Thursday, October 18, 2007

Judicial Commission: Ziegler showed "inexcusable neglect"

Annette Ziegler's misconduct was inadvertent and the result of "inexcusable neglect of her responsibilities as a judge," but wasn't intentional and didn't result in financial gain for Ziegler, the state Judicial Commission wrote in a document filed today.

The Judicial Commission was responding to a request from the Judicial Conduct Panel handling Ziegler's discipline case for more information on allegations of misconduct against the new Supreme Court justice.

The commission recommended a censure for Ziegler following its review of the allegations against her, but the panel last month signaled it may widen the probe into the alleged misconduct. It asked Ziegler and the commission to answer a series of questions about various media reports and her family's connection to the West Bend Savings Bank.

Ziegler heard cases while on the Washington County bench involving the bank, for which her husband served on the board of directors.

Ziegler hadn't filed her response by 4 p.m., though she had until 5 p.m. to do so.

The panel's questions included: whether reports that Ziegler and her husband borrowed approximately $2 million from the bank are true; details of any additional income they received through real estate leased to the bank; and her husband's compensation for her service on the board of directors.

The commission responded it had no specific knowledge of any money the Zieglers borrowed from the bank while it reviewed her case, that it did not know of any real estate owned by Ziegler's husband and leased to the bank, and that he was paid $20,000 annually for his service.

*Read the commission's response:
http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/071017_WJC_Response.pdf
*Read the panel's request for more information:
http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/070926_Ziegler_order.pdf

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