MADISON, Wisc. (CN) – Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser will not face criminal charges after being accused of putting fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in a “chokehold” in June.
According to Wisconsin media reports, Prosser and Bradley had argued in the presence of other justices about the ruling that decided the fate of Gov. Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill the day before the ruling was issued.
At the time of the accusations, Bradley said, “The facts are that I was demanding that he get out of my office and he put his hands around my neck in anger in a chokehold.”
Prosser, a conservative Republican who narrowly kept his seat in an April election, vehemently denied the accusation. His supporters claim that Bradley attacked him and he was simply defending himself.
The case was passed through numerous offices for investigation. It originally was assigned to the Capitol Police, who then turned it over to the Dane County Sheriff’s Office for the preliminary phase. Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne was to take over from there, but he sought recusal and asked a judge to appoint a special prosecutor. Ultimately, Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett – a Republican – was assigned to the investigation.
In a letter to Dane County Circuit Chief Judge William Foust and District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, Barrett wrote: “After a complete review of the documents and photos, listening to the audio interview and meeting with Det. Hansen, I have determined that no criminal charges will be filed against either Justice Bradley or Justice Prosser for the incident on June 13, 2011.”
Prosser said he was “gratified” with the results – then proceeded to scorch Bradley, saying: “Justice Ann Walsh Bradley made the decision to sensationalize an incident that occurred at the Supreme Court. This matter has now been reviewed by Dane County Sheriff’s Department detectives, the Dane County District Attorney and an appointed independent special prosecutor. Today, the investigation of the incident has been completed. I was confident the truth would come out – and it did.”
In her own statement, Justice Bradley said, “I contacted law enforcement the very night the incident happened but did not request criminal prosecution. Rather, I sought law enforcement’s assistance to try to have the entire court address informally this workplace safety issue that has progressed over the years.”
Prosser was re-elected in April to a 10-year term. Bradley’s term is up in 2015.