Boots & Sabers

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0842, 07 Dec 14

Reforming John Doe

Good. The abuses of this process by the Milwaukee District Attorney has shown that this needs serious reform.

Republican lawmakers are considering changes to Wisconsin’s “John Doe” law after two lengthy investigations into Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign, and aides have raised questions about how long and how widely such secret probes should go and whether they violate civil rights.

State Rep. David Craig, R-Town of Vernon, is leading the effort to write a bill that would provide “additional layers of judicial review so we don’t have prosecutions run amok.” Craig said he worries about whether the process adequately protects citizens’ rights to due process, privacy and free speech and against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Conservatives alarmed about four years of investigation into the activities of Walker and his associates — including searches of targets’ homes and businesses — will likely be joined by defense attorneys concerned about the amount of power that prosecutors hold in John Doe investigations, said Tony Cotton, president-elect of the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Given that Wisconsin is the only state in the union with such a process and the other 49 states get along just fine without it, the legislature should just get rid of the thing altogether. If a prosecutor has evidence to charge a person with a crime, then they can do it and all of the normal court rules apply. If the prosecutors don’t have enough evidence to bring charges, then they can move on to more productive activities. Done.


0842, 07 December 2014

1 Comment

  1. Steve Austin

    I agree with you Owen. Don’t modify the law, just scrap it. If 49 states have survived without one, we can as well.

    For anyone who thinks we still need it, blame John Chisholm and the anti-Act 10 crowd for using it to over-reach.

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