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Kenosha County Eye Wins Lawsuit Against District Attorney Mike Graveley

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Kenosha County Eye Editor Kevin Mathewson and Kenosha County DA Mike Graveley

Kevin Mathewson is a criminal defense investigator. He works for defense attorneys and takes some other non-criminal cases. Mathewson is also the Editor and an Investigative Journalist for the Kenosha County Eye, this website. As such, Mathewson is in court almost every day, with both his day job as a P.I. and his side gig, as an independent journalist. Part of his duties are to photograph court hearings in front of Judges and court commissioners for this site. This, he has done many times in front of several judges. Here is the thing, Mathewson and anyone else that want to take photos in a court room need the permission of the presiding Judge or Commissioner. Taking photos in court without such permission is a violation of Kenosha County Rule 1-6 and Supreme Court Rule 61.01. Ignoring this rule could land one a steep fine or even be tossed in jail for contempt of court. These rules are important. Minors and jurors can’t be photographed. Closed hearings also cannot be photographed.

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Court Commissioner Loren Keating on June 7, 2021
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson)

On June 7, 2021 Mathewson was photographing a proceeding in intake court in front of Court Commissioner Loren Keating. Rittenhouse prosecutor Jim Kraus was in court as well for the initial appearances of several defendants. KCE was covering the arrest of three extremist activists. Mathewson noticed that Kraus, using his cell phone, snapped a photo of Mathewson. Mathewson immediately snapped a photo of Kraus who seemed to have been “caught red-handed.”

ADA Jim Kraus Seconds After Photographing Mathewson
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson)

Mathewson knew that Kraus violated the two court rules and immediately initiated a public records request for a copy of the photo. Mathewson would use this photo to make a complaint against Kraus with the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation. Mike Graveley, Kenosha County’s DA admitted that the photo was taken, but refused to release the photo stating it wasn’t a public record. On June 13, 2021, Mathewson’s 37th birthday, he sued the DA to obtain the photograph. Mathewson represented himself pro-se, that is, without an attorney. When a DA is sued, it is standard practice for the State’s Attorney General to defend the action. However, on July 20, 2021, Graveley asked Governor Tony Evers to allow him to defend himself. The Governor granted Graveley’s request. Mathewson opposed Graveley representing his office, as Graveley was a necessary witness. Mathewson went head-to-head against Graveley in several court appearances. Since all of the Kenosha Judges recused themselves, this case went to Walworth County Judge David Reddy. Reddy ruled that Graveley could represent himself, “at his own peril.” Graveley made some discovery requests to Mathewson for private documents about Mathewson’s personal business and asked for thousands of emails. Mathewson objected to theses overly invasive and irrelevant requests and successfully argued in court, with Reddy ruling in Mathewson’s favor. At one point the Judge seemed to signal the he was poised to rule in Mathewson’s favor. Mathewson made a settlement offer to Graveley to pay the $184.50 filing fee, give up the photo and Mathewson would drop the suit. Graveley rejected the offer. At one point, The Wisconsin Transparency Project Attorney, Tom Kamenick took over the case for Mathewson and Governor Ever’s Chief Legal Counsel rescinded Graveley’s representation and took over the case. He quickly agreed to settle the case. Under the settlement, Mathewson received the photos taken by Kraus, will be paid $1,100 – $402 for court fees, $598 for attorneys fees, and $100 statutory damages.

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Here is the photo that cost the taxpayers a pretty penny because Graveley didn’t want to release it. It is proof that Kraus committed misconduct. The State Office of Lawyer Regulation took no formal action against Kraus, but did “give him advice about how to avoid (breaking the rules) again.”

Over-weight Editor of Kenosha County Eye, Kevin Mathewson
(Photo by Kenosha Assistant District Attorney, James Kraus)

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16 Responses

  1. Congratulations on your win. It shows that Graveley is an egomaniac who believes the laws and ethical requirements imposed on attorneys do not apply to him. His attitude and actions are an affront to the Rule of Law. I don’t understand why so many people in Kenosha continue to tolerate him and the many other corrupt public officials who run our government. We get the leadership we deserve.

    BTW: We are very lucky that we have the KCE. It is a glimmer of hope that we might make things better.

  2. As a former accountant (and still an Illinois CPA) I feel compelled to point out that the cost to taxpayers is actually higher than the $1,100, if we allocate other costs. Examples of these costs include the value of the DA’s time and the Governor’s Legal Counsel’s time spent litigating the case.

    But congrats on this win involving the very important, fundamental value of open and transparent government. This underlying principle is much bigger than a single photograph of a (slightly) “overweight editor” — to quote from your photo caption!

      1. Hope you’ve stayed on Keto. I’ve been on it for four years. Weight loss is only one of the many health benefits of Keto. Good on you, sir!

  3. Congratulations on justice prevailing!
    And yes, I agree, DA Michael Graveley is an egomaniac.
    A Communist Windbag in Kenosha County has repeatedly said “Vote Blue No Matter Who”. Well, we have sadly seen the kind of results that comes with this careless advice