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Appeals Judge Ralph Adam Fine Wrong About Annette Ziegler

November 19, 2007

There is no shortage of reasons to be concerned about Annette Ziegler, given all the ethical and legal problems she brings with her as a member of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court.  She is more than an embarrassment, she is a legal nightmare.

So it was amusing to hear that Appeals Judge Ralph Adam Fine, one of the three judges now reviewing the Ziegler matter, noted that her actions amounted to “a blip on the screen.”  I wonder what a judge needs to do to get Judge Fine all lathered about ethical misconduct in our state?

The bottom line is that the Supreme Court has never disciplined one of its own members, and a justice has never been on the court while under investigation.  It is not as though there was not ample evidence of her wrongdoing before her election to the Court.  The fact is she had ample funds to buy TV ads that portrayed her as an upstanding judge, which then persuaded the citizenry not to listen to the factual news accounts and editorial writers who knew otherwise.  Well, upstanding judges are not the center of a panel inquiry on what discipline needs to be administered for ethical misconduct. 

In spite of her campaign advertisements, more and more people are coming to understand that Annette Ziegler is not the type of person suited for the State Supreme Court.

The crux of the matter is that Ziegler decided cases as a Washington County judge where she had very real and clear conflicts of interest.  Her husband sat on the board of the West Bend Savings Bank while Ziegler ruled on over 45 cases relating to the bank.  Over $100,000 in settlements resulted from her actions, involving home foreclosures and seized cars and trucks.  How can Judge Fine be so blind to the obvious facts, and where they lead?

Not only is the political process unable to function properly even when a seriously flawed candidate is highlighted during an election, but the necessity of a fair and even-handed justice system is not totally understood by the public.

And it now appears even an Appeals Judge has not fully understood the ramifications of Ziegler’s actions, and the stain it has left on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. 

Is it time to worry about our state/country, and where it is heading?

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11 Comments
  1. November 21, 2007 9:42 PM

    No, I wanted, and worked for reform a long time before Zeigler ever came up for election.

    It is just amazing how these conservatives who comment keep missing the point of this blog post! They all want to frame the debate in political terms.

    They all make a larger point, however, about who they are, and what they consider important about the state, and the rule of law.

    They have no shame.

  2. germantown_kid permalink
    November 21, 2007 9:06 PM

    I’m a conservative but even if reforms like public financing were implemented before the Ziegler-Clifford race, Ziegler still would have won. She was the better candidate–hands down.

    Do I wish she had nothing to do with cases involving West Bend Savings? Yes, of course. Does it matter to you that the bulk of those cases were decided by court clerks and not Ziegler? No, of course.

    You see the glass as being half empty; I see it as half full. By that, I believe people of Annette Ziegler’s caliber make fair and unbiased decisions.

    It’s funny that people on the left side of political persuasion only want reform after their candidate or issue is voted down. Ultimately, the citizens of this Great State make the right decisions in the election of candidates. The citizens decided Linda Clifford was really a poor candidate undeserving of office, by her own ethical deficiencies. So you better believe many Wisconsin voters considered “liberal vs conservative” when they pulled the polling lever. Louis Butler, you’re next!

  3. Anon permalink
    November 21, 2007 1:07 PM

    dekerivers –

    I’m with you…and any conservative that knows what a conservative is should be with you in this matter. Moreover, anyone with any common sense should be with you in this. How can anyone be so stupid not to see the importance of what is going on here.

  4. November 21, 2007 11:37 AM

    Gary,

    I think you meant to post your thoughts under the Scott Jensen posts. The blog post here is about the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

    As to your question, I already answered that in past posts. I am a real Democrat in favor of reform.

    Any conservatives wish to join the cause?

  5. Anon permalink
    November 21, 2007 10:54 AM

    Well, at least we found the only “honest” conservative — the one who admits to not caring about dishonesty by conservatives.

    RW, if only you were the only one of your ilk. Instead, your numbers are sufficient to threaten the very Constitution.

  6. Gary Mason permalink
    November 21, 2007 10:00 AM

    What about the member of the UW board of regents from Sun Prairie that ran illegal campaign operations out of his capital office and then became ambassador to Norway? Or is that OK if he agrees with your agenda.

  7. November 20, 2007 10:47 PM

    It seems that you missed the point of the blog post. The issue is not conservative or liberal, but the foundation of what constitutes a clean and ethical judiciary.

    Furthemore, I find it deplorable that a conservative would feed me a line of political crap about an issue that stikes at the very heart of a working democracy. I understand that conservatives no longer care about clean government, or the process of open and fair courts, but to be so blatant about it is shocking.

    And I know real conservatives (the Barry Goldwater types) throw up over the young Turks that have taken over the GOP and have destroyed the real conservative model of government.

    To not care about a clean and ethical judicary……..wow….this last post shows us all a great deal.

  8. November 20, 2007 10:14 PM

    I think Judge Fine acted properly. Annette Ziegler is just the type of judge Wisconsin needs on the Supreme Court. Right now the court has too many liberals deciding cases.

  9. Anon permalink
    November 20, 2007 10:16 AM

    This is why Fine didn’t get elected to the state high court himself. We dodged that bullet, anyway.

    He would have brought down the state justice system from the inside. Now he has done it from his sour-grapes position on this committee.

  10. Anon permalink
    November 19, 2007 4:49 PM

    This strike me as a bolt of lighting that has disintegrated our rights in this state. It goes through my mind that it must be so common for them to cover for judges that they think its alright to do in it public.

    I’ve heard that good lawyers have or are getting out and if thats true I can see why. I pity the people that are the victims of this system…

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