Karofsky asks court to stop misleading ads

By: - April 3, 2020 5:22 pm
Judge Jill Karofsky (via Jill for Justice)

Judge Jill Karofsky (Photo: Jill for Justice)

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Jill Karofsky filed suit in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on Friday, seeking an injunction to stop TV ads the campaign describes as false and defamatory.

Karofsky had already sent a cease and desist letter on March 27 to the parties responsible for running the ads: WMC Mobilization Council, Inc. (the political arm of the state’s largest business lobby), the Republican State Leadership Committee and the Republican State Leadership Committee’s Judicial Fairness Initiative.

The ads, which continue to air on television stations around the state, suggest that Karofsky was lenient toward violent criminals, allowing them out of jail. One of the ads, which earned a “Pants on Fire” rating from Politifact, cites a case in which Karofsky was not involved in the defendant’s conviction and sentencing. In the other case, her campaign points out, she sentenced the defendant to eight years, and he remains in prison.

The WMC ad claims that Karofsky gave “no jail time to a monster who lured a five-year-old girl into a bedroom where he sexually assaulted her.”  The Republican State Leadership Committee’s ad gives details from the same case, calling Karofsky “dangerously soft on crime.”

Both ads refer to the case State v. Worley, but, the Karofsky campaign points out, “Judge Karofsky had no involvement in or responsibility for the plea and/or sentence received” in the case. 

Former Gov. Scott Walker tweeted the RSLC ad:

In another ad produced by the RSLC, a voiceover states that Karofsky, “as judge, even went easy on a secual predator that shot his girlfriend, allowing a deal that put him back on the street.” 

But in this case, State v. Thompson, Department of Corrections records show that the defendant was convicted and remains in custody.

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Ruth Conniff
Ruth Conniff

Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. She formerly served as Editor-in-chief of The Progressive Magazine where she worked for many years from both Madison and Washington, DC. Shortly after Donald Trump took office she moved with her family to Oaxaca, Mexico, and covered U.S./Mexico relations, the migrant caravan, and Mexico’s efforts to grapple with Trump. Conniff is the author of "Milked: How an American Crisis Brought Together Midwestern Dairy Farmers and Mexican Workers" which won the 2022 Studs and Ida Terkel award from The New Press. She is a frequent guest on MSNBC and has appeared on Good Morning America, Democracy Now!, Wisconsin Public Radio, CNN, Fox News and many other radio and television outlets. She has also written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and three daughters.