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Wisconsin Civil-Rights March:Prosecutors targeting conservatives lose in federal court
WSJ ^ | 4-11-14 | WSJ

Posted on 04/12/2014 7:30:11 AM PDT by TurboZamboni

Score another one for free political speech. On Tuesday, Federal District Judge Rudolph Randa soundly rejected a motion to dismiss a federal civil-rights lawsuit against Wisconsin prosecutors who are investigating the political activities of conservative groups (but not liberals).

In a 19-page ruling, Judge Randa wrote that Wisconsin Club for Growth Director Eric O'Keefe's claim that the unlawful investigation violates his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights may proceed. Mr. O'Keefe has standing to bring the lawsuit because "chilled speech is, unquestionably, an injury supporting standing" and that claim doesn't depend on whether he is charged with a crime; "the threat of prosecution is enough."

Prosecutors argued that the federal suit couldn't proceed under the 1971 Supreme Court ruling in Younger v. Harris, which prevents federal courts from intervening in a criminal prosecution. That precedent doesn't apply here, Judge Randa wrote, because the state's secretive John Doe proceeding is not a prosecution but "an investigatory device, similar to a grand jury proceeding, but lacking the oversight of a jury."

The Younger exemption also does not apply, the judge added, when the plaintiffs allege that the prosecution was "brought in bad faith for the purpose of retaliating for or deterring the exercise of constitutionally protected rights." Mr. O'Keefe's claim easily satisfies that requirement with its assertion that the John Doe investigation into possible campaign finance violations has been selectively used as a "pretext" to target conservative groups and deter their political engagement.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: 1stamendment; democrats; speech; wisconsin
"The success or failure of O'Keefe's claims do not depend upon the state court's interpretation of its own campaign finance laws," Judge Randa wrote. "O'Keefe's rights under the First Amendment are not outweighed by the state's purported interest in running a secret John Doe investigation that targets conservative activists."

The ruling means that those named in the lawsuit, including special prosecutor Francis Schmitz, Democratic prosecutors John Chisholm, Bruce Landgraf, David Robles and Government Accountability Board contractor Dean Nickel can be held personally liable. The judge rejected their claims of immunity, noting that a prosecutor's absolute immunity is "limited to the performance of his prosecutorial duties, and not to other duties to which he might to assigned by his superiors or perform on his own initiative, such as investigating a crime before an arrest or indictment."

The John Doe probe has been a one-sided investigation conducted against political opponents to chill their ability to influence elections, and now the prosecutors will have to defend themselves in open court.

1 posted on 04/12/2014 7:30:11 AM PDT by TurboZamboni
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To: TurboZamboni

Judge is a hero. Watch for the left to demonize him.


2 posted on 04/12/2014 7:51:36 AM PDT by Mouton (The insurrection laws perpetuate what we have for a government now.)
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To: TurboZamboni

Bad headline. This was just a procedural motion. Tired of articles in publications being written by individuals not versed in the subject ... at least a little.

Now the Plaintiff’s may win in Court and THAT is a win. This is a procedural win and the distinction should be made.


3 posted on 04/12/2014 8:04:14 AM PDT by RIghtwardHo
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To: TurboZamboni; All
...the Marxists; shall ask, Eric "Red" Holder to intervene and move
it to another jurisdiction or just ignore the ruling..very, very likely.

when has this P.o.$. (ever) obeyed a civil law? (other than traffic laws)

4 posted on 04/12/2014 8:06:17 AM PDT by skinkinthegrass (The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun..0'Caligula / 0'Reid / 0'Pelosi)
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To: TurboZamboni

Thank God that there are still federal judges who respect the law and are not part of the communist run left, may the good Lord Jesus bless the honest and faithful judges and remove all democrat and homosexual and feminist unjust judges from their terrorist seats of power so our nation may yet survive.


5 posted on 04/12/2014 8:08:59 AM PDT by kindred (They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. Salvation by Lord Jesus only!)
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To: TurboZamboni; Hunton Peck; Diana in Wisconsin; P from Sheb; Shady; DonkeyBonker; Wisconsinlady; ...

Wisconsin Club for Growth “free speech” lawsuit progresses...

FReep Mail me if you want on, or off, this Wisconsin interest ping list.


6 posted on 04/12/2014 8:12:06 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: Mouton

“Judge is a hero. Watch for the left to demonize him.”

