Gableman Recuses from Prosser Ethics Case


On Friday, Justice Michael Gableman officially recused himself from playing any role in deciding an ethics complaint lodged against his fellow Justice David Prosser. Gableman is the third of the seven justices to refuse to consider whether Justice Prosser violated the judicial ethics code last summer when he put his hands around Justice Anne Walsh Bradley’s neck.

Gableman filed a brief two-page official recusal motion with the court. In it, he cited language from Justice Annette Ziegler’s recusal motion reminding the court that it has been a longstanding practice for justices not to discuss their reasons for disqualifying themselves from cases they don’t believe they should consider. He also referenced Justice Patience Roggensack’s recusal motion that said judges shouldn’t sit on cases where they have been witnesses to the alleged behavior that led to the criminal or disciplinary charge they are asked to decide on. Attorney Frank Gimbel, who is prosecuting the complaint for the state Judicial Commission, says he’s not surprised by the latest recusal, but he says the case isn’t closed yet. “The recusals, in my opinion, don’t end the day for our case. There’s need to be some kind of response to the current status of the case: Either move it down the road or tell us that they’re not going do that and they’re going to dismiss the proceedings, but my client has given me no instructions to retreat from the case.”

Gimbel says he’s still hoping that Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson will order the chief appeals court judge to appoint a three-judge independent panel to hear the complaint and make a recommendation on dismissing the case or disciplining Justice Prosser.

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