Thursday, May 8, 2014

Walkergate: John Doe Knocks Out Randa In The Seventh

Late on Tuesday afternoon, Federal Judge Rudolph Randa tried to put a choke hold on Lady Justice and issued an order that effectively killed the extended Walkergate investigations.  At the time, I pointed out some of the faulty reasoning used by Randa in his decision making and that the decision wouldn't be allowed to stand.

This position was strengthened when Jeff Simpson pointed out that the wife of Steven Biskupic, the attorney representing Scott Walker's campaign through the proceedings, worked for Randa.  How this was even allowed needs to be examined by higher authorities, with strong consideration given to whether Randa is even fit to remain on the bench.

And if the gentle reader still had any doubts - after all, Jeff and I are only bloggers, what do we know? - Attorney Mike Maistelman, the state's leading expert on campaign finance law, appeared on the radio show "Devil's Advocate" and confirmed everything I had said.

Maistelman also pointed to another area that raises many a red flag.  According to Maistelman, Randa had twice scheduled sessions to hear the motions related to the case but cancelled both sessions.  Then without hearing the arguments, Randa issued his arbitrary decision.

Maistelman also raised concerns about the part of Randa's order that the prosecutors had to return all the evidence they had seized and destroy any copies they had made.

But as the saying goes, what a difference a day makes.

The prosecutors filed an emergency appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals who immediately put a stay on Randa's orders and reprimanded him pretty severely*:
But a three-judge appeals panel in Chicago, acting on emergency motions that prosecutors had filed just before and after Randa’s ruling, found the judge failed to follow proper procedure in issuing his ruling Tuesday.

“Once a litigant files a notice of appeal, a district court may not take any further action in the suit unless it certifies that the appeal is frivolous,” the appeals judges wrote. “The district court failed to follow that rule when, despite the notice of appeal filed by several defendants, it entered a preliminary injunction.”

The appeals judges — Diane Wood, William Bauer and Frank Easterbrook — also nullified Randa’s order requiring the Milwaukee County prosecutors to return the evidence they had collected and “permanently destroy” all copies of it. The appeals panel said such an action “effectively prevents appellate review” and ordered that Randa’s “return-and-destroy” order be stayed pending further order of the court.

In their emergency appeal, the prosecutors also noted that the same evidence is at the heart of challenges to the probe pending in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court.
Per Tom Foley, aka Illusory Tenant**, the holding of the Seventh Circuit Court that Randa so conveniently overlooked is only 25 years old and was written by Judge Frank Easterbrook, who is still one of the judges in that court.  Foley also pointed out that the ruling also removed any chance of Randa renewing his order to destroy evidence.

With the timing and the extraordinary aspect to Randa's ruling, one must seriously consider if Randa went beyond the scope of his authority in trying to obstruct justice.   This should really be reviewed to determine if any ethical or legal lines had been crossed.

On a final note, while the right wing was celebrating Randa's ruling as the death knell for John Doe - while ignoring their self-proclaimed disdain for activist judges - the order by the Court of Appeals allows the investigation to continue.  Hopefully, this might spur the prosecutors to start filing some charges in the matter.

*The actual order by the Court of Appeals can be seen here.

**Cor, we could use him back now!


  1. Now they must get the ball rolling. My guess is Prosser is in up to his neck with this whole thing. Time for the shoe of justice to drop and bring this out front so the nay Sayers can see what the GOP is really all about!

  2. Has any mainstream reporter verified that "Cary Biskupic" in Randa's office is indeed Steven Biskupic's wife? Why hadn't anyone noticed that until last Monday?

  3. so where did all of your other speculation about john doe go?

    right in the dumpster of fun!

  4. The appeals court ruled that evidence gathered by the John Doe against O'Keefe and friends can't be used until the court issues are settled:

    "Plaintiffs’ interests, pending the review
    authorized by §1292, can be protected if defendants hold the information in confidence and not use it. We hereby stay the return-and-destroy portions of the injunction and order defendants not to disclose or use the information they have gathered, and that is within the scope of the injunction, pending further order of this court."

    This should effectively delay proceedings for as long as corrupt Judge Randa wants to fiddle around.

  5. Welp! Randa came back again: "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."
    The decision reinstates his Tuesday finding that the activity under investigation was legal and protected by the First Amendment."

  6. Source for the above quote:

  7. re, the Cary Biskupic q - appears to be his wife. being reported that way in several places, and this obit for Steve B's dad seems to show that. on the broader issues, I just note the irony of the right wingers being outraged at Judge Adelman for striking down the voter ID law - he at least followed the law, and proper procedures. Like having a trial and letting both sides be heard. ("loving father of . . . Steven (Cary) Biskupic")