Monday, August 20, 2012

[Update] Walker's DOJ Crackin' Down at Capitol: Singers Next?

Last Friday, when Segway Jeremy Ryan went to a pretrial conference for 2 disorderly conduct tickets he received this summer at Wisconsin's Capitol in Madison, he was surprised to learn that Dane County DA's office was no longer involved.  Ryan was met on August 17, 2012, at the County Courthouse Wisconsin Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Donald V. Latorraca.

The first thing said was that Dane County would no longer be involved with Ryan's cases.  Ryan is convinced that the DA's office did not know anything about his cases being turned over to the state.  He reports that county officials were surprised to see that he was met there with state boys -- a fact that VOICES confirmed in a phone call to Dane County District Attorney Ismael R. Ozanne

When Ryan entered the Courthouse last Friday, he had been expecting to meet Dane County Assistant District Attorney Chris Freeman.  The second thing Latorraca told Ryan was that the state was not going to dismiss these charges -- Ryan has been cited 30 times since Wisconsin's Deceiver-in-Chief Gov. Scott" John Doe" Walker "dropped the bomb" after the Green Bay Packers 2011 Superbowl victory and he states that "many" have been dismissed.

The current charges stem from a claim by the Capitol Press Court that on July 3, 2012, he disturbed them -- a curious claim that three members of that crew have lied about before.  VOICES will, when the time is right, release some information that proves beyond a doubt that the credentialed press in the capitol are lying liars.  No one should be surprised at any misinformation or disinformation they "report".

The second ticket came after the democrats resumed control of the Senate and Ryan shot some video during a proceeding.  Since Latorraca was clear that he had no intention of working out an agreement of any sort with Ryan, a jury trial was immediately set up.  On the paperwork given to Ryan, Latorracca scrawled,
Parties were unable to resolve at this time.  Mr. Ryan has requested a trial.
Latorraca directly stated to Ryan that DOJ was involved in the case because Wisconsin Department of Administration got involved -- this is entirely inconsistent with State Law that does not give DOA the right to usurp legal authority by single-handedly asking the State's DOJ to intervene. 

A phone call to Dane County District Attorney Ismael R. Ozanne revealed the following information. 
  • Under Wisconsin Statute 165.25 1m, a request by a legislative branch or the Governor can result in DOJ getting directly involved in cases. 
    Represent state in other matters.  If requested by the governor or either house of the legislature, appear for and represent the state, any state department, agency, official, employee or agent, whether required to appear as a party or witness in any civil or criminal matter, and prosecute or defend in any court or before any officer, any cause or matter, civil or criminal, in which the state or the people of this state may be interested. The public service commission may request under s. 196.497 (7) that the attorney general intervene in federal proceedings. All expenses of the proceedings shall be paid from the appropriation under s. 20.455 (1) (d) .
  • While Ozanne indicated that VOICES was only the second person to call about this matter, shortly before hearing from our reporter, at 3:05 pm, Ozanna received an email from DOJ demanding a meeting on August 22 for the stated purpose of discussing the "situation" at the Capitol.  This will be the first time an official from the State has contacted the Dane County DA's office about how tickets and prosecutions are conducted by the Dane County DA's office.
Ozanne could not confirm who, either the Governor or Legislature, made the referral of a civil case directly to the state's most powerful legal beagles.  He did indicate to VOICES that he assumes this came from the Governor's office or one of the legislative branches.

In a WKOW news report aired at 6 pm tonight (August 20, 2012), Ozanne stated directly on-camera that he didn't know if either the Governor or legislator had intervened as Wisconsin Statue requires.

Ozzanne could not speak to the agenda on the upcoming August 22, 2012, meeting with Wisconsin DOJ.  He could not state whether a statement would be issued to the press afterwards.

The 6 pm WKOW report specifically mentioned that DOJ was targeting a man who has been chalking on the sidewalk and that was issued a ticket last week.  VOICES is following up with that individual who has indicated he would come in to our television news studio for a video interview. 

WKOW's report indicated that Wisconsin's Department of Administration is putting in force new "rules" and that DOJ was going to be involved with seeing they were enforced as law.  What WKOW did not tell viewers is that these "new rules" actually consisted of a 23 page document that rewrites State law in a manner that literally gives the state authority to use "any and all" actions, up-to and including death, to enforce an entirely new permitting policy now required for all groups of more than 3 people on any state property.

