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Justice Ziegler recuses herself from Prosser ethics case

By Amy Karon

Justice Annette Ziegler

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler has stepped out of fellow Justice David Prosser’s ethics case. If two more justices do so, the case is unlikely to proceed.

In March, the state Judicial Commission alleged Prosser violated judicial conduct codes in 2011 when he wrapped his hands around Justice Ann Walsh Bradley’s neck during a heated argument in her chambers in front of three other justices.

For the ethics case against Prosser to proceed further, at least four of the seven Supreme Court justices would need to order the appeals court chief judge to call a panel of fellow appeals court judges. That panel would review the case, determine the facts and recommend Prosser’s punishment to the Supreme Court.

But Prosser is unlikely to participate in the case himself and has asked all his fellow justices to step aside, contending they’re material witnesses or are biased against him.

So far, Ziegler and fellow Justice Pat Roggensack have recused themselves.

Ziegler wrote in her decision to recuse herself, which was filed Friday with the court: “Justice is supposed to be blind, but justice is not supposed to turn a blind eye to the obvious. An obvious conflict is presented by simultaneously participating as material witness and final decision-maker.”

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