Illusory Tenant thinks he has the key to the mystery of the Butler's campaign's claims about how often he does or does not rule in favor of criminal defendants. He seems to be saying that, in all the cases in which the court considered something that the campaign wants to call a criminal case, convictions were overturned only 30%of the time.
That's an odd claim. A number of these cases did not involve decisions whether or not to uphold criminal convictions or, in the event, did not reach that issue. To use them as the denominator in which overturned convictions is the numerator would seem to be misleading.
I agree that Jessica McBride probably wants to make Butler look "bad" in the sense of favoring criminal defendants. Illusory wants to make him look "good" in the sense of not doing so. Personally, I'm just interested in some accurate numbers honestly described, keeping in mind that they are not meaningless and not talismanic. Quite frankly, my professional interest (as in justifying my pay envelope) is more that you care about the Wisconsin Supreme Court than you agree with my take on it.
But, as out Illusory friend says, "here's the deal." Jessica McBride showed a list of cases in which the Butler campaign claimed that he had ruled in favor of the state and against the defendant 70% of the time. These are, as I understand it, the campaign's words and not hers and that is certainly what a number of media outlets have reported. That claim (which is far different than "I didn't vote to overturn a conviction") is clearly wrong.
Some want to know if I am, therefore, calling someone a liar. I very rarely do that here (although I am calling whoever runs Planned Parenthood's campaign against Jim Ott and others precisely that - stone cold liars). Having spent over 25 years as a lawyer, I have come to the conclusion that people are often flatly wrong while sincerely believing they are right. And, as much as I may differ with Louis Butler on legal matters, I have repeatedly said that I believe him to be an intelligent and honest man as I also believe Michael Gableman to be.
But the idea that Justice Butler does not have a more expansive view of the rights of criminal defendants than the more conservative wing of the court is preposterous and, if you will note the exchanges between me and our representatives of the defense bar, no one really disputes that. In fact, I am the one who has ventured the idea that I don't think his view of the rights of criminal defendants is quite as expansive as that of the Chief and Justice Bradley, although I think that proposition may require further study.
And, no, I don't think that the Court's criminal law cases are the most important issue in this race. In fact, that is the one area where I probably differ the least with the court's "emerging majority" (although I do differ). The most extraordinary usurpations of legislative and popular prerogative lie elsewhere.