Wisconsin Association for Justice Condemns Gableman Ad
Gableman ad full of misrepresentation and deception should be investigated by Judicial Commission
MADISON — The Wisconsin Association for Justice (WAJ) condemned the ad the Gableman Campaign released March 15 against Justice Louis Butler. “WAJ agrees with Citizen Action of Wisconsin and urges the Judicial Commission to investigate Judge Gableman for his violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct,” stated Muggli.
“The ad is full of misrepresentation and deception,” declared WAJ President Christine Bremer Muggli.
The ad began airing Friday in Milwaukee. The ad refers to Butler’s defense of Reuben Lee Mitchell, who was convicted of rape over 20 years ago when Butler worked for the Public Defenders office. The ad says that after Butler found a loophole in the law, the man molested another child.
“The clear implication of the ad is that, as a member of the Supreme Court, Justice Butler decided a case that allowed a rapist to offend again. The problem is the ad is a lie,” stated Muggli.
The Truth: Mitchell was convicted in 1985 of rape and sentenced to prison. Butler, then a public defender in Milwaukee, did not represent Mitchell at the trial. Butler did represent Mitchell in his appeal and won him a new trial after the appeals court said the trial court improperly admitted evidence, which the appeals court said undermined its confidence in the verdict. But the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned that decision and reinstated the conviction. Mitchell remained behind bars until 1992 when he was paroled. Mitchell then committed another rape and in 1995 he was sentenced to 40 years in prison. He remains in prison.
“Justice Butler wasn’t a judge when this case occurred, yet the ad misrepresents this fact. But the ad doesn’t stop there; it then distorts the facts by attempting to connect Justice Butler’s representation of Reuben Lee Mitchell with his release, where he committed another crime. Again there is no connection,” commented Muggli.
Muggli stated, “What is especially pernicious is the use of a split screen in the ad. The face of Justice Butler is placed next to the face of Reuben Mitchell, the defendant. The split image, which is out of focus, shows two African-American men wearing glasses. We concur with the comments of the Wisconsin Judicial Campaign Integrity Committee that the ad is an ‘offensive, race-baiting style reminiscent of the infamous “Willie Horton” advertisement from the 1988 presidential election campaign…’”
“The fact that Michael Gableman is a sitting circuit court judge and sunk to this level of deceit is inexcusable and deeply offensive to all fair minded people,” said Muggli. “Judges have a duty to uphold the law and make sure the public has confidence in the judicial system. This ad clearly violates any sense of propriety. The ad should immediately be pulled from the air. Judge Gableman has acted unethically and the Judicial Commission should take appropriate action as soon as possible,” concluded Muggli.