Earlier this week the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of failed and disgraced politician Scott Jensen, who was convicted on three felony corruption charges in 2006. Jensen, former Speaker of the Assembly, was caught in the same investigation that took down four other politicians.
In case your memory has dimmed, since the probe began six years ago, Jensen was convicted on three counts of misconduct in office and an ethics violation. Two of his fellow Republicans, Steve Foti and Bonnie Ladwig, along with two other Democrats, Chuck Chvala and Brian Burke, reached plea deals.
But Scooter Jensen (he hates being called “Scooter”, by the way) was far more tenacious in holding off his jail term than the others. He’s spent enough money on lawyers to bail out a car company, and so far has managed to avoid a trip to the big house. In January, a state appeals court handed Jensen’s legal team a setback, saying Jensen’s case must stay in Madison, and not be moved to Waukesha.
He of course appealed that.
His legal eagles think Scooter will do better with a jury in the Republican stronghold of Waukesha, that he would here in the People’s Republic of Madison. He represented Waukesha in the legislature for 14 years.
It’s hard to keep the time-line straight in Scooter’s case. Busted in 2002, convicted in 2006, sentenced to prison; he appealed, and in 2007 a state appeals court granted him a new trial; his lawyers wanted it in Waukesha, but that appeals court said “no”, so now in 2009 the state Supreme Court will take a crack at the case.
For years, Scooter and his pals up there under the big top thumbed their nose at the taxpayers and disregarded the law, using state employees to do campaign work on state time, using state resources. While Scooter and Chuck Chvala were running things up there, our state government became one of the most corrupt, pay-to-play outfits in the nation. Both parties were guilty, both did the same unlawful and unethical things, and the main players have all paid the price.
It’s a good bet the gut-check judge and the other wholly-owned Republican judge are likely to cozy up to Scooter and see things his way. He’s probably got at least a couple sympathetic ears on the highest court. But I’m not foolish enough to predict what the justices of the highest court will do.
Scooter, it’s a 15 month sentence. You’re no G. Gordon Liddy, but you can do it. Better get ready.