May 8, 2014

"John Doe investigation halted again after finding that appeal was 'frivolous.'"

The Wisconsin State Journal reports:
The John Doe investigation into possible illegal coordination between Gov. Scott Walker's campaign and several conservative groups has once again been halted after a federal judge on Thursday dismissed as "frivolous" an interim appeal by the prosecutors in the case.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa issued the decision less than a day after the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago stayed an earlier ruling ending the secret "John Doe" investigation.

The appeals court said Randa erred in not first deciding whether the emergency appeal — in which prosecutors argued they had sovereign immunity from being sued in their official capacity — was frivolous.

In his ruling Thursday, Randa wrote that he was "absolutely convinced that the defendants' attempt to appeal this issue is a frivolous effort to deprive the court of its jurisdiction to enter an injunction."
Here's my post discussing Randa's decision on the jurisdictional issues, the most important of which was based on the Younger abstention doctrine. Randa had the power to prevent an appeal on that question by calling it frivolous, and the 7th Circuit yesterday had stayed Randa's preliminary injunction until he took the step that he has now taken.

47 comments:

Curious George said...

Of course they are frivolous...well except to those under investigation. Like JD I....millions dollars spent over multiple years and they get a handful of prosecutions, that for the most part were not even related, and in all cases didn't evemn involve Walker.

Now with JD II...millions spent, months and month of investigation, not a single charge filed.

Anonymous said...

Again, I have to ask how close together does a judge and his judicial assistant work together on a day to day basis? Should a judge recuse himself if one of the lawyers in the case is the spouse of his judicial assistant, or is it one of those positions where the worker never actually interacts with the boss?

gerry said...

Egad. This is double schadenfreud, and poor garage mahal's head just can't keep taking these explosions.

Two free speech victories in two days over political-speech-limiting liberofascists.

Wonderful news.

great Unknown said...

@Curious George:
The point is not to get charges filed, it is to silence the targets and inhibit contributions.

Ann Althouse said...

@madisonfella What does that refer to?

Richard Dolan said...

The immunity appeal may now be over, but the defendants have a statutory right to appeal from the grant of the injunction. Unfortunately for the defendants, Judge Randa's two opinions (the first rejecting various absention and immunity arguments, and the second granting the preliminary injunction) will be very hard to overturn. The standard on an appeal from a prelim injunction is whether the D Ct abused its discretion. Given the care with which the court went through the issues, and the factual showing cited in his decisions, the defendants have a steep up-hill climb on appeal.

Apart from having a losing legal position, the Milwaukee Dems have created a real policcal mess for themselves at the worst possible time. The judge has shut down this John Doe mess as a gross partisan violation of basic constitutional rights, all in an obvious effort to obtain an unfair advantage against Walker and those ideolocally allied with him. The ruling vindicates Walker's allies, just as the election cycle is getting started in earnest. Except for the most deeply partisan Dems, any observer is likely to see this unconstitutional overreaching by Dem officials as an excellent reason to vote against the Dem team.

Very, very stupid at every level.

traditionalguy said...

Too much Frivolity in Wisconsin, says Judge Randy.

Anonymous said...

@Ann

It refers to the role of a judicial assistant. Is it the sort of job that works closely with the judge, or is it one of the many courthouse workers whom the judge wouldn't interact with much, if at all?

garage mahal said...

Of course they are frivolous

Yep so frivolous they'll try anything to stop it. So frivolous you can't stop talking about.

Man, this Randa dude is just nuts.

Curious George said...

great Unknown said...
@Curious George:
The point is not to get charges filed, it is to silence the targets and inhibit contributions.

Yes I know. I have made that point here before.

tim maguire said...

Prof, do you agree? It seems to me to be the sort of decision that should not have been made by the judge whose decision is being appealed. While that may not be the case procedurally, it still leaves the judge looking compromised.

rhhardin said...

The serious is a subgenre of the frivolous, not its opposite.

See Derrida Archeology of the Rivolous.

Jason said...

Re: Madisonfella's question:

Boy, those dorks just have all the pathetic, cloying, desperate, idiotic talking points queued up, don't they?

How does it feel to be a tool?

Thorley Winston said...

@madisonfella What does that refer to?


