Justice Crooks refuses to recuse himself from Prosser discipline case
Post by Emily Mills on 6/28/2012 10:00am
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Patrick Crooks has declined to recuse himself from a judicial ethics case regarding colleague Justice David Prosser.
In a decision released late Wednesday Crooks argued that the "Rule of Necessity" means that he is duty bound to sit on the case because the Supreme Court is the "only available tribunal to make a final determination regarding appropriate discipline."
At least four justices must be present for a quorum to be in place to hear cases. So far only Justice Patience Roggensack, along with Prosser himself, are the only two who have recused themselves from this case.
Crooks cited a great deal of case law to back his assertion, and also noted that the motion for recusal filed by Prosser's attorneys was "premature."
"...the judicial discipline statutes, Wis. Stat. 757.81 through 757.99, do not require this court to act at this stage in the proceedings."
The statutes require that, once the Wisconsin Judicial Commission filed its formal complaint against Prosser and then did not request a jury trial, the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals create a judicial conduct panel comprised of three judges.
"Despite the statute's requirement," Crooks wrote, "no panel has been selected."
Instead, the Judicial Commission has filed a motion with the Supreme Court asking that it initiate the selection of the three-judge panel, the current lack of which order Court of Appeals Chief Judge Richard Brown has cited as his reason for not yet forming the panel.
The case against Prosser stems from two separate alleged incidents: Prosser's putting his hands around the neck of Justice Ann Walsh Bradley on June 13, 2011 - and a prior incident wherein Prosser said to Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson after a closed conference, "You are a total bitch."
Crooks notes that he was not present during the incident involving Justice Bradley.
Emily Mills is Editor-At-Large for Dane101, as well as Editor of Our Lives Magazine. She is also a freelance writer, photographer, actor, and musician (drummer and singer in local band Little Red Wolf). Originally from several states up and down the Midwest Emily has called Madison home since 2000. Contact her at