Scooter scoots free

Scooter once again proved that he is above the law in getting a in a sweet deal with his home town prosecutor, convicted felon Scooter Jensen avoided jail. The journal sentinel has a pretty good rundown of the events:

Jensen was charged in 2002 with misconduct in public office on accusations of using state resources and state workers to campaign for Assembly Republicans in 1998 and 2000 elections. Four other legislative leaders from both parties were charged around the same time. All but Jensen accepted plea agreements.

In 2006, a Dane County jury convicted Jensen of three felonies and a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison but was allowed to remain free while appealing the case.

The state Appeals Court overturned the felony convictions in late 2007 and ordered a new trial, in part because Jensen was barred at trial from testifying about his understanding of whether Democratic leaders also were using state resources to campaign. Jensen wanted to testify about that to show that his use of state resources for campaigns put him on an even footing with Democrats, rather than giving him a dishonest advantage.

Jensen did not appeal his misdemeanor conviction.

The new trial was put on hold while Jensen, of Brookfield, argued that the case should be moved to Waukesha County. In general, trials are held where crimes are alleged to have occurred. But the Legislature rewrote the law in 2007 to say politicians charged with ethics violations would be tried in their home counties.

Even the right wing Wisconsin State Journal thinks scooter got off easy.

A couple of personal observations here:

* Scooter is the example of how badly we need “tort reform”. This convicted felon was allowed to walk free because he got off on a technicality!

* it also shows how poor our election process is that we have to say he can never run for office again. You would think being an elected official. who showed he had no ethics and morals whatsoever, and showed a complete lack of respect for taxpayer money and the democratic process has to be barred from running again. You would think it was a given…


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11 thoughts on “Scooter scoots free

  1. Yes, that technicality of being able to testify on your behalf. That certainly needs to be changed.

  2. PP- I understand your point of injustice and agree. I would like to make two comments:

    The first is that the reason for an appeal is that somebody was convicted (or judged) and possibly wrongly convicted (or judged). So in essence, all appeals impact a convicted (or judged) person. (This is a simple explanation for which there are exceptions that I am unable to easily explain and others may do it better.)

    Secondly, I think tort reform means something a little different than what you think. Here is how WikiP defines it:

    From Wiki:
    “Tort reform refers to proposed changes in the civil justice system that would reduce tort litigation or damages. Tort is a system for compensating wrongs and harm done by one party to another’s person, property or other protected interests (e.g. reputation, under libel and slander laws). Tort reform advocates focus on personal injury in particular.

    In the United States tort reform is a contentious political issue. US tort reform advocates propose, among other things, procedural limits on the ability to file claims, and capping the awards of damages.”

    I am confident that others can explain this better than I can so I’ll step aside now. I may also be incorect on this but I am open to being schooled.

    1. You’re too modest, PB. You’re right – tort reform has nothing to do with the case.

      That Jensen’s conviction was overturned is irrelevant to PP. He is forever a convicted felon. Wondering if that applies to everyone who has a conviction overturned or just people he doesn’t like.

  3. I guess now you have to stop calling him a convicted felon. The only “technicality” is that every Speaker before him was never charged for doing the very same thing.

      1. “The state Appeals Court overturned the felony convictions.” He only has the misdemaenor. That doesn’t qualify as a “convicted criminal.” And Scott Walker isn’t going to pardon him. Jensen would have to file and petition for a pardon and he’s not going to do that.

  4. forgot, the everyone else is doing it defense does not work for my 7 year old so it should not work for one of the top lawmakers in the state. If “everyone” else was doing it, maybe he should of turned them in on his own and not done it!

    Locke, it depends on the reason they got their conviction overturned and the crime. Every case is different. To me personally one of the MOST appalling crimes is messing with democracy!

    1. I’m not saying everyone else was doing something bad, so it was ok. I’m saying what was done was accepted common practice, even by the media. It was unfair to all of a sudden pick on the guys who happened to be in office at a certain time.

  5. So am I to assume in your collective defense of Scott Jensen that you condone the behavior he and other lawmakers engaged in?

    1. To some extent. Their jobs are political in nature so you can’t expect that not to be an element of their jobs. Chvala was doing pay for play though (give me $ and I will pass your bill), and that’s a different story. No one ever alleged Jensen or any of the others of doing that.

  6. The Captimes had a nice follow up to this story:

    If Scott Jensen had accepted his punishment, or shown any remorse, he might be a good candidate for a pardon.

    But the disgraced former Assembly speaker has not been rehabilitated. He remains every bit as determined to corrupt the politics of the state as he ever was; in fact, in this year’s state legislative elections, he was busily organizing “independent expenditures” from the pools of cash provided by out-of-state special interests that wanted to buy control of state government.

    So it is good that Republican Gov.-elect Scott Walker has indicated that he will not consider pardoning Jensen — with whom Walker once served in the Legislature.

    Walker reportedly shook his head when asked Tuesday whether he would ever consider pardoning Jensen, and suggested that “the criminal justice system has worked its way out.”

    That’s not quite true. Jensen and his lawyers gamed the system to get the former speaker off with a fine rather than anything akin to genuine accountability.

    That was Jensen’s Christmas gift.

    He has not earned a pardon — or any other favors — from the people of Wisconsin.

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