Monday, December 12, 2005

Courtwatch Blog: Chvala Legal Team Asks for Judge's Recusal

The defense for Chuck Chvala is asking Dane Co. Judge David Flanagan to recuse himself from the case just three days before the former Dem Senate majority leader from Madison is scheduled for sentencing.

In a document filed today, Chvala Attorney James Olson claims that a letter from Flanagan to Milwaukee Co. Assistant District Attorney Kurt Benkley about restitution shows the judge's bias toward his client, and that he assumed a de facto prosecutorial role. After Benkley wrote that the state would be unable to come up with a restitution figure in the case, Flanagan wrote in a letter dated Dec. 6 that the state should try to submit a "proposal for restitution."

"At the very least, this possibility (restitution) must be conscientiously explored and a full public record be created," wrote Flanagan.

Flanagan said he needed a chance to read the new documents before he would make a decision on the request.

Benkley filed a letter today with Flanagan's office reiterating his points about restitution. "The Senate Democratic Caucus (SDC) employees did spend substantial State time on partisan election campaigns. The taxpayers of the State of Wisconsin paid for this misuse of resources," Benkley writes. "However, as discussed in the State's Sentencing Memorandum, it is exceedingly difficult to quantify the amount of State time which defendant Chvala is responsible for misappropriating."

-- The defense also filed a letter today from former Senate Chief Clerk Donald Schneider.

Schneider writes about the history of the state's caucus system as he knew it, and also includes a request for the judge to "please consider community service as a manner that Mr. Chvala can make restitution to the people of Wisconsin."

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