Several contentious court cases played out over the last several months, including two that struck down Wisconsin laws and one that characterized the John Doe investigation into the governor’s former staffers.
The voter ID law had been struck down by two circuit courts already, a move that the Attorney General appealed. In September, the Supreme Court declined to take up the voter ID cases until after the November elections, but legislators predict it will continue to be considered an important issue in the coming legislative session.
Many have opposed the voter ID law on the grounds that it suppresses voters, particularly students and low-income citizens.
In a major decision this September, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas struck down the law that limited collective bargaining for public employees in 2010. His ruling only applied to local government and school district employees, not state employees, and he chose not to stay it in mid-October.
As of last week, the John Doe investigation is still open, according to the judge who has been presiding over the investigation. The investigation has charged six people, four of them who were part of Gov. Scott Walker’s staff during his time as Milwaukee County Executive.
Walker has not yet been charged with anything. However, he held regular meetings with county staffers and those running his 2010 governor’s campaign, which a prosecutor revealed in late November.
Walker’s deputy chief of staff in his county office, Tim Russell, pleaded guilty to charges Nov. 29 after agreeing to a plea deal earlier that week. He was charged with embezzlement of more than $20,000 from a veteran’s organization that he was in charge of at the time.
In October, another one of Walker’s former aides, Kelly Rindfleisch, was sentenced to six months in jail for campaigning while on county time.
Two other aides will be sentenced next year, and a campaign donor was put on probation for two years. The trial for Russell’s domestic partner, whose unrelated child enticement charge was allegedly uncovered during the investigation, begins in January.