Madison
50° F
Overcast
Overcast
Advertisement

Reality Check: Third Party Ad In Supreme Court Race

Published On: Mar 06 2008 06:53:26 AM CST
Updated On: Mar 07 2008 08:09:44 AM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

This year's Wisconsin Supreme Court race is heating up with the spring election approaching on April 1.

VIDEO: Watch The Report

Third party groups are jumping in to support the candidates -- incumbent Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler and Burnett County Circuit Court Judge Michael Gableman.

The first television ad airing the Madison area regarding the race is one sponsored not by Gableman but by a conservative group called Club for Growth Wisconsin. The group, based in Sun Prairie, is the state branch of the national Club for Growth. It has 40,000 members who believe in "economic freedom," WISC-TV reported.

"Criminals threaten our communities. Oddly enough, so do some judges who return them to the street," the ad says. "But not Judge Michael Gableman. He's a former prosecutor who has gone toe to toe with the arsonists, sexual predators, domestic abusers and white-collar criminals who belong in jail."

A WISC-TV analysis found that this claim needs clarification.

A closer look at Gableman's record shows limited experience in these types of cases. Gableman was the district attorney in Ashland County from 1999 to 2002. He only prosecuted one arson case, which was ordered an acquittal.

In 19 felony child abuse cases, three were dismissed, 13 pleaded out to misdemeanor crimes, two were found not guilty at trial and only one was sentenced to prison time.

In felony sexual assault of children cases, Gableman got 11 convictions out of 31 cases, and 15 cases were pleaded to misdemeanors.

The term "white-collar crime" could mean everything from corporate embezzlement to check fraud. Gableman did deal with theft from businesses, forgery and worthless check cases in Ashland County, but whether any of those were so-called "white-collar criminals" is up for debate.

"That's why 70 percent of Wisconsin's sheriffs and countless police chiefs consider Gableman their ally in the war on crime," the ad said.

WISC-TV found this claim to be true. Of the state's 72 county sheriffs, 51 have endorsed Gableman. As for "countless" police chiefs, 21 have endorsed Gableman.

WISC-TV found that the tone of the ad and the images of crime and criminal cases used in it are misleading.

The focus on criminal cases in the ad mischaracterizes the job of a Supreme Court justice. The Supreme Court decides constitutional questions, and it doesn't hand out sentences like a Circuit Court.

In fact, usually less than a third of the cases accepted for review are even criminal, WISC-TV reported.

Advertisement
  • Craig Spencer

    America's Ebola patients

    An American doctor who was working with Ebola patients in Guinea was been diagnosed with the disease after returning to New York. Learn more about him and America's other Ebola victims.

  • Hot peppers

    Karimala/iStock

    Notable food recalls

    A North Carolina producer of peppers and hot sauces is voluntarily recalling 6,215 pounds of fresh serrano chili peppers because some tested positive for salmonella. Here are other notable food recalls that made headlines.

  • Twitter

    Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

    Famous first tweets

    The Queen is on Twitter! Check out what she had to say and other famous first tweets.

  • jack-o-lantern Halloween pumpkin

    Juliet James/SXC

    Halloween

    Games, recipes, trick-or-treating, scary movies and everything else you need to make your Halloween extra spooky.

  • Politician, politics, debate, election

    iStock / bns124

    Election Coverage

    Get up-to-date on political stories, Reality Check the latest political ads, learn about the candidates and find election results in our special section.

  • Ebola virus pink

    CDC

    Ebola special coverage

    Get the latest news on the Ebola outbreak and resources to help you learn more about the deadly virus.

Advertisement