Judge Rudolph Randa’s judicial assistant is a woman named Cary Biskupic who is married to an attorney named Steven Biskupic who works for a firm representing Friends of Scott Walker and who may have been named as one of the attorneys working on this case.


But to answer the question: no, unless someone can point to a rule to the contrary the judge does not have a conflict that would require their recusal merely because an employee is married to someone who may have worked on a case that comes before them.


Ann Althouse said...

@madisonfella

I mean which judge in this matter is in a position like that? Could you link to a news report about the conflict?

Ann Althouse said...

I'm just seeing Thorley's point.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

SECRET ROUTERS are frivolous.

I predict Walker is re-elected with an even higher percentage of the vote than the failed recall effort.

Ann Althouse said...

I think the job title "judicial assistant" refers to the position that was called "secretary" years ago.

Here's how the Federal Judicial Center describes the job:

The judicial assistant (or judicial secretary) manages the chambers. Like those of law clerks, the precise duties of judicial assistants vary from one chambers to the next, but the judicial assistant is usually responsible for

organizing the judge’s calendar;
making travel arrangements;
coordinating judicial committee activities;
maintaining office records and files; and
performing the other numerous tasks that keep the chambers running smoothly.


This person would not have a substantive role in handling the cases.

Here's an article in The Nation raising questions about the judicial assistant to Judge Randa.

Anonymous said...

"I mean which judge in this matter is in a position like that?"

You need to know which judge it is before you can offer an opinion on if there may be a conflict or not?

Interesting. Why would that detail matter to someone who claims she is "neutral" on these issues?

Ann Althouse said...

The Nation got a clear answer from our Nation's most prominent legal ethics law professor Stephen Gillers, of NYU School of law, and he "dismissed the idea of conflict. “Ms. Biskupic is a judicial assistant and her interests, via her husband's client, would not be attributed to the judge in any event,” he wrote to The Nation. “She has no role in contributing to the judge's legal analysis and ruling.”"

It's interesting that UW polisci prof Donald Downs was less clear, but I think Gillers is extremely familiar with the applicable law.

The judge's secretary is married to a lawyer who has done legal work with some relationship to the case.

MadisonMan said...

I think the job title "judicial assistant" refers to the position that was called "secretary" years ago.

Feature Creep but with a corresponding increase in salary.

BTW, Stephen Biskupic was the US Atty who hounded Georgia Thompson into jail before her conviction was justly tossed out with extreme prejudice.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

That's rich, libtards claiming to be upset about failure to recuse, after Kagan and the Obamacare decision. What a nothingburger.

Fen's law.

garage mahal said...

Judge Randa and Steven Biskupic (then U.S. Attorney and current Walker attorney) are the two that tried railroading Georgia Thompson.

Not the first time Randa and the 7th Circuit have clashed. More background on Randa

Wood wrote, "The comments were so utterly out of bounds, and we have no way of assessing how these improper observations affected the district court's final choice of sentence."

Anonymous said...

Bonus points to Ann for QUICKLY downgrading the job title to "secretary" while also claiming that her husband only has "some relationship" with the case.

She truly is gifted when it comes to these type of games.

Drago said...

garage: "So frivolous you can't stop talking about."

LOL

idiot woodshop boy wants the secret investigations to continue AND for you not to dare complain about it.

Too funny.

Curious George said...

"garage mahal said...
Of course they are frivolous

Yep so frivolous they'll try anything to stop it. So frivolous you can't stop talking about"

LOL. No charges brought in almost two fucking years.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Wow, Inga turns on Althouse pretty quick.

The left goes ape shit when they don't get to use the machinery of government against their political opponents.

The war on women has a new target.

Thorley Winston said...

Bonus points to Ann for QUICKLY downgrading the job title to "secretary"

I wouldn’t say it’s “downgrading” so much as clarifying for people who might think that the title “judge’s assistant” referred to a position like a “paralegal” (who are also called “legal assistants”) or a “clerk” each of whom likely would be performing work that actually does contribute to the “judge's legal analysis and ruling."

while also claiming that her husband only has "some relationship" with the case.

At this point it’s unclear and irrelevant exactly what relationship her husband has with the case since any “conflict” would not be imputed to the judge.

Anonymous said...