"Segway" Jeremy Ryan told WKOW that he believes the crackdown will be directed at the Mon-Friday noon sing along that still occurs each weekday in the rotunda (Note:  Fridays are outside and feature the accompaniment of musicians).  The local television news team picked up on that in their 6 pm report, specifically mentioning that it appeared DOJ was going to be involved with a crackdown on the singers.

Potentially, the move by DOJ will have serious ramifications to all that visit the Capitol as the 23 pages of "rules" that DOA actually applies to each and every group of three or more.  Details are emerging, but no one will talk about the upcoming meeting Wednesday (8/22) between DOJ and the Dane County DA's office.

Concerned citizens may want to call either office, though it appears only Ismael R. Ozanne is willing to acknowledge the existance of this meeting and claims he has no details as to what DOJ will say.  Ozanne has also indicated he does not know if the statue that would enable DOJ to get involved was properly invoked, but that he assumes it has.

Clearly, if proper authorities are going to turn cases over to the State Department of Justice, there is a need for the public to be fully informed as to who initiated this action and on what authority they claim the right to do so.  DOA works closely with the Governor's office, but does not have the right to interject the state's most powerful attorneys into Dane County affairs.

Contact information for the DA's office is:

Dane County District Attorney’s Office
Dane County Courthouse
215 S. Hamilton St. #3000
Madison WI 53703-3297
Phone     (608) 266-4211
Fax     (608) 267-2545
Email     danecoda@da.wi.gov 

This breaking story does put anyone that visits the Capitol during the noon sing-along at risk.  WKOW is reporting that the Department of Justice is now directly involved in anything happened there that can be implied to related to the 23 pages of "rules" that DOA has maintained have the full-force of law.

Update:  This from WKOW Website:
MADISON (WKOW) -- In an unusual move, an assistant attorney general is prosecuting a civil case involving alleged disorderly conduct by a State Capitol protester, and there are indications the state Justice Department may become involved in other, similar prosecutions.
The defendant in the civil case, Jeremy Ryan, tells 27 News he believes the attorney general's involvement in the prosecution of his case represents a crackdown on protests by the Walker administration.
"To me, this looks like a political, legal hit job," Ryan said.
Since Governor Scott Walker introduced collective bargaining limits early last year, many protesters have been cited for non-criminal offenses, after allegedly refusing to leave the Capitol, holding signs in prohibited areas, and for other conduct. Cases have been prosecuted by the Dane County District Attorney's Office and by Madison's city attorney, depending on the type of violation and arresting police agency.
District Attorney Ismael Ozanne tells 27 News while some cases his office has handled have been dismissed, others have resulted in successful prosecutions, with fines assessed.
But Ryan, a frequent Capitol protester who uses a segway because of a medical condition, says he's been cited more than 30 times in the past two years, and nearly all his citations have been dismissed.
In another case filed this month against Steven J. Books for alleged lawbreaking on the Capitol grounds, records show his initial court appearance will take place on a day when assistant Dane County district attorneys are typically unavailable for such civil matters.
Ryan says using an assistant attorney general to prosecute his case also involves more state funds.
In an email, Justice Department spokesperson Dana Brueck says the citation was referred to DOJ after being issued by state capitol police.
Ozanne says for the attorney general to prosecute what's called a civil forfeiture case, it requires request from the governor or the legislature.
Department of Administration Spokesperson Stephanie Marquis deferred questions to State Capitol Police Chief David Erwin about whether DOA directed the prosecution.  When 27 News contacted Erwin, he deferred to deputy DOA secretary Chris Schoenherr, who has not responded to 27 News.
Ozanne says he will meet with Justice Department officials on the prosecution of civil violations at the State Capitol on Wednesday.
"When individuals or groups violate the law, they take away the rights of other citizens to use and enjoy the capitol," Brueck wrote.
Ryan says his July citation involved his presence in the gallery of the state senate chambers with a camera and a placard.
Rules reinforced by DOA officials earlier this year could be interpreted to brand gatherings of the long-standing, daily capitol protest sing-a-long as violations.
Brueck did not address whether justice department involvement has been requested for potential violation by the singers.
WKOW video report HERE

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