Just before Christmas, One Wisconsin Now released information confirming that a state Supreme Court judge appointed by the infamous Scott Walker, provided fraudulent documents in response to a public records request.
MADISON, Wis. — Based on her comments in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Rebecca Bradley, appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court by Gov. Scott Walker in September, violated the state’s open record laws by providing falsified calendars to One Wisconsin Now in response to a request for her work calendar. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross said the organization is consulting with legal counsel about potential action against Walker’s thrice-appointed judge.Fast forward to last week. Judge Randall Warner issued a ruling on disclosure issues for Stump.
Here's the five page ruling with key excerpts below for your reading pleasure.
Plaintiff Peterson brought this special action alleging that Defendants failed to produce and/or preserve public records. At issue are text messages on Arizona Corporation Commissioner Robert Stump’s government-issued phone. Plaintiff alleges that at least some of the text messages concern Commission business and, therefore, are public records.
Commissioner Stump concedes he regularly deleted text messages from his phone, but claims none of the deleted texts was a non-privileged public record he was required to preserve. Despite being deleted, some of those texts have been forensically recovered. The Attorney General’s office, as part of an investigation concerning a different Commissioner, examined Commissioner Stump’s phone and recovered several thousand deleted messages.That's the first two paragraphs, the judge's summary of the background of the case. Now, we're supposed to take Stump at his word that he was telling the truth... that it was just peachy for him to delete the text messages.
Does that jibe with exercise of authority (power) by elected government officials (in our country or any other country) throughout history? As Dr. Cornel West is known to say, "I was born at night, but not last night."
The ruling continues:
... the court has no authority to simply adopt the Special Master’s report. Rather, it must review factual findings under the clearly erroneous standard and legal conclusions de novo. Ariz. R. Civ. P. 53(h). See also Griffis v. Pinal County, 215 Ariz. 1, 3, 156 P.3d 418, 420 (2007) (whether a document is a public record is a question of law). It cannot do this without reviewing disputed records.That's where Stumpy where wants to hide important parts of the judge's decision. Ol' Bob just wanted the whole matter to go away and claimed that could and would be the case if the Special Master's report were simply just adopted by the court.
Yet it would be inappropriate for the court to review all recovered text messages in the first instance to decide which are even responsive to Plaintiff’s request. The court understands why the parties wanted a neutral to do this, but their agreement does not obviate their obligations under the public records statutes. Rather, the Attorney General as custodian must first identify which text messages are responsive, and which constitute public records and/or are privileged. Only after doing this is an in camera review by the court appropriate.
The court will therefore order the Attorney General, in cooperation with Commissioner Stump and the Commission, to determine which recovered text messages are responsive to Plaintiff’s request, and of those which are public records and/or privileged. The court will then review the records that are in dispute. Because whether a record is public or privileged is a legal question, there is no benefit to having the Special Master involved further at this time.What did Stump have to say about Warner's decision?
What kind of fools does Stump take his Twitter followers to be?Do-over by their "expert"? Denied. Court admonishment of Stump? Denied. C&B calls this "a step backward for Commissioner Stump." Amazing.— Bob Stump (@BobStump) March 11, 2016
You'd think Stump has never been to court before. Does Trash Burner Bob really believe this is over? Does he really believe the Checks and Balances Project suffered a defeat when Warner issued a ruling that might make King Solomon praise its wisdom?
Or, is Bob simply dangling shiny objects in front of unsuspecting fans who don't have the experience or judgment to read between the lines? I'll go with another conclusion. It looks like wishful thinking and the Stumpy is trying to convince himself.
Scott Peterson said this in a release,
“Today’s court ruling is a step backward for Commissioner Stump and those who want to diminish the public’s right to know what their elected officials are doing.
“The defendants wanted our lawsuit dismissed, but the court said no. Commissioner Stump must be concerned as the judge has not said Stump’s phone cannot be reexamined. He said no facts have been developed yet and the defendants have not answered our complaint.”
It's not implausible to see that additional forensic examination of Stump's phone in the future, conducted by the expert engaged in the Jodi Arias trial, supervised by the Attorney General.
What's clear so far is that the judge isn't buying Stump's bullshit.
Some of you probably already know that Bernie Sanders will be in Phoenix for a rally tomorrow (evening) at the Phoenix Convention Center. Unlike the rally last summer, everyone entering will have to pass through a secret service security check (similar to court access, or airports). The last time I went through one of those was when President Obama spoke in August 2013 at Desert Vista High School in Ahwatukee. It DID take hours to get through security at that event. And there were not 10,000 plus in attendance.
So, please come. Please prepare. Don't bring any bags. Doors open at 1 p.m. It might be a good idea to arrive by 3 p.m. I haven't been able to find any more specific information than that.