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Reaction To Scott Jensen Court Of Appeals Decision

November 8, 2007

To be honest I did not need the morning coffee to wake me up today.  The decision by the Court Of Appeals was surprising, as the ruling gives former Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen another trial in the statehouse caucus scandal.  While the ruling was based on a technicality, I see no reason to worry about the outcome of another trial, as the underlying charges facing Jensen are serious, and the law is quite clear about them.  That is the whole matter wrapped up in one sentence.

To argue, as Scott Jensen does, that he needed to conduct himself in office in the fashion he did, so as to compete with other lawbreakers then working in the Capitol, is an amusing defense.  In the end it is no defense.

I may not agree with the decision handed down today by the Court of Appeals, but I respect the rule of law.  So with that we all await another trial.  If it happens.  All other elected officials opted for plea deals, and after this long and protracted affair I do not think we can rule out the possibility that Jensen opts for that avenue in the end. 

If Jensen does go to trial again the silver lining is all the publicity that it will give to the much-needed discussion about clean government without political chicanery.  There is still plenty of reason for the public to read and hear about this topic.  If that is one of the by products of another trial then I will be pleased.

But in the end Scott Jensen will again be found guilty. 

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16 Comments
  1. November 9, 2007 2:57 AM

    That the Democrats were also dishonest was NO EXCUSE!
    “Seeing as the other side was doing exactly the same thing he claimed that intent was absent and there was no dishonest advantage”
    Scott Jensen SHOULD HAVE reported Chuck Chvala for taking the advantage illegally. Instead he took the illegal actions of his opponents as a que to do the same himself and for his party. The result was Jensen’s control over local elections by the use of state staff. Bill Lorge lost. Many 3rd party, independent, libertiarian, green, progressive candidates lost because they COULD NOT BEAT THE STATE MACHINE.

  2. Darryl Kunderrt permalink
    November 8, 2007 3:52 PM

    I can hardly wait for Bill Cosh to testify again. He’s the guy that weighs 458 pounds and has a small head, right?

    The one that stated that we would all be better off if the Republicans controlled everything?

  3. Paul permalink
    November 8, 2007 3:46 PM

    Great Post Gregory!

    I read this afternoon in a news release that the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign also uses the term ‘technicality’ that Gregory uses in his post. I feel comfortable with the use of the word too. That is what it was, a technicality. Get use to the word.

    In addition the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign had this say about Scott Jensen and the process.

    New trials on a technicality more than 600 days after their convictions is both a reflection of what is right and what is terribly wrong with our criminal justice system. On the one hand, this is how the justice system is supposed to work. Criminal defendants have a right to a fair trial and have every right to appeal a jury’s verdict.
    On the other hand, it is painfully obvious that the system typically works this way only for a few very powerful people. How many poor people represented by public defenders would be able to remain free for 20 months while appealing a jury’s verdict and then win a new trial without providing any new and compelling evidence of their innocence?

    Not only does today’s decision reopen the biggest political corruption scandal in Wisconsin’s history, but it guarantees that it will remain open for a very long time. Even if Jensen is again convicted, an appeal of the verdict could again takes months to be heard and ruled on by a state appeals court. And even if a second conviction were upheld by an appeals court, that ruling could be appealed to the state Supreme Court. It could be several years before this case is finally decided.

  4. November 8, 2007 2:31 PM

    Dohanl is exactly correct.

    The point Jensen was trying to make went to the intent of the statute which went to seeking a “dishonest advantage”. Seeing as the other side was doing exactly the same thing he claimed that intent was absent and there was no dishonest advantage. That defense was wrongly thrown out by the judge who completely ignored the law as written.

    That is not a tehnicality that is a stunning rebuke.

    I would be stunned if this thing is retried.

  5. November 8, 2007 1:33 PM

    There was not any criminal intent, as both sides of th aisle had agreed to fund positions for campaigns as had been done for 40 years. This was left out of the trial cause of the DA and the judge.
    The liberals on the appeals court agreed with Jensen that he was not given a fair trial. Chvala and Burke had criminal intent: “pay for play” and they deserved their sentences.
    Bob Dohnal, Publisher
    Wisconsin Conservative Digest
    widigest.com

  6. stuffweknow permalink
    November 8, 2007 1:30 PM

    Geeeeeze! Every year the Assembly Chief Clerk’s Office informed every office about
    the campaign rules! No excuses for legislators!

  7. Bob Laughalott permalink
    November 8, 2007 11:33 AM

    This kind of commentary is really stunning. I, who frankly find Jensen’s politics revolting, still believe he is entitled to the same basic rights as, say, I am. The court of appeals made an unavoidable ruling – the jury instructions relieved the government of the duty to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt on a key point; it directed the jury to give the win to the government.

    This is the constitutional essence of the trial process. And folks like you call it a technicality. Let’s be honest, all this kind of commentary really says is that only people we like are entitled to enjoy basic constitutional rights. This is not nuanced stuff. And, history shows what happens when we agree that certain groups are exempt from the bill of rights.

  8. November 8, 2007 10:18 AM

    This all sounds like the “But teacher, everyone else was throwing spitballs, so I did too.” defense.

  9. November 8, 2007 9:57 AM

    To argue, as Scott Jensen does, that he needed to conduct himself in office in the fashion he did, so as to compete with other lawbreakers then working in the Capitol, is an amusing defense. In the end it is no defense.

    On its own no. However, it can go to prosecurial misconduct and selective prosecution. A defense that was not allowed to be presented int he first trial.

    I’m all for throwing out all the bums who break the law.

    However, I am not in favor of highly partisan prosecutors who turn a blind eye to their own side of the aisle.

  10. madcityrunner permalink
    November 8, 2007 9:52 AM

    At least most of the partners in crime can still be easily rounded up in the Capitol for their testimony again.

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