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“I was so afraid; I did not know what to do.” Cindy Archer says she grabbed some clothes and got dressed right in front of the police after they practically beat down her front door.

“I begged and begged, please don’t shoot my dogs, please don’t shoot my dogs,” as her dogs continued to bark. She finally was able to get them into the backyard.

Cindy Archer is one of the lead architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10 – also known as the Budget Repair Bill. The bill limited public-employee benefits and altered collective bargaining rules for public-employee unions.

You may all remember the mess that was the Wisconsin State House when all chaos broke loose and quite a few Democratic lawmakers ran away to Illinois abandoning their jobs and responsibilities. They did not want any entitlements touched or changed.

In the state of Wisconsin, it would seem that Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U. S. Constitution have become passé. In Wisconsin’s “John Doe” raids, law-enforcement authorities not only seize the property of private citizens, but the targets are denied legal counsel and are forbidden to talk about the seizures publicly,

Cindy Archer was not the only victim of this horror; others who participated in conservative politics and policy development were raided in the same manner. The government swooped into the peoples’ homes, scared them to death, ransacked their houses and took computers, papers and cell phones.

This is Wisconsin? The Wisconsin in our United States? It is a frightening day when this is happening to our own citizens, and mostly because of their political leanings.

This is the reality of Wisconsin’s John Doe law, which the Supreme Court will soon address: The John Doe investigations are a form of domestic law and our constitutional system is ill-equipped to handle it. Federal courts rarely intervene and state officials rarely lose their array of official immunities for the consequences of their misconduct.

Most of us have never heard of these raids and the lengthy criminal investigations of Wisconsin conservatives because the victims face further prosecution if they talk about it to anyone.

It is something to which we should be paying close attention. The John Doe law in Wisconsin shows exactly why government intervention in political speech should terrify us – the use of force was applied to one side exclusively, in an attempt to shut down conservatives. But this could just as easily have been a liberal group being persecuted.

It is a scary day when the government can control our speech; what we say. A scary day, indeed.

 

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