UPDATE: Appeals court delivers victory to Capitol singers/protesters
Jan 29, 2015 6:04 p.m.
MADISON (WKOW) — Wisconsin’s Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled Thursday it was unconstitutional for the Department of Administration to require a permit for the daily solidarity singalong held at the State Capitol.
The unanimous decision from a three-judge panel upholds a lower court ruling from Dane County, which means the more than 300 citations handed out to singers and other protesters by Capitol Police are null and void.
The lawsuit was filed by Mike Crute, co-host of the local Devil’s Advocate radio show, who was arrested on July 24, 2013 during a week when police handed out hundreds of citations.
“I couldn’t believe the tactics being utilized by the State Capitol police that day and I took a deliberate act, I sang,” said Crute.
During the noon hour Thursday, Crute and others who had been arrested in 2013 celebrated the ruling at the singalong.
“More than a dozen judges have now told Walker and his administration this was not the correct use, you shouldn’t have been arresting these people,” said Crute.
But this saga may not be over yet, because the Department of Administration (DOA), which oversees Capitol Police, could still ask the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) to appeal this ruling to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
“We’re reviewing the decision right now,” said DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch. “We didn’t exactly know what the courts wanted to do. We were trying to maintain order in the State Capitol to the best of our ability and at a level that was within what we believed the interpretation of the law was.”
Crute believes the state should spare the taxpayers any more legal expense.
“If they choose to prolong it, I think it shows the pettiness of the Governor, Mike Huebsch and apparently Brad Schimel if he chooses to join in,” said Crute.
Attorney General Brad Schimel would have to agree to file such an appeal. His office released a statement today simply saying they were conferring with DOA on how to proceed.