MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A federal judge’s ruling rejecting a lawsuit by a former aide to Gov. Scott Walker who accused prosecutors of overstepping their constitutional authority will be appealed, the woman’s attorney said Friday.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman on Thursday rejected the lawsuit from former Walker aide Cindy Archer targeting Milwaukee County prosecutors in charge of a secret John Doe investigation in 2011. That probe focused on former Walker aides and associates when he was Milwaukee County executive, and evidence gathered then led to a second investigation that the Wisconsin Supreme Court later ended.
Archer alleged in her lawsuit that Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and his investigators violated her 1st and 4th Amendment rights when they searched her home in 2011. Her claims included descriptions of police tactics that were contradicted by recordings made by police.
Adelman, a former Democratic lawmaker, sided with Chisholm’s argument that as a public prosecutor, he is immune from such lawsuits.
“This case provides a textbook example of when immunity should be granted,” Adelman wrote.
Archer’s attorney, David Rivkin, said the decision was “wrong on the facts and the law, and we are confident that it will be reversed on appeal.”
“Cindy Archer deserves justice, and we will continue to fight against government officials who abuse their power for political ends,” Rivkin said.
Adelman also rejected arguments that Judge Neal Nettesheim was biased in granting the John Doe investigation warrants that were used to search Archer’s home, saying she provided no evidence to support her claim.
He also agreed that prosecutors had probable cause to believe a crime was committed when county officials and Walker ally John Hiller passed along insider information on a real estate deal to a potential bidder.
In rejecting Archer’s lawsuit, the judge allowed records obtained from both John Doe investigations to be held by the federal court in Milwaukee. The records will not be included in the case docket or be accessible to the public, and they will be destroyed once the litigation is concluded.
Adelman determined that holding a copy of the records does not override the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling that the records should reside with it, the Wisconsin State Journal reported Friday (http://tinyurl.com/hslndhc ).
Chisholm has appealed the state Supreme Court’s ruling ending the second John Doe probe into Walker’s 2012 recall election and activity by conservative groups to the U.S. Supreme Court. The state Supreme Court, in a 4-2 ruling last year, determined that the underlying legal theory behind the investigation — that Walker’s campaign illegally coordinated with the Wisconsin Club for Growth to avoid campaign disclosure laws — was invalid.
Adelman criticized that ruling, saying it “overturned years of precedent and practice in Wisconsin.”