Justice Prosser demands rivals quit discipline case

CREATED Apr. 12, 2012 - UPDATED: Apr. 12, 2012

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MADISON- Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser wants a colleague he's accused of choking to recuse herself from his discipline proceedings.

The Wisconsin Judicial Commission has accused Prosser of violating the judicial ethics code when he allegedly choked Justice Ann Walsh Bradley during an argument last year. Prosser maintains Walsh Bradley charged him and he defended himself.

Three appeals court judges will make a recommendation on discipline to the Supreme Court.

Prosser filed a formal motion Thursday asking Walsh Bradley not to participate, saying she's a witness and has orchestrated a public relations campaign against him.

Meanwhile, the Journal Sentinel reports that Prosser said in his filings that Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson had to recuse herself because she witnessed it and is biased against him.

Messages left with at the Supreme Court's offices seeking Walsh Bradley's response weren't immediately returned.

Bradley released a statement about that formal motion:

As I said when the Wisconsin Judicial Commission filed its charges of judicial misconduct against Justice Prosser, I am disappointed by this entire episode. The anger and accusations contained in his latest filing and his past attacks on the integrity of the Judicial Commission cause me great concern.  Justice Prosser's motion is rife with inaccurate statements and unfounded attacks.  In my 27 years on the bench, I have handled thousands of cases, each different than the next.  The unifying thread has been my commitment to ensuring a fair day in court for every litigant.  I have watched with great concern the erosion of public trust and confidence that results when judges decline to step down from cases in which they have an interest.  And I am not alone.  Citizens across this state and media and court observers around the country have expressed this same concern most notably, the New York Times, which ran an editorial that called into question the impartiality of two of my colleagues.  It took one to task for her failure to remove herself from a case, calling it an "astounding disregard for legal ethics and every litigants right to impartial justice." I have dedicated myself to deciding cases in a fair, neutral, impartial and non- partisan manner.  Accordingly, I will apply those principles when I file my written response to Justice Prosser's motion and I urge my colleagues to come back to the table and work on developing an objective process for review of recusal decisions by individual justices so that we can begin to offer the people of this great state a real safeguard against judicial bias.