Thursday, June 18, 2009

Prosser Not Hearing Jensen Appeal

UPDATE: A spokesman for the Wisconsin Supreme Court notified our office today that Justice David Prosser is not participating in the court's review of former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen's appeal of lower court rulings that his retrial must be held in Dane County, not his home county of Waukesha as he desires.

No word yet on whether Justice Prosser plans to once again serve as a character witness for Jensen. Pertinent to this issue is the Supreme Court's own rule, SCR 60.03(2), which states: "A judge may not allow family, social, political or other relationships to influence the judge's judicial conduct or judgment. A judge may not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or of others or convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. A judge may not testify voluntarily as a character witness (emphasis added)."

The plain meaning of this rule prohibits a judge like Justice Prosser from lending the prestige of his office and the court to advance the private interests of a defendant like Scott Jensen. And it clearly prohibits any judge subject to this state rule from voluntarily testifying as a character witness. Which begs the question, is there such a thing as an unwilling character witness?

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