Legal experts say Wisconsin prosecutors can still go after political wrongdoing without secret John Doe probes. But it may be harder to do so. John does are similar to grand jury proceedings where prosecutors secretly present evidence and compel witnesses to testify in secret.
Milwaukee prosecutors have used this technique to investigate Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and former associates in recent years. Walker signed a GOP bill on Friday prohibiting prosecutors from using John Does to investigate political crimes.
Democrats say the measure puts politicians above the law. Donald Downs, a University of Wisconsin, Madison political scientist and criminal law expert, notes prosecutors can still go after politicians like they would any other suspect, getting cooperation from witnesses and using search warrants. Downs says they also could use the grand jury process.