@President-Curious-Drago

I disagree with your opinion that it was proper for Kagan to hear that case. She should have recused herself, just like Randa should have in this one. But I have to give you some credit for not being a hypocrite. If you saw no possible conflict with her then of course you'd see no possible conflict with Randa either. Even tho I disagree with your opinions in regards to this, I do have to say kudos to you for being consistent.

Now if we can just get you to stop using so many sockpuppets.

damikesc said...

He was asked to make a judgment. That is his job, is it not garage?

damikesc said...

He was asked to make a judgment. That is his job, is it not garage?

garage mahal said...

LOL. No charges brought in almost two fucking years.

If Walker would stop trying to stop the legal proceedings maybe they could get on with the investigation! They must really want those computers and records back, eh? I wonder what's on them?

Kirk Parker said...

Althouse,

"@madisonfella What does that refer to?"

The voices in madisonfella's head.

Duh.


(I realize that as the proprietress it's in your interest to maintain a certain level of decorum with the guests, even the looniest of us... but every once in a while a hearty "What is WRONG with you?????" does work wonders at clearing the air.)


Jason,

"How does it feel to be a tool."

One of the sine qua non characteristics of a tool is that it doesn't realize it's being "used"!

Mark said...

The funny thing about the Reliable Left here is they are so willing to connect dots when Republican malfeasance might possibly conceivably be inferred, but want to see, hear, and especially speak no evil in the face of a two-year fishing expedition by Democrats against a Republican Governor who represents a threat to the Democratic Party's iron rice bowl (i.e. public sector unions.)

Drago said...

Inga us trying very very hard to change the subject. The reasons are transparent.

Jason said...

If only libtards would express 1/100th the interest in finding out the truth about Benghazi and our non-response to it than they have about the Great Pumpkin - er, I mean, the John Doe Investigation.

Anonymous said...

madisonfella said...

"I mean which judge in this matter is in a position like that?"

You need to know which judge it is before you can offer an opinion on if there may be a conflict or not?

No, she, like me, was trying to figure out what your poorly stated hypothetical had to do with this post.

Sorry, but normal people don't read The Nation, or the rest of teh fever swamps of the Left. if you want to bring out their fantasy talking point, you need to actually tell us what they are.

chillblaine said...

Does this decision intensify or ameliorate Walker Derangement Syndrome?

Brought to you by the Democratic #WarOnCompetence

Lindyhop said...

LMAO, you people are still fixated with Inga. Don't you realize yet that Madisonfella not Inga?

RecChief said...

If the [insert obama admin official here] would stop trying to stop the legal proceedings maybe they could get on with the [IRS/ Benghazi/ Fast and Furious/ solyndra] investigation!


There, fixed it for you

StoughtonSconnie said...

Garage said:
If Walker would stop trying to stop the legal proceedings maybe they could get on with the investigation!

Yes. And perhaps Walker, and those who foolishly support him, should engage in some Self-Criticism Sessions, eh Comrade?

Bachcha Nath said...

I also think Walker is re-elected with an even higher percentage of the vote.

Curious George said...

"garage mahal said...

If Walker would stop trying to stop the legal proceedings maybe they could get on with the investigation! They must really want those computers and records back, eh? I wonder what's on them?"

None of the legals challenges were brought by Walker, Corky.

and madisonfella is not Inga, it's Purple Penguin.



Bruce Hayden said...

I liked how the judge pointed out that the appeal was frivilous, as well as the claims. One of the defendants was trying to get off because he wasn't doing the work. Sorry, said the Court, you are the boss of the investigators, and it is being done in your name. Sovereign immunity? Not if the object is determining probable cause, because probable cause is a requirement for presecutorial immunity. In other words, they thought they should get immunity for merely being prosecutors, and not for prosecuting after probable cause had been established.

drywilly said...

"If Walker would stop trying to stop the legal proceedings maybe they could get on with the investigation! They must really want those computers and records back, eh? I wonder what's on them?"

Tit for IRS/Benghazi tat.

RonF said...

Ann, help me out here. Did the prosecutors here tell someone they're investigating "You can't tell anyone we're investigating you." Where does THAT power come from?

Drago said...

Garage: "If Walker would stop trying to stop the legal proceedings maybe they could get on with the investigation!"

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