Thursday, November 12, 2009

Scooter Jensen: STILL Not In Prison

If you’re reading this Thursday morning, the Jensen clock on the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s Big Money Blog has just ticked over to 2,582 days. That’s how long it’s been since Scooter Jensen was criminally charged with misconduct in public office.

The Democracy Campaign is keeping track of this, because Scooter’s case is one of the worst examples of how money and influence can “game” the justice system. It’s been over seven years since he was charged with using state-paid employees to work on political campaigns, something expressly forbidden by state law.

Scooter’s defense? Everybody else was doing it (namely, the Democrats), and that’s what led the state’s highest court to decide Tuesday that he may well yet get still another trial, on his home turf, in Waukesha County.

To my way of thinking, saying “everybody else was doing it” is an admission of guilt, not a defense.

When the state Supreme Court eventually gets around to making a decision on still another trial for Jensen, whose expensive lawyer argued his client should get a new trial so he can introduce evidence that he wasn’t the only one breaking the law, it may well be a 3-3 vote. Justice Prosser won’t be allowed to vote on this one. Justice Prosser was a character witness for Jensen in one of the many earlier legal rounds.

Not to get too far ahead of the story, but if the state Supreme Court ends up tied 3-3, the decision of the lower court will be affirmed, and Jensen will end up being tried (again) here in Dane County. That decision is probably a few months away.

Maybe the State Journal was right, when it editorialized yesterday that no matter what the Supreme Court decides, or doesn’t decide, Scooter has already lost the case in the court of public opinion. The paper says “regardless of the outcome, he will never be able to dodge disgrace”.

I hope they’re right.

The case is unusual. It’s been so long since Scooter was charged, that the state legislature has passed new laws which Scooter’s expensive lawyer says should apply. Dane County D-A Brian Blanchard, the prosecutor, says the laws that were in effect when Scooter was charged should apply. Seems simple to me. It’s not Blanchard’s fault the case has dragged on for years.

All the other politicians charged with Scooter in the so-called “caucus scandal” have been to trial or done their deals and have served their sentences.
But Scooter has gamed the system very well, delaying, denying, and using campaign money to pay the huge legal bills.

Eventually, though, he will have his FINAL day in court on this matter. For the people of the State of Wisconsin, that day can’t come soon enough.


  1. What makes you think Justice Prosser won't be allowed to vote on this one? Who will make him recuse himself? As we've recently seen, the state's highest court is unconcerned about conflicts of interest (or ethics).

  2. He already has recused himself, Jill.

  3. Shouldn't the title have been "Still not convicted" or "Still no fair trial"?