MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin Judicial Commission asked the Supreme Court Friday to proceed with a disciplinary case against Justice David Prosser.
The commission filed a request for the justices to form a panel of appellate judges. That group would consider the commission’s complaint against Prosser and recommend what, if any, punishment the Supreme Court should impose.
Three ethics charges were filed in March against Prosser, for allegedly putting a choke hold on fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley last June – and for allegedly making a derogatory remark to Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson in 2010.
Prosser has asked his fellow justices to withdraw from the case, saying all but one were direct witnesses to the Bradley incident – and therefore, they could not be fair in deciding Prosser’s fate.
Justice Pat Roggensack, part of the court’s conservative majority along with Prosser, has said she would withdraw. If two others do the same, Prosser could escape punishment because there would not be enough justices left to decide his case.
Some doubts have been expressed as to whether the court even has the authority to form the appellate panel – but Judicial Commission attorney Franklyn Gimbel says the law requires the panel to be formed.
Gimbel has said the justices could also decide Prosser’s fate under a “rule of necessity,” in which recusals are waived if no one else can decide a case. But Roggensack says the rule cannot be invoked on judges who are material witnesses.