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Former Wisconsin Representative Scott Jensen Still Playing Legal System

November 11, 2009

There has to be an end to the legal antics that Scott Jensen, the former Wisconsin Assembly Speaker can spin in his attempts to evade justice.  Right?  One would think so, but given the track record of this amazing and often-maddening case of twisted justice in Wisconsin there is little reason to think the costly legal maneuvers ends anytime soon.

Considering that Jensen was charged in 2002 for misconduct in public office for using tax-paid employees to do campaign work for Republican candidates on state time, and then found guilty of three felonies and one misdemeanor on March 11, 2006, only to see the court verdict thrown out on a technicality when a state appeals court ordered  a new trial should be enough theatrics for a barn-burner of a book.  But on Tuesday another chapter was added to this epic when Jensen’s legal team argued before the Supreme Court that the new trial should be held in Jensen’s home county.

The fact that criminals are tried in the county where they committed their offenses should stand in this case, in spite of a new law created in 2007 by the state legislature that allows for public officials charged with ethics violations to be tried in their home counties.  Jensen should not be grand-fathered into this new law that was drafted to curtail ethics problems in state government.

The fact is that during the time of the first trial, years before the new ethics law, attempts were made by Jensen to have his trial moved out of Dane County.  Seems that Scott Jensen is aware that his deeds, when presented to a jury of his peers, will be found running counter to the law.  And in fact that is exactly what happened in early 2006.

There have been two rulings against Jensen’s desire to have his new trial in Waukesha County.  First a Dane County judge, and then an appeals court both stated that the crimes Jensen engaged in were not of the type that were covered by the ethics law created in 2007.  Only crimes investigated by the state’s government accountability board qualify for trial in the home county of the subject in quesiton.  My question then for Scott Jensen and his legal team is why they think the literacy skills of the Supreme Court will be less than those of the appeals court?  The law as passed by the legislature when creating the Government Accountability Board will not be any different no matter how many courts read it.  (This also might be the time to ask who is paying for Scott Jensen’s legal bills, given that the lawyers are now just spitting into the wind hoping it sticks to something.)

There are two reasons that Jensen needs to stand trial again in Dane County, and face justice due to the gravity of his crimes.  The voters place responsibility upon the shoulders of, and entrust their faith to, a candidate at the time of election.  It is a bond that then requires elected officials to act with honor while in office.  When that trust is broken, as with Jensen, not only is the law violated, but the trust of the voter is shattered.  When that faith from the voters is replaced with doubt and cynicism our political institutions suffer.  Never once has  Scott Jensen acknowledged the corrosive effect his actions had on the political process.  That to me is almost as bad as the actual crimes he committed.

The second reason Jensen needs to stand trial in Dane County is one that harkens back to our civics books as school children.  While the legal safeguards are in place to ensure that a defendant has the right to pursue all the routes for a fair trial and due legal process, there is also the need for the state to see justice not perverted by legal slickness.  We all have reasons to be concerned when someone with the financial means uses the legal system to maneuver around justice, in an attempt to evade it.  And that is what Scott Jensen is doing.  Not attempting to do, but doing.  And we are witnessing it.

It is time for the Wisconsin Supreme Court to bring this stage performance by Scott Jensen to a close.  It is time that he faces justice for the illegal actions he took while ‘serving’ in the state assembly.

  1. Solly permalink
    November 12, 2009 9:55 AM

    I’ve always wondered how the people of Waukesha, presumably some of the most conservative in the state, could re-elect someone like Jensen, who thought it okay to spend hundreds of thousands of state tax dollars on blatant electioneering on state time. Is this the smaller gubment that the insurance agents, farmers, small businesspeople, doctors, etc of Waukesha County are clamoring for? Ol’ Scooter might be surprised if he tries to use the “everybody was doing it” defense in the land of the teabaggers. Today, it might not get any better reception there than it does with the GooGoos in Dane County.

    I worked at the Capitol in the early 80s, and then there was a bright line between doing your job providing constituent and legislative services and doing campaign work. You just didn’t do anything that could be construed as campaigning on state time, with state equipment from a state office. And the fact that in 2001 the caucus staffs took pains to hide campaign brochures when reporters went into the office, and took files home to burn them shows that they knew they were doing things that were illegal.

    It is encouraging to read Deke’s post and Mr. Gummitt’s response though.

    “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together”

  2. Ferrell Gummitt permalink
    November 11, 2009 9:50 AM

    Deke: This is all a load of crap. They play this judical shell game of I want my hearing here, under these conditions at this time, oh and I also want Evian water and brown M&M’s at my table.

    The state of WI needs to put the legal hammer down, get Scott Jensen’s appeal trial done and get the bastard off to jail.

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