A former legislative leader has lost a decision in a long running legal battle. Former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen's new trial on political misconduct charges will again be held in Dane County. The state Appeals Court today denied his motion to move the trial to his hometown of Waukesha.
Could he try to cop a plea? "It's hard to know whether or not Jensen believes anything has changed, or he has different facts to present that would lead him to seek a plea deal," says Jay Heck heads Wisconsin Common Cause. "If he does go to trial again, I think it will be a reminder to people again, of the felony misconduct that occurred in this state."
Jensen and other legislative leaders were convicted of running political campaigns at taxpayers' expense. Jensen's as the only case which actually went to trial, but Jensen's convictions were overturned on a technicality. When will a retrial occur? That's anybody's guess, in the opinion of Mike McCabe with the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, who notes the case has now dragged on for years. "You have to go all the way back to October 18th of 2002," when Jensen was initially charged, says McCabe. "More than six years have passed, and his legal status still hasn't been resolved, and that is a travesty. This is a classic example of where justice delayed is justice denied."
If and when a trial takes place, Common Cause's Heck expects the outcome to be the same for Jensen: "my guess is that the outcome will be very similar to what we saw before. I don't think anything's changed." For his part, McCabe is incredulous at how long the case has dragged on. "Now it's not just Jensen's fault for really trying to drag out the process," says MaCabe. "I think now, you have to really look at the judges in this case, and ask why are the allowing this to go on like this."