Local expert weighs in on John Doe court ruling

CREATED May 7, 2014

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An expert on politics in Wisconsin is weighing in on the John Doe court ruling and what may happen next in the case.

UW-Madison Political Science professor Donald Downs calls the ruling an endorsement of free speech in the context of politics, elections and campaigns.

Downs also said he sees it as a sign courts are becoming more leery of the power of prosecutors in this area. He said the case has been going on and on.

"At some point that just raises problems for a free society," he said. "So I think the courts are sending a signal --  if you're going to be doing this you better play by the rules and not interfere with free speech."

Downs said this case includes three hot issues: Campaign finance, free speech and the effects on groups like Club for Growth.

If it's appealed, Downs feels it will go all the way to the Supreme Court and that the high court will likely uphold this ruling.