatist Republican Wisconsin Supreme Court justice’s excuse when word leaked out that he had called the chief justice a “bitch.”

 As the deeply divided state Supreme Court wrestled over whether to force one member off criminal cases last year, Justice David Prosser exploded at Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson behind closed doors, calling her a “bitch” and threatening to “destroy” her.

The incident, revealed in interviews as well as e-mails between justices, shows fractures on the court run even deeper than what has been revealed in public sniping in recent years. Problems got so bad that justices on both sides described the court as dysfunctional, and Prosser and others suggested bringing in a third party for help, e-mails show.

Prosser acknowledged the incident recently and said he thought it was becoming public now in an attempt to hurt him politically. Prosser faces Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg in the April 5 election.

He said the outburst came after Abrahamson took steps to undermine him politically and to embarrass him and other court conservatives.

“In the context of this, I said, ‘You are a total bitch,’ ” Prosser said.

“I probably overreacted, but I think it was entirely warranted. . . . They (Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley) are masters at deliberately goading people into perhaps incautious statements. This is bullying and abuse of very, very long standing.”

The misogyny is worth noting, of course – but I’m more interested here in his excuse.

And I hope that all Wisconsin defense attorneys are paying attention – particularly those who are reprsenting anyone who is accused of any crime in which a provocation justification is asserted.

I’m just sayin’.

Of course, considering what led up to Prosser’s hissy fit, good luck on getting him to recuse himself.

[P]assions ran high on the court because the justices had to decide an ethics allegation against [Justice Michael] Gableman, as well as requests by defense attorneys to force him off nine cases because they believed he was biased against criminal defendants.Gableman remained on the cases after the justices split 3-3 on the issue. Months later, they split along the same lines on his ethics case.

Abrahamson, Bradley and Justice N. Patrick Crooks voted to find that Gableman violated the judicial ethics code by misstating facts in a campaign ad.

Said Prosser: “There is not the slightest doubt that Ann wrote that e-mail to hurt me in this campaign – and here it is surfacing three weeks before the campaign.”

Do the honorable thing: resign.

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