Lester Pines, Judge Higginbotham Falsifying the Record and Suppressing Judicial Democracy in Wisconsin

Few attorneys can claim insider status to the degree of Lester Pines of Cullen, Weston, Pines & Bach.  His wife, Roberta Gassman, served two terms in Democratic Governor James Doyle’s cabinet as the secretary of the Department of Workforce Development.  She now serves the Obama administration in the Department of Labor.

Lester Pines was appointed by Governor Doyle on multiple matters to represent what Doyle considered to be the state’s interest.  Pines currently represents legislative Democrats in the re-districting battle.  In addition, Pines often represents state employees, sometimes even against the State of Wisconsin.

Lester Pines was and is the attorney for Dane County ADA Paul Humphrey.  Last week after the Supreme Court rendered its decision on Humphrey’s OLR matter, Pines, the ultimate Democratic insider, was quoted as saying that the ultimate Republican Supreme Court Justice, David Prosser, when it came to Humphrey, “dissent(ed) from the majority’s opinion that a suspension of Atty. Humphrey is unwarranted and unfair.  I agree with Justice Prosser.”

Pines had a significant role in the OLR proceedings related to Raisbeck.  Later in Section III, the extraordinarily beneficial treatment that Humphrey received from OLR will be outlined and substantiated.  Set out below is Humphrey’s favorable treatment involving a Dane County judge blatantly falsifying the record in the context of being promoted by Governor Doyle.

Judge Paul Higginbotham, while the sitting judge in Raisbeck, made findings on multiple dates that ADA Humphrey fabricated to the court on evidence.  An evidentiary hearing was scheduled to address whether Krenz had committed perjury for Humphrey, what role Humphrey had in the removal of subpoenaed evidence, and to whether Humphrey was knowingly utilizing false expert analysis.

Persuaded by the Dane County DA’s Office that Judge Higginbotham had no authority to act upon prosecutorial misconduct, Judge Higginbotham reversed himself, and now held that evidence would not be taken.  This was in the context of Judge Higginbotham simultaneously seeking to be appointed to the Court of Appeals by Gov. Doyle.

Subsequent to cancelling the hearing, after Higginbotham applied for the Court of Appeals, but before Gov. Doyle made his decision; Judge Higginbotham reversed himself in part.  He now ordered that the Dane County DA’s office provide answers on a number of instances relating to prosecutorial misconduct, for which substantiating evidence had been submitted to the court.  The Dane County DA’s office refused to comply with Judge Higginbotham’s order.  Judge Higginbotham was appointed to the Court of Appeals, and he then let the matter drop.

Shortly after Judge Higginbotham was on the Court of Appeals, he obtained a special order from Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson permitting him to revisit the Raisbeck case.  Judge Higginbotham then revised his prior findings of Humphrey’s fabrications.  However, he also falsely claimed in his decision and order that he had never made any such findings to begin with.

The above has been known by the Wisconsin State Journal and other media outlets for years.  The above was brought immediately to the attention of Gov. Doyle, Chief Justice Abrahamson and other responsible officials.  No one acted then and no one has ever acted thereafter.  Surely there is a public interest in having the matter brought to light.  When Atty. Sommers ran for the Supreme Court in early 2007, he attempted to do so.

On his campaign website, www.SommersforSupremeCourt.com, which is still active, Atty. Sommers informed the public to how in Wisconsin judges are permitted to get away with falsifying the record.  One of the examples he used was Judge Higginbotham’s actions in Raisbeck. (See Attachment #82) (Actions that were subsequently conceded under oath by Judge Higginbotham – with Dee Hall present).  Atty. Sommers also gave on his website a detailed analysis to why innocent defendants plead out every day in Wisconsin courts. (See Attachment #83) And despite pressure to take these and other pieces down, they remain on the aforementioned website.

Can anyone oppose the public being informed to what was spelled out in attachment #82 and attachment #83?  Lester Pines does.  In fact, Lester Pines considered the two aforementioned pieces to be misconduct on the part of Atty. Sommers because they “are designed to deliberately undermine public confidence in the judiciary.  A public attack of this sort on the integrity of the courts is prohibited by the attorney’s oath and is a violation of SCR 20:8.4.”  (See Attachment #19)

Considering that the Attorney’s Oath requires an attorney to swear that he will uphold the constitution, it is difficult to see how anyone could consider exposing judicial misconduct and the circumstances that force innocent defendants to plead out, as being misconduct.  Is not this logic straight out of the Soviet Union versus America?  Lester Pines’ letter itself shows how far off the rails the Wisconsin legal mentality has gone.

While OLR has dragged its feet on prosecutorial misconduct on the part of the Dane County DA’s Office and ADA Humphrey, they did not drag their feet on Pines’ complaint.  His letter of February 5, 2007 prompted OLR beginning a preliminary investigation on Atty. Sommers on February 22, 2007. (See Attachment #20)

The Wisconsin State Journal was contemporaneously informed of what had taken place.  One would have thought they would have been interested in evidence of Wisconsin judges falsifying the record.  The answer is apparently, no.  One would have thought they would have been interested in why innocent defendants plead guilty in Wisconsin courts.  The answer is apparently, no.  One would have thought that they would have been interested in a powerful insider attorney and the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s in-house law firm trying to prevent these matters from being discussed in the most important state-wide judicial election.  The answer is apparently, no.  In fairness to them, there is no indication that any other mainstream media outlet would have been concerned.

That’s the reality of Wisconsin.

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