The chief prosecutor in Sauk County will decide whether criminal charges will be filed in a reported physical altercation between State Supreme Court Justices David Prosser and Ann Walsh Bradley. Dane County judge William Foust named Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett today as a special prosecutor.
Bradley has said that fellow justice Prosser put her in a choke-hold in her office on June 13th, but other reports said Bradley merely put up her fists and Prosser moved them aside. The incident was said to happen the night before the Supreme Court announced its decision to uphold the law that limits collective bargaining by most public employee unions.
Sheriff’s investigators referred the matter to Dane County D.A. Ismael Ozanne late last month without recommending charges. Ozanne then asked for the special prosecutor, saying he didn’t want people to assume that politics would play a role in a decision on charges. Ozanne was a key player in the lawsuit that sparked the alleged confrontation.
Ozanne had asked a circuit judge to strike down the law because of an open meetings law challenge, but the Supreme Court later ruled against the D.A. in a sharply-divided 4-to-3 decision.