Judge who threw occupiers out of WI Capitol building in 2011 has just thrown out citations against singers

The same judge that delivered a ruling which effectively ended the 2011 occupation of the Wisconsin Capitol has thrown out 13 citations against 10 people arrested for protesting in that same building.

Two sources who closely watch Capitol arrests tell me that 335 citations are related to what became known as the, “Capitol Crackdown”:  arrests for noon-hour Solidarity Sing Along assembly in the summer of 2013. Judge Albert is one of thirteen Dane County judges who have dismissed sing along-linked citations due to violation of constitutional rights, according to attorney Patricia K Hammel. Based on facebook updates I have seen from defendants, the State of Wisconsin is appealing the dismissals on at least 32 citations.*

Judge Albert read both the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution and a corollary section of the Wisconsin constitution to his Dane County courtroom on Friday before he said,

“In March of 2011 I was the judge, who by some media reports – actually from this seat in this court room – “threw the protesters out of the Wisconsin Capitol”. Following that decision, people actually applauded me for doing that.

So today I am throwing out this administration’s attempt via this illegal administrative rule, to silence those that disagree with it. Let me be clear: a permitting system for controlling conflicting access to the Wisconsin Capitol can be devised that meets the requirements of the first amendment and the Wisconsin constitution. But the rule that brings us here today fails to meet long-established standards concerning first amendment principles.

And let me also indicate that one week from today will be D-Day and we are a free society because of what happened on D-Day. And you probably all know that that was the day that Allied forces invaded France to free it from the tyranny of Nazi Germany.”


The citations Judge Albert dismissed on Friday were originally given out August 15 – September 6 2013.

Judge Albert said he adopted as his own the ruling of Judge Conley from July 2013. He also said he adopts as his own the ruling of Judge Markson.

Judge Albert said that after Conley’s July 9 ruling, the state “cobbled together” what was left of their rule, slapped it on Judge Conley’s ruling, and then continued to pursue prosecutions.

Judge Albert told the 10 defendants in front of him that, “the continued prosecution of you and 100’s of others was done without amending the rule to arguably make it pass constitutional muster”.

Judge Conley’s July 2013 ruling involved the Kissick-ACLU lawsuit which was settled on October 8, 2013 when the State of Wisconsin paid roughly $87,000 to ACLU. In February, Judge John Markson dismissed 29 tickets issued to Solidarity Sing Along participants.

Judge Albert methodically read each dismissal, name by name. He then asked the Assistant Attorney General attending, Annie Jay, if the state plans to appeal his ruling. She replied that she doesn’t get to make that decision.

Judge Albert then told the newly exonerated that if the state were to appeal, there were two attorneys in the room – Jordan Loeb and Eric Shulenberg – who might be willing to take on their appeal cases pro bono.

Following he delivered a special note to journalists:

“It’s important in journalistic circles of late to explain to their constituency how a judge decides cases by telling the readers and the viewers certain things about the judge that help understand the motivation behind the judge’s ruling. So, let me be of assistance if I can. I was appointed by Tommy Thompson, a Republican Governor. I was told taht the Secretary of the Department of Administration was quoted in the Milwaukee Journal as saying that at the time of the Capitol occupation case, the state felt that it got a fair hearing from ruling at this court.
Finally, and seemingly most important in all of this current crisis, I did not sign the petition for the recall of Governor Walker. I thought it was inappropriate to do so. During the time that the Capitol protest in March of 2011 was in front of me, I stayed away from the Capitol. I have never heard, deliberately, the protest singers sing. Now, that may seem confusing to those that get their media from the fair and balanced world, but I can’t help that. We are adjourned. Thank you.”

In all, roughly 450 citations were given to people who assembled in the Capitol for the Solidarity Sing Along during the crackdown of 2013. Those citations were the key method the Wisconsin DOA used to attempt to squelch daily assembly and protest affiliated with the now internationally recognized Solidarity Sing Along tradition in the Wisconsin’s Capitol building rotunda.

Special thanks to Arthur Kohl-Riggs for taping the video included in this post.

Further reading:

July 12 2012 Written by Karen Mahoney, Special to your Catholic Herald

Looking Back:
Judge orders Capitol restrictions lifted but bars overnight stays
CAPITOL ACCESS HEARING – March 04, 2011 4:00 am by SANDY CULLEN, Wisconsin State Journal

Remembering March 9, 2011
March 9, 2012 by Michael Matheson, WCMCOOP

Dane County judge rules permit requirements for Wisconsin Capitol gatherings unconstitutional – Judith Davidoff, Wed. 02/04/2014 source


* It’s possible that a few of those dismissed citations that are now under appeal were given for activities that are linked to protest and occurred in the Capitol rotunda, but do not necessarily involve singing. For example, there were a slew of tickets for holding signs in various areas of the Capitol including the rotunda. Sorry this isn’t more firm. I’m an unpaid blogger who would like to get outside in a garden before it rains today so I’m not going to go that “into” it. The independent (I repeat: the *independent*) “left wing” of America does not have the deep pockets of Eric O’Keefe. On the bright side, we are not beholden to people like him either.

This post originally announced only that *10 people got their citations dismissed*. I reported that and did not go into the total citations, appeals, etc. because it was something I could verify from the included video and it was backed up by people close to Friday’s proceedings. I then added more info. this morning, Sunday 6/1/2014. I took the time to do THAT (which involved also spending MORE time in front of the computer Saturday night when I could have been having a beer somewhere) because a facebook update I saw last night said that a Madison TV affiliate announced that, “all the citations” were dismissed.

I do not have the time to confirm that the TV report occurred.



6 thoughts on “Judge who threw occupiers out of WI Capitol building in 2011 has just thrown out citations against singers

  1. Have to love this line: “Now, that may seem confusing to those that get their media from the fair and balanced world, but I can’t help that.”
    Congratulations to all!

  2. Interesting timing, as the Joint Committee on Administrative rules is meeting on Tuesday to discuss rules on how to handle the Solidarity Singers and other such “mass meetings” of the people at the Capitol. Be vigilant.

      • John- They ain’t paying me a dime, and I only do this blogging/posting stuff outside of my “real” job. But now that you bring it up, maybe I’ll drop by the DPW offices and list you as a reference…
        I also cross-posted this article on my latest post, as it’s interesting how we’re debating the Capitol rules at the same time that oligarchs are trying to have no restrictions on paying and working with politicians, while evading taxes and ducking disclosure. It’s really sick, when you think about it.

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