I still think that the legislature should have scrapped the John Doe process in its entirety, but after being reminded what damage a corrupt, zealous prosecutor can do, I’m not going to worry over the fact that they may have to work a bit harder to prove a case.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A new Wisconsin law limiting secret John Doe probes doesn’t mean prosecutors’ days of pursuing political corruption are over. But their remaining tools have limitations that may make it more difficult, especially in complex cases, legal experts say.
Prosecutors and investigators will have to turn to old-fashioned detective work or the state’s little-used grand jury procedure to build their cases, presenting problems for overworked district attorneys who may not have the time to dig through misconduct allegations outside of the John Doe process, they say.
“You don’t have a cop bringing in the case on a platter to you,” said Ray Dall’Osto, a Milwaukee defense attorney who described himself as leaning Democratic. “There’s going to be a tendency that these DAs are focused on immediate issues, like crimes of violence. The DAs are going to have to be more creative.”
Wisconsin is the only state with John Doe proceedings. They’re similar to grand jury proceedings. Prosecutors can present evidence in secret and compel witnesses to testify in secret before a judge.