Though officials with Gov. Scott Walker’s administration said Thursday there is no evidence to support Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley’s claim that Capitol Police set up extra security to protect her from a fellow justice, Supreme Court Marshal Tina Nodolf acknowledged plans were in place after all.
In a release to the media Thursday afternoon, Nodolf said several justices approached her with safety concerns prior to the June 13, 2011, incident when Justice David Prosser allegedly put his hands around Bradley’s throat during a heated argument in her chambers in front of three other justices.
Nodolf said before that incident, she spoke with Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs about ways to enhance security.
“I understood Chief Tubbs would increase patrol around the Supreme Court chambers after hours,” she wrote. “I also advised the concerned justices to lock their office doors while working alone after hours, as discussed with Chief Tubbs.”
Walker’s administration controls the Capitol Police. Administration spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis said she has been trying to locate any record of the security plan, but hasn’t found anything. She said she’s also spoken with current Capitol Police Chief Dave Erwin, the department’s deputy chief and rank-and-file officers, and that none of them knew anything about any formal or informal requests for security.
“I can’t find any evidence this ever happened. No emails, no conversations. I can’t find anything. And trust me I’ve checked this like four times now,” Marquis said.
Tensions have been running especially high between Prosser, Bradley and Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson since February 2010, when Prosser used an expletive to insult Abrahamson during an argument and threatened to destroy her.
In a memo released Wednesday, Bradley wrote that she met with the state courts director that month and asked that someone do something about Prosser’s behavior. She said nothing was done.
In March 2011, Bradley wrote, she noticed Prosser was becoming increasingly agitated and a now-retired deputy state courts director warned her that Prosser might pose a physical threat. She said she and Abrahamson set up a security plan with police that called for them to lock their office doors when they were working alone and after-hours. She said officers gave her and Abrahamson then-Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs’ cellphone numbers, asked Abrahamson to notify the department when she were working late, offered to escort her when she left at night and promised to patrol the area more often.
Prosser was cleared of any criminal wrong-doing from the June 2011 incident, although the state Judicial Commission filed an ethics complaint against him.
Tubbs resigned as Capitol Police chief in April to become Dane County’s emergency management director. His office said Thursday he was out until Monday.
The Associated Press’ Todd Richmond also contributed to this report.