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Home / David Ziemer / Ruling for defense or prosecution doesn’t matter – application of law is key

Ruling for defense or prosecution doesn’t matter – application of law is key

Every case heard by any justice or judge is to be decided on its own facts. There is nothing inherently wrong with a justice ruling in favor of criminal defendants 100 percent of the time; there is nothing inherently wrong with a justice ruling in favor of criminal defendants 0 percent of the time. What matters is that the law be followed in each case. In the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court, there has been much ado regarding in what percentage of cases Justice Louis B. Butler “votes for the defendant.” Every summer, I go over all the Supreme Court decisions that were released the previous term, and determine how often each justice was in the majority, and how often each justice votes in accord with each other justice. I do that with regard to three categories: criminal cases; tort and insurance cases; and all cases combined. Because of that, I have received many phone calls over the last month from people expecting me to know how often Justice Butler sides with defendants in criminal cases. To anyone else expecting me to provide that information, here is your answer: “I don’t know, and I don’t care.” I have no intention of going on the fool’s errand that would be trying to assemble and classify such a thing. Suppose the Court grants review to a prisoner who is challenging both his sentence and his underlying conviction; suppose a justice votes to affirm his conviction, but votes to order that he be resentenced. How am I to classify that? I can’t, and I have no intention of wasting my time trying. Scorecards determine who wins basketball championships. Justice is won by viewing each case on its own facts, according to the applicable statutes and precedents.

One comment

  1. Yes, the public’s so-called fascination with criminal cases is puzzling given that 90% of all crime is white-collar corporate crime. That receives no attention whatsoever. Likewise, crimes caused by politicians receive very little discussion in this society. If you are president you can commit treason, war crimes and countless other criminal acts and find no one cares at all. The same thing happened in the Wisconsin legislature and a few lost their jobs while all the others who were still there said and did nothing. Now, these same people want us to vote for them. The “crime” issue is simply the elite’s way of deflecting attention from their misdeeds and in keeping racism alive because even though uber-criminal and Bush Buddy Ken Lay was white, the elite wants the public to believe the “face” of crime is a young black man. Is buying a judgeship a crime? If not, it should be.

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