Ziegler Recuses Herself from Prosser Ethics Case


State Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler says she’s recusing herself from considering an ethics complaint again fellow Justice David Prosser. Her decision to step down from the case increases the likelihood that the complaint against Prosser will not get any kind of official hearing.

In a recusal motion filed with the court Friday, Ziegler says “unfortunately, some parties do not receive their day in court despite their wish to be heard.” She says because she was witness to the incident in which Justice Prosser allegedly put his hands around Justice Anne Walsh Bradley’s neck she can’t be an objective judge of whether that was a violation of the judicial ethics code. Her reasoning echoes that of fellow justice Patience Roggensack who has also recused herself. Ziegler says her recusal means there is no longer a four judge quorum on the court to rule on the ethics complaint. So far only Justice Patrick Crooks who did not witness the incident has said he is ready to rule on the case. But former Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske says the court’s rules for dealing with such complaints require a neutral panel of three appeals court judges to hear the complaint. She says that part of the process should proceed. Geske says she expects that Justice Michael Gabelman will also recuse himself. So far Chief Appeals Court Judge Richard Brown has declined to appoint the three judge panel without an order from the Supreme Court justices themselves. Geske says if that doesn’t happen the complaint against Prosser could remain indefinitely in legal limbo.

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