State Supreme Court Justice-elect Annette Ziegler agreed to pay the state about $17,000 in a settlement that said she violated the state ethics code by ruling on five cases involving a bank her husband helps run. [. . .]Got it? No Ziegler under oath today. She won't be forced to detail in open court what her thinking was as she repeatedly violated the state's code of judicial ethics. She won't have to make any statements on the record that could be used against her when she runs for re-election in a decade.
By settling the matter, Ziegler avoids a hearing in the matter today that could have seen her called to the witness stand. Nonetheless, she remains under scrutiny as the subject of a separate investigation by the state Judicial Commission, which is looking at a broader group of cases.
In the settlement, Ziegler acknowledged she violated the ethics code by handling five cases in recent years involving West Bend Savings Bank, where her husband, J.J. Ziegler, is paid about $20,000 a year as a member of the board of directors. The state ethics code says public officials cannot act on matters in which they have a financial interest.
The board determined that Ziegler did not gain financially from her rulings.
There's still the Judicial Commission, but anything that Commission says will be non-binding unless acted upon by the state Supreme Court. While I think the Commission will probably scold Ziegler, I'm betting the Court will not do a thing about it. Ziegler skates once today, and will again when her new colleagues choose to let the Commission's recommendations slide.