The state Judicial Commission has dismissed the complaint filed last year against a judge over his handling of a voter ID case. Last fall, Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess stepped aside from the lawsuit challenging the state requirement on voters to show photo ID at the polls rather than dismissing the case as ordered by the state Supreme Court. Another judge dismissed the case soon afterward. In a letter to Niess on Jan. 6, commission executive director Jeremiah Van Hecke said his judicial ethics agency found nothing for it to charge in the matter. “The commission’s examination of the investigation resulted in a determination that there is insufficient evidence of misconduct within the jurisdiction of the commission which would warrant further action or consideration,” Van Hecke said.
Niess provided the letter on the confidential investigation to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after taking what he said were the “steps necessary to disclose this letter.”
“I have no more information on the rationale of the commission beyond this letter. Accordingly, I have no further comment, and will let the letter speak for itself,” Niess wrote in an email.
The complaint against Niess was filed on Oct. 4 by Bob Papke, who sat on the Wisconsin Judicial Commission from 1993 to 2001 and served for two of those years as its chairman. Papke said Wednesday that he deferred to the judgment of the commission, since it likely had information from the inquiry that he did not. He said he hoped that the complaint had served to send a message that judges need to apply the law fairly.