Justice Bradley Recuses Herself, Details Early Concerns With Prosser
By Gilman Halsted
Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 6:19pm
State Supreme Court Justice Bradley has officially withdrawn herself from the still-unresolved discipline case against fellow justice David Prosser. But she still maintains that Justice Prosser did grab her around the neck during an argument in June of 2011.
The discipline charges against Prosser over this incident have been in a legal limbo since August, when a majority of the Justices recused themselves from sending the case to a three-judge appeals court panel for a hearing. In her statement released today, Justice Bradley says the incident was part of a pattern of abusive behavior by Justice Prosser that caused her and chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson to lock their office doors, even before the alleged choking incident occurred. Justice Bradley also calls on the court to reform the current self-policing process the court uses to discipline its own members.
UW Law school professor Walter Dickey proposed such a process at the court's request 22 years ago, and they rejected it. "They certainly have the authority to take action: to by rule, create a process for the discipline of members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. And they certainly have the power to include in the panel anybody that they wanted to designate to sit."
Justice Patience Roggensack, in a recent campaign debate, denied the court has any serious problems with workplace behavior that might hamper its operations. She also says the current self-discipline process can't be changed without a constitutional amendment. Dickey disputes that. "They've created a huge apparatus for the discipline of judges, so the idea that the constitution giving them this authority limits them to themselves just seems sort of palpably incorrect."
Justice Bradley also calls on the the court to hire a professional conflict resolution consultant to help the justices learn to get along with each other.