AFP Wisconsin
Press Release

AFP Supports John Doe Reform Vote

Reforming Wisconsin's John Doe Laws Critical To Protecting Free Speech

By - Sep 11th, 2015 04:13 pm

MADISON — Today, Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin State Director Eric Bott released the following statement in response to an announcement that the full legislature will vote on John Doe reform legislation in October:

“Free speech is the foundation of a free society. It’s unbelievable to think that law abiding citizens would have their homes raided, families terrorized and businesses ruined simply because of their political beliefs.”

“We applaud Senator Fitzgerald and Speaker Vos for committing to hold votes on John Doe reform legislation in October and look forward to the swift passage of this important legislation by both chamber. We also thank Representative Craig and Senator Tiffany for fighting to make sure the abuses we’ve witnessed never happen again.”

BACKGROUND

Wisconsin’s “John Doe laws” give judges, prosecutors and law enforcement the ability to both subpoena witnesses and legally prevent them discussing the investigation publicly. According to multiple news reports, John Doe law have been used for the past several years by government officials to target conservative activists across Wisconsin, which led to many individuals having their homes raided, families traumatized and businesses ruined just because they stood up for their political beliefs.

The State Supreme Court halted the John Doe process earlier this year stating that the Doe was, “unsupported in either reason or law,” and that it had been used by prosecutors to, “investigate citizens who were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing.”  A federal appellate court previously ruled that the gag orders placed on Doe targets were, “screamingly unconstitutional.”

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. For more information, visit www.americansforprosperity.org

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3 thoughts on “AFP Supports John Doe Reform Vote”

  1. Barb- West Bend says:

    “BACKGROUND

    Wisconsin’s “John Doe laws” give judges, prosecutors and law enforcement the ability to both subpoena witnesses and legally prevent them discussing the investigation publicly. According to multiple news reports, John Doe law have been used for the past several years by government officials to target conservative activists across Wisconsin, which led to many individuals having their homes raided, families traumatized and businesses ruined just because they stood up for their political beliefs.”

    AFP is a far right wing (John Birch Society) Koch Bros. organization that uses funding raised by extremist to proselytize their right wing agenda. Their propaganda is filled with spin, misinformation, if not out-right lies. We need John Doe laws to reign in those who think laws don’t apply to them, whether conservative or liberal.

  2. Johnny Bragatti says:

    Could not agree more, spot on and exact!!!

  3. Jennie - Fox Point says:

    Well said Barb. The John Doe statute was enacted in the late 1800s, so it is nothing new. From the State Bar of Wisconsin “Rotunda Report” – As the Wisconsin Supreme Court stated in 1889: “When [the John Doe] statute was first enacted the common-law practice was for the magistrate to issue the warrant on a complaint of mere suspicion, and he was protected in doing so. This was found to be a very unsafe practice. Many arrests were made on groundless suspicion, when the accused were innocent of the crime and there was no testimony whatever against them. This statute was made to protect citizens from arrest and imprisonment on frivolous and groundless suspicion.”

    The first John Doe investigation resulted in multiple arrests and even imprisonment. Clearly that one wasn’t frivolous or groundless. Having seen the documents that have been released since the second John Doe investigation was quashed, I’d say it had legitimacy as well.

    And as far as the “families terrorized” part and all the rest, the recordings of the raids that were recently released PROVED that the claims made by the individuals whose homes were raided were lies.

    These politicians need to have oversight. Scott Walker ran on promises of transparency but he and his administration have pushed through (or tried to push through) several changes that do the opposite.

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