Yeah, for the Marsists, free speech is only allowed if what you have to say comports with their views. Cue the “leaders” from Brandeis University who just knocked under to CARE.


7 posted on 04/12/2014 8:41:23 AM PDT by vette6387
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To: RIghtwardHo

Thank you - for the clarification.


8 posted on 04/12/2014 10:07:07 AM PDT by jonno (Having an opinion is not the same as having the answer...)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; cardinal4; ColdOne; ...
Thanks TurboZamboni. The prosecutors need to be removed, disbarred, indicted under the RICO Act (at least), found guilty, and imprisoned.
Prosecutors argued that the federal suit couldn't proceed under the 1971 Supreme Court ruling in Younger v. Harris, which prevents federal courts from intervening in a criminal prosecution. That precedent doesn't apply here, Judge Randa wrote, because the state's secretive John Doe proceeding is not a prosecution but "an investigatory device, similar to a grand jury proceeding, but lacking the oversight of a jury." The Younger exemption also does not apply, the judge added, when the plaintiffs allege that the prosecution was "brought in bad faith for the purpose of retaliating for or deterring the exercise of constitutionally protected rights."

9 posted on 04/12/2014 3:38:51 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Mouton

bump


10 posted on 04/12/2014 3:53:19 PM PDT by apocalypto
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To: TurboZamboni

Interesting. Usually, the judge is in cahoots with the prosecutor.


11 posted on 04/12/2014 4:16:01 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: All


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12 posted on 04/12/2014 4:17:26 PM PDT by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: RIghtwardHo
What would you call the decision had it gone the other way?

I do agree, it would be more precise to say plaintiff was noit kicked out of court, or was allowed to present his case.

13 posted on 04/12/2014 4:19:02 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: TurboZamboni; sickoflibs; Liz; SunkenCiv
The ruling means that those named in the lawsuit, including special prosecutor Francis Schmitz, Democratic prosecutors John Chisholm, Bruce Landgraf, David Robles and Government Accountability Board contractor Dean Nickel can be held personally liable.

Very important ping...

14 posted on 04/12/2014 7:24:25 PM PDT by GOPJ (MSNBC reporters couldn't spot a criminal if he was at the company Christmas party.)
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To: Mouton

I would like to know how many liberal groups the FBI investigates... and how much money the FBI spends investigating liberal groups compared to conservative groups.


15 posted on 04/12/2014 7:26:43 PM PDT by GOPJ (MSNBC reporters couldn't spot a criminal if he was at the company Christmas party.)
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To: Georgia Girl 2; Logical me

This is a victory...


16 posted on 04/12/2014 7:47:36 PM PDT by GOPJ (MSNBC reporters couldn't spot a criminal if he was at the company Christmas party.)
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To: GOPJ

Maybe a good precedent for True the Vote’s case against Elijah.


17 posted on 04/12/2014 7:51:39 PM PDT by Jane Long (While Marxists continue the fundamental transformation of the USA, progressive RINOs assist!)
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To: GOPJ

lot of good things happening in the cheese state. Is the gov staying put or throwing his hat in?


18 posted on 04/12/2014 7:55:32 PM PDT by morphing libertarian
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To: morphing libertarian

I don’t know but I’m slowly staring to be impressed....


19 posted on 04/12/2014 7:56:47 PM PDT by GOPJ (MSNBC reporters couldn't spot a criminal if he was at the company Christmas party.)
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To: thecodont

Enjoy!


20 posted on 04/12/2014 7:57:56 PM PDT by GOPJ (MSNBC reporters couldn't spot a criminal if he was at the company Christmas party.)
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To: GOPJ

would be nice to see someone with actual achievements and balls get in the job.


21 posted on 04/12/2014 8:03:55 PM PDT by morphing libertarian
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To: morphing libertarian
The nice thing about electing a governor is they know how to get things done AND as you would say they have 'actual achievements'...

Being a governor is managing - time, money, people, taxes, budgets etc. One of the reason Ronald Reagan was so great at being President is he not only had ideas, he knew how to make those ideas become real.

And yeah, I'm impressed with what I know about Scott Walker.

22 posted on 04/13/2014 6:43:06 AM PDT by GOPJ (MSNBC reporters couldn't spot a criminal if he was at the company Christmas party.)
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To: GOPJ

ditto


23 posted on 04/13/2014 10:07:36 AM PDT by morphing libertarian
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