Saturday, August 27, 2011

Justice Prosser escapes criminal action

But dismissal of criminal complaint doesn't justify his psychological abuse

This week Special Prosecutor Patricia Barrett determined that no charges would be filed against Justice David Prosser with regards to the incident involving alleged violence against fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.

The incident in question occurred just before the State Supreme Court was set to release its ruling on the controversial budget repair bill, in which the majority opinion held that the State Senate acted accordingly when it violated open meeting laws.

Accounts of what exactly went down vary, but what is known is that Prosser put his hands on Bradley's neck, enough to "feel the warmth" of it (his own words) but did not squeeze or cause any physical harm to her.

However, with Prosser's history of losing control -- he once called Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a "bitch" and vowed to destroy Abrahamson -- it's clear that psychological harm has been done. After the incident, Bradley had to leave, distraught over what had happened.

As with most instances of abuse, it's not always about the physical but the mental control one has over another. Prosser may not have harmed Bradley in any noticeable way, but he's definitely made the Court a very worrisome place for any justice to be, especially the female members of the liberal bloc.

Another aspect that most abusers share is that they don't ever feel like they've done anything wrong. Following his leaving his office, by Prosser's own admission he refused to apologize because he didn't feel like he needed to. He also refused to apologize to Abrahamson for his calling her a bitch, saying that it was "entirely warranted."

This type of behavior isn't right, for anyone in any workplace, but especially for someone who serves as a member of a court. That Prosser refuses to apologize for his actions demonstrates serious character flaws for one of our State Supreme Court justices.

Remorse isn't only required when you cause physical harm but psychological harm as well. Prosser's actions may not warrant a criminal complaint, but they're certainly not excusable either.

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