MADISON (WKOW) -- The Dane County Sheriff responds to accusations regarding past political endorsements.
Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney says he has turned the supreme court investigation over to the chief deputy after questions surfaced about whether he could objectively lead the investigation because of his past endorsement of Prosser's opponent Joanne Kloppenburg and Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.
Mahoney took over the investigation Monday from Capitol Police but he immediately distanced himself from the investigation saying he will have no role in overseeing the case.
All eyes are on the high stakes investigation of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The alleged choking incident between Justice David Prosser and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley is being reported by every major newspaper in the country, the incident is even getting international attention.
Beyond the actual incident are questions over the investigation and the role Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney should have in the case.
UW Political Science Professor David Canon says, "This hasn't happened before so it's hard to know what's appropriate and what the procedure should be."
Mahoney put his support behind candidate Joanne Kloppenburg, Prosser's opponent, in this past April's contentious supreme court race.
Canon says, "That would raise some questions in some people's minds about could he conduct an impartial investigation."
Mahoney also endorsed Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson in her 2009 re-election campaign even appearing in her campaign ad.
UW political science professor Dave Cannon says those political endorsements shouldn't interfere with the investigation because Mahoney isn't directly involved.
Canon says, "He won't be the person doing the actual interviewing, it will be detectives, they'll be writing up the report so I think any concern about a conflict of interest is at least mitigated by some extent by the fact he won't be the actual person conducting the investigation."
Late Tuesday afternoon Mahoney released the following statement in response to the accusations:
"The Office of Sheriff is an elected Constitutional Office and as such the Sheriff is political, even at times endorsing other candidates at the local, state and national level. Although the Office of Dane County Sheriff is an elected office, the duties of the men and women of the Sheriff's Office are not now nor have they ever been political."
"As Sheriff I demand a high level of ethical conduct and integrity of staff and investigations undertaken by the Sheriff's Office; and I place those same expectations on myself," said Sheriff Dave Mahoney.
"Although as Sheriff, I honored the request of the Capitol Police to conduct an investigation into the Supreme Court incident on June 13, 2011, I turned the case over to the Chief Deputy. The Chief Deputy then assigned the case to the Captain of Field Services, who in turn assigned a team of detectives and supervisors to investigate the case and oversee the investigation. As the Sheriff I have no role in the assignment of detectives and supervisors or overseeing the investigation," said Sheriff Dave Mahoney.
The state's judicial commission is also investigating the incident. The commission could ultimately make a discipline recommendation to the state supreme court, potentially putting some justices in a position to rule on their colleagues' fate.
MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney says he has turned the state supreme court investigation over to the Chief Deputy.
In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff Mahoney says, "Although as Sheriff, I honored the request of the Capitol Police to conduct an investigation into the Supreme Court incident on June 13, 2011, I turned the case over to the Chief Deputy."
Mahoney says the Chief Deputy then assigned the case to the Captain of Field Services, who in turn assigned a team of detectives and supervisors to investigate the case and oversee the investigation.
"As the Sheriff I have no role in the assignment of detectives and supervisors or overseeing the investigation."
On Monday, the Capitol Police Department turned over the criminal investigation into state supreme court justice David Prosser's alleged choking of fellow justice Ann Walsh Bradley.