An extrtaordinary courtroom audiotape of justice being served.

Georgia Thompson was ordered released from prison today, one day after a US Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the appeal of her federal conviction for fraud. Here is a background story by local TV station WISC.

Georgia Thompson was a WI state employee assigned to a committee to score bids on a contract award. She tried to convince her six fellow committee members to vote for a particular contract, which was in fact the low bid. After they scored the bids, there was a difference of .6 on a twelve hundred point scale between the top two bidders. She then tried, unsuccessfully, to convince her colleagues to change their scores, during a consideration period. Ultimately the contract was awarded, by someone higher up the food chain, to the bidder she endorsed. The business owners had made a campaign contribution a some point prior to this whole process 0to Democratic Governor Jim Doyle.

The judges did not stop at setting aside the conviction, they went to the pretty extraordinary length of directing her acquittal. As you can tell from the record, the judges unanimously concluded no crime had been committed. Actually, they do not explicity say this during the arguements, but it’s unambiguous that they believed it.

And here is an MP3 audiorecording of the oral arguements. It’s not terribly long for a complete legal proceeding, about 26 minutes.

I was enthralled by the case as laid out and argued, and the increasing exasperation of the judges to the poor bastard prosector who clearly hadn’t put much thought into his case. The defense attorney spoke first, and was so devastating that when the government attorney came up, he was on the defensive from the first sentence as the judges pummeled him with with questions he no satisfactory answers for.

This prosecution was so eqgregiously bad that it brings to mind a politicized Justice Department launching legal attacks on Democratic controlled government offices.

My favorite quote from the tape is after the justices characterize the close score as a “statistical tie” and made a few comments about significant digits. The prosecutor pipes up and says that the other committee members didn’t think it was a tie. And one judge responded, “Just because they flunked highschool math doesn’t mean a federal crime was committed.”

Oops, here is a corrected link to the audio:
http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/tmp/210UH2FE.mp3

That link doesn’t work either. It looks like it’s dynamically generated. But if you click on the “Listen” link at the top of your first link, it works.

Is there a legitimate claim for malicious prosecution here, or would that be too difficult to prove?

The NY Times did an editorial today on Georgia Thompson’s release, and saw the same link I did betwen it and the US Attorney scandal.

Nice to be ahead of the news curve. :slight_smile:

While the prosecution (apparently unjust) of Ms. Thompson did not unseat Doyle, it probably did contribute to the surprise upset of the democratic candidate for Attorney General in that election (at least in my mind). The Dem (Kathleen Falk) was expected to skate in, instead the Republican candidate (Van Hollen) eked out a narrow win. Even as the Democratic Governor retained his office and the Democrats took over the state Senate.

Still, Wisconsin voters do the damnedest things. The state that gave the union “Tail Gunner” Joe McCarthy also gives us Senator Feingold, probably the most liberal (and maverick) Senator in Congress, and Tammy Baldwin, the first lesbian congresswoman.

Also Fightin’ Bob LaFolette. My own (admittedly eccentric) reading of American History finds no irony in this, though.

A new wrinkle – Republican US Attorney Steven M. Biskupic, who brought these charges, was on a Justice Department list of USAs to be dismissed. but “…given a reprieve for reasons that remain unclear.”

Story here.

That mp3 sounds interesting and I’d like to give it a listen. But, none of the links work for me at all.

Any ideas?

Thanks!

Yes, Go here and click the link at the top of the article where it says “LISTEN: Hear Oral Arguments In 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (MP3 Format)”

Meh, while possibly stimulating, listening to this oral argument is essentially pointless, you need to read the briefs, review the actual evidence, etc. One would have to be fairly naive to think that a case’s worth is ever measured in oral presentations before a panel of appeals judges. Pfft, n00bs, at this point the judges usually have already made up their minds. :rolleyes:

Given that the judges have already made up their minds, the state guy seems to have done a pretty good job in presenting the case, but they weren’t hearing it. How is this another To Kill a Mockingbird?

It was in this case. The judges pretty much ruled from the bench – they threw out the conviction based solely on the oral arguements, and the briefs which they had read in advance. They must have unanimously decided the prosecution was so egregious on its face that they didn’t need any further time to consider.

Yeah, that’s totally not at all what I get from that mp3. Do you have a cite? If they totally “ruled from the bench,” and threw out the conviction based on oral argument then that was a gross error on their part, and foolish. The state guy did a pretty good job IMHO, as the panel was against him from the first, heck the two male judges weren’t even heard when the defense attorney appeared.

Good christ, this seems a purely political ruling the more I look into it. Freakin’ Wisconsin.

One cite is the OP link story that has the MPS link. There are other cites in the thread, including a New York Times editorial. The panel apparently has not yet issued its written opinion.

He was not a “state guy” – it was a Federal prosecutor, and a panel of 3 Federal judges, two of whom were appointed by Republican administrations.

The state Attorney General and the county District Attorney had also investigated, and had declined to file charges.

I read the tape as the male judges keeping their mouths shut until they heard answers coming from the prosecutor that they found incredible and unacceptable.

Links that say they “ruled from the bench”? Who gives a damn about a NY Times editorial these days? Guy, get over it. From what I heard on the MP3 without even looking at the actual evidence, a case could be made. For you to ridicule a guy for showing up and doing his job is a bit wankish.

Hehe, that only reveals your ignorance of the process, my friend.

I prefer Bricker. :frowning: