Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Judges again rule for Democratic group in redistricting case

Judges again rule for Democratic group in redistricting case - JSOnline

Madison - In a scathing ruling, a three-judge panel decided for the third time Tuesday that a Democratic group has a right to an array of information on how Republican lawmakers drew new legislative districts.

Saying that GOP lawmakers and their attorneys have filed "frivolous" motions trying to keep their information private, the panel also required the attorneys for the Republican defendants to pay the attorneys' fees for the plaintiffs for the motion.

"Quite frankly, the Legislature and the actions of its counsel give every appearance of flailing wildly in a desperate attempt to hide from both the court and the public the true nature of exactly what transpired in the redistricting process," the ruling reads.

The federal panel first ruled Dec. 8 that the group could depose a consultant and Senate aide and made a similar ruling on Dec. 20.

Republicans who control the Legislature then filed a motion to clarify what information could be released. They argued some information that consultant Joe Handrick has should remain confidential, as he was hired because litigation was likely and thus has attorney-client privilege.

On Tuesday, the panel unanimously ruled Handrick's discussions with legal counsel are not protected by attorney-client privilege and he must testify on those matters.

In essence, the judges again found there was little the Republicans can keep from the plaintiffs, a Democratic group.

The panel of judges - two of whom are Republican appointees - gave a rhetorical smack to the GOP lawmakers and their attorneys.

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