25 Mar

Loophole Louie Lying About His Record?

Judge Louis Butler is running for re-election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. And those who have followed his legal career know him as Loophole Louie, because he is so pro-criminal, looking for any loophole or technicality that will allow the criminal to get off scott free.

But now that it’s election time, Louie knows that being so ridiculously liberal and pro-criminal will not go over well with the voters. And apparently he’s decided to deal with this by lying about his record.

Thankfully, Jessica McBride is onto the scam and is posting about it on a blog she started just for election issues, called Election Watch Wisconsin.

Here’s what Jessica reports…

On March 18th she wrote about the phony statistics Butler is using regarding his record related to criminals:

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler has repeatedly told the news media that he sided against defendants 75 percent of the time in criminal cases before the Supreme Court, but when Butler was pressed to back up his rhetoric with facts, Butler gave the media a list of cases used to calculate the percentage and the numbers don’t add up.

But the media who received this list haven’t reported it. To those reporters who haven’t received the list, ask for it, and check it out.

I’ve obtained the list and verified it was sent directly from Butler’s campaign to a media outlet.

An analysis of the list of criminal cases provided to a reporter by Butler’s campaign, reveals that Butler outright and undeniably misrepresents his decisions in numerous cases decided by the court. In addition, Butler misclassifies civil commitments and a juvenile adjudication as criminal cases, and further omits criminal cases in which he clearly favored the criminal.

Butler’s 75% figure is based on outright inaccuracies in the facts and law. When will the media report it?

Quite simply put, the case list Butler gave to the media was false. It was incomplete because it omitted certain cases in which Butler sided with the criminal. (This would falsely make his record look “better” in the eyes of the voters, as they want judges to rule against criminals.)

The list also includes cases in which the Butler campaign says he ruled against the criminals, when he in fact ruled in favor of them.

Jessica says:

In State v Eric Raye, Butler specifically told the media that he upheld the conviction when he actually ruled that the defendant should get a new trial.

In State v Brockdorf, Butler indicated that his ruling allowed evidence to be used against the defendant when he actually ruled to suppress the evidence – the defendant’s statements to internal affairs – in a dissent that sided with the defendant.

Don’t believe me. Check out the actual decisions here and here.

And she goes through several other cases that she believes were clearly misclassified by Butler.

After Jessica reported this, the Butler campaign issued a “revised” list that supposed corrects the problems with the original list, which they conveniently referred to as a “draft” list. (I don’t know about you, but with an issue as serious as this, I don’t think anyone in their right mind would really issue a “draft” list to the media. I think this is a convenient cover.)

Jessica says: “… but the second list is also riddled with factual and legal errors, and almost no one’s reporting that Butler is misleading the public with a number he can’t back up.”

She also goes on to say:

The public should know that the candidate is giving out a false number to make himself seem less pro-criminal defendant than he is. Maybe someone in the media can track down Janine Geske over at Marquette and see if she thinks it’s “awful” that Butler is misrepresenting the court’s decisions with factual and legal errors, such as classifying sexual predator civil commitments as criminal convictions and completely reversing the court’s actual rulings in some cases.

Claiming that cases are criminal that the court and law don’t identify as criminal matters because: 1, Butler misleadingly identifies them as criminal, when they are not; and 2, He doesn’t include all of the cases that have some arguably criminal element but are not classified as criminal by the court, so it’s doubly misleading. This doesn’t mean that some of those cases, such as his decision on sex predator Richard Brown, don’t warrant public attention. It means Butler shouldn’t selectively include them in a statistic he defines as representing all “criminal” cases.

The Butler campaign now claims its first list, provided to the Associated Press a week ago after the campaign and candidate had already repeatedly used the 75% number in the media, was a “draft” that they’ve now “revised”, according to WKOW-TV.

[snip]

But the second Butler list, which I’ve now also obtained and reprint above, is just as legally and factually inaccurate as the first. It omits multiple criminal cases, including a very prominent one, mis-classifies civil commitments and a juvenile adjudication as criminal convictions (serious errors in the law), outright screws up court decisions, and misleads the public in other ways. The list corrected some of the errors on the first list, but kept and added in others, begging the question of why the Butler campaign can’t keep its facts straight.

It’s a violation of the state’s Judicial Code for a judge to misrepresent the facts, as Butler’s campaign does in these lists.

The second list even states that one decision was “pro police”, when Butler actually sided against prosecutors in the decision, ruling that they shouldn’t be able to use incriminating statements against a Milwaukee police officer who was charged with a crime relating to a police brutality case, then trying to couch the decision in pro police language.

[snip]

But the campaign can’t back the 75% number up, the media know it, and the media aren’t correcting the record. All they have to do is ask the Butler campaign for the list and check it out. Oops that’s right. Some of them already have it.

How many chances does Butler get to back up his number? How many different numbers is he allowed to give before the media call him on it? (He’s also used 98% and 97% by expanding the pool to cases the court didn’t even agree to review).

Meanwhile, the media have accused challenger Michael Gableman of “misleading” the public.

I believe the real number is the nearly 60% pro criminal figure used by an anti Butler group in advertisements – a number that Butler is frantically trying to muddy.

And again Jessica goes through a list of cases that are either clearly misreported by the Butler campaign or conveniently omitted.

So it seems clear… Butler is making claims that the facts do not support, and even when this is pointed out, he and his campaign continue to make blatantly false claims about his record.

Did I miss it, or has the media been unusually silent on this issue?

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