September 2, 2014

Justice accuses colleague of ‘history of abusive behavior’

Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley accuses her colleague David Prosser of a “history of abusive behavior” so severe that she and the chief justice “continue to lock ourselves inside our private offices” while working alone after hours out of fear for their physical safety due to Justice Prosser’s “increasingly agitated behavior.”

Court documents released today show a plan was devised by law enforcement for enhanced security — two months before Prosser was accused of putting his hands around Bradley’s neck during an argument over a controversial case. Prosser was not charged in the incident.

Bradley made the accusations in a decision granting Prosser’s motion for her to recuse herself from his discipline case filed by the Judicial Commission. Bradley wrote she had not commented on what happened in the June 2011 incident out of respect for the process.

But she said, over the past nearly two years, some of her colleagues have voiced their opinions in “national, state, and local press spinning the facts.”

Specifically, she took aim at Justice Pat Roggensack, who is up for re-election this spring with the primary taking place on Tuesday. Bradley noted Roggensack’s comments that the justices “are doing just fine” and are “working well together,” saying it “strains credulity that a justice on our court would be perpetuating the myth that our issues of workplace safety and work environment have somehow healed themselves.”

Bradley said, “This is and remains for me an issue of workplace safety.” Bradley emailed all the justices, including Roggensack, explaining that “regardless of our disagreements, there is no justification for this abusive behavior,” but nothing happened in response to that communication.

Bradley says the process for disciplining justices needs to be reformed, saying the current system puts justices sitting in judgement of their closest colleagues.