Washburn's World

My take on the world. My wife often refers to this as the WWW (Weird World of Washburn)

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Location: Germantown, Wisconsin, United States

I am a simple country boy transplanted from the Piehl Township in northern Wisconsin to the Milwaukee metropolitan area who came down "sout" in 1980 for college and have stayed in the area since.
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Thursday, October 25, 2007

DA Todd Martens Shirks His Duty

I received a letter from the Washington County District Attorney, Todd K. Martens, official stating that he will duck and shirk his duty to enforce election laws in the Village of Germantown. Moreover, District Attorney Martens absurdly states that it is not the responsibility or jurisdiction of a Wisconsin district attorney to investigate or prosecute election misconduct.

Here is a short recap of this matter. Using the open records law I discovered that my county clerk was not creating election records she is required to make. I reported on this here. I turned the matter of over to the DA by sending him this letter on October 9, 2007. The complete response from Washington County DA, Todd K. Martens, dated October 22, 2007, is here: Letter from Washington County DA Todd K. Martens. [In order to fight the "Memory Hole" effect of URLs, I have highlighted this post publication updatein green. jww].

According to the Washington County DA:
    My office has the responsibility to enforce Wisconsin's open meetings, open records, and ethics laws. Assuming there is a violation of the statute you cited [WI Stats. 7.23(1)(g)], my office does not have the authority to investigate it or prosecute it.
Aside from the frightenly short enumeration DA duties, this statement is in clear contradiction to written statute, WI State Election Board Regulations, and recent history in Southeast Wisconsin.

Wisconsin state statute 5.08 reads[emphasis mine]:
    5.08 Petition for enforcement. Any elector[I] may file a verified petition alleging such facts as are within his or her knowledge to indicate that an election official has failed or is failing to comply with any law regulating the conduct of elections or election campaigns or proposes to act in a manner inconsistent with such a law, and requesting that an action be commenced for injunctive relief, a writ of mandamus or prohibition or other such legal or equitable relief as may be appropriate to compel compliance with the law. The petition shall be filed with the district attorney of the county where the violation or proposed action inconsistent with this chapter occurs or is proposed to occur. The district attorney may then commence the action or dismiss the petition. If the district attorney declines to act upon the petition or if the district attorney fails to act upon the petition within 15 days of the date of filing, the petitioner may file the same petition with the attorney general, who may then commence the action.
My most forgiving characterization of these events is that Washington County DA Todd K. Martens does not believe my letter of October 9, 2007 does not meet the definition of "verified complaint".

As a matter of law he is correct. The allegations in the letter are not submitted under penalty of perjury. So, I will recast my letter as a formal petition for action under 5.08 and follow every tittle and jot therein in order to create a verified complaint.

Milwaukee county district attorney, Mike McCann, began investigating election frauds from the November 2, 2004 election on the basis of newspaper reports by Greg Borowski. From a legal point of view this is flimsy evidence upon which to begin an investigation. DA Martens must have privately thought DA McCann was out of line in January of 2005 for investigating election fraud and voter fraud in the City of Milwaukee. DA Martens does not believe it is the place of a County DA to investigate election official breaking Wisconsin election law.

Clearly, on this front (election law), DA McCann was a much better prosecutor than DA Martens is.


Blogger steveegg said...

Sounds like you need a new DA up there in Washington County.

Thu Oct 25, 08:19:00 AM CDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your response letter was scanned crooked.

Fri Oct 26, 01:51:00 PM CDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I highly doubt that the DA letter was written as you have presented, "I received a letter from the Washington County District Attorney, Todd K. Martens, official stating that he will duck and shirk his duty to enforce election laws in the Village of Germantown," I was wondering if you would offer to present what he REALLY said. I suppose I could go through the offical open records way, but it would seem that enough people are currently trivailizing that system enough and I am sure you will be happy to offer the truely offical response anyways.

Fri Nov 16, 12:59:00 PM CST  
Blogger John Washburn said...

The official response has already been provided in the original post.

I did not misquote or paraphrase the letter. Following the link in the original post will lead you to this document:

Letter from Washington County DA Todd K. Martens

You will notice that my letter to DA Martens had nothing to do with an open records complaint. It was in fact a letter of complaint that County Clerk Jaszewski was violating Wisconsin state election law, WI Stats 7.2391)(g). DA Martens touches on this election law violation by plainly stating it is not his job to enforce election laws in Washington County.

I characterized this as "shirking his duty". I stand by that characterization, but all of the documentary evidence supporting my characterization is available for your inspection.

Editorial Note: Based on this comment I have decided to update the original post. As is my custom, such updating is in green.

Fri Nov 16, 04:07:00 PM CST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just stared reading your web blog. Interesting stuff. Much open to debate. You make a lot of good points. BUT you lost me and make yourself out a fool by saying that Milw DA McCann was a better DA then any other DA anywhere when it came to election fraud. I don't have enough years left nor do you have the time to read everything I could publish regrading McdonothingCann and his "shirking of his duties"
With my now slanted view it appears you have other motivations other than to to the right things.
A disappointed reader.

Mon Nov 19, 10:24:00 AM CST  
Blogger John Washburn said...

I never said "Let 'em Go" Mike was a good DA on election fraud. I said McCann was better than DA Martens on this small topic.

E. Michael "Let 'em Go" McCann was a poor DA. Hopefully, his ex-right hand man, John Chisholm, is better. Time will tell.

That said, when the news reports of election irregularities arose in the City of Milwaukee in November and December of 2004, McCann at least moved to "investigate". Under pressure to be sure, but his office under its own moment moved to "investigate" based on nothing more than flimsy, hearsay newspaper reports. The "investigation" wasted two years of time and has never given an account of its finding or what was investigated.

I believe the faux investigation by Biskupic and McCann was to take the political heat off of McCann and Milwaukee. DA McCann had, until then never found a case of election fraud, he could not dismiss with his discretion. Stretching out a faux investigation for two years until the public forgot about the issue was a brilliant solution.

But, in 2004 and in all of the prior cases (even the two cases from 2000 where election bribery was videotaped) McCann never said it was not his job to investigate and prosecute. He said he did not think he could win a conviction.

McCann said it was his job, but that he would exercise his prosecutorial discretion and let the cases go.

DA Martens flatly said it was not his job (no jurisdiction). He did not say he didn't think he could win a conviction, so he would let the case go (exercise discretion).

So, yes, on this narrow topic of enforcing election laws, DA McCann was a lousy DA, but he was still better than DA Martens. And that is very low bar to limbo under.

Mon Nov 19, 01:19:00 PM CST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish someone would run against this asshole. He's useless, along with his 3 ADA's. Stephanie Hanson is a bitch looking to persecute men. Look at what she did to that guy from Germantown on the sex assault charge. He was found not guilty after a 2nd trial. The evidence was a joke. CLEAN HOUSE IN WASHINGTON COUNTY!

Tue Jan 15, 05:13:00 AM CST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from: Indepenrest
To: John Washburn
Dear Mr. Washburn, In researching the DA's of Washington Co. I have come across your blog concerning Former DA Todd Martens. The exchange you professionally published with "Anonymous", struck me with pronounced attention to the detail in which you engaged with your debating amature.

Thank You for investing in the exchange. You never know how much you will help future beneficiaries.

Fri Apr 27, 12:15:00 AM CDT  

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