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MADISON - Special Assistant Attorney General Kevin M. St. John and Governor Doyle's Press Secretary Matt Canter issued the following joint statement today relating to State v. Zawistkowski, (Appeal #2006AP001539), commonly referred to as the Cranberry case:
"Today, the Wisconsin Department of Justice informed the Governor that it would seek to discontinue the State's appeal of the Cranberry case. After considerable thought and deliberation, Deputy Attorney General Raymond P. Taffora concluded that the State should withdraw its appeal and discontinue the action. Because by law the Department may not unilaterally withdraw from a civil action prosecuted at the initiative of the Attorney General, the Department sought Governor Doyle's agreement in the State's discontinuation of this matter. After full consideration of the Department's request, the Governor's office informed the Department that the Governor will not authorize the discontinuance of the appeal, and will choose instead to appoint special counsel to finalize the state's appeal in this case."
St. John added, "Because the defendants were represented by the law firm where he was previously employed, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen decided, pursuant to a conflict-of-interest policy adopted when he took office, that he would not participate in the Department's decision making as to this matter. Attorney General Van Hollen was excluded and screened from all deliberations on this matter, and the final decision to seek the Governor's consent to withdraw was made by Deputy Attorney General Taffora."
Former Attorney General Peggy Lautenschlager initiated the public nuisance action in Sawyer County Circuit Court in 2004. After a bench trial, the Circuit Court entered judgment against the State, and Lautenschlager commenced the state's appeal.