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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ind. Decisions - "Federal panel opens GOP computers in Wisconsin redistricting case"

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this morning, a story by Patrick Marley (h/t @AppellateDaily). A few quotes:

A federal court gave groups suing the state broad access Monday to three computers used by the Legislature to develop Republican-friendly voting maps.

The Legislature "must make these three computers available in their entirety immediately" to the groups suing the state, the three judges wrote.

"The computers are extremely likely to contain relevant and responsive materials that should have been disclosed during pretrial discovery. Moreover, Plaintiffs have established that substantial numbers of documents were not disclosed, which satisfies the court that some form of 'fraud, misrepresentation, or misconduct' likely occurred," the unanimous opinion said, quoting from a procedural rule. * * *

The Legislature hired the law firm Michael Best & Friedrich to help draw the maps, and the three state computers were housed in the law firm's Madison office to do that work.

Michael Best repeatedly tried to block releasing documents in the case, and in early 2012 was fined about $17,500 for filing frivolous motions to try to prevent their release. * * *

Federal redistricting cases are unique in that they go to special three-judge panels. Appeals go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The judicial panel consists of J.P. Stadtmueller of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Diane P. Wood of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Robert M. Dow Jr. of the Northern District of Illinois. Stadtmueller was appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan; Wood was appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton; and Dow was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 26, 2013 09:20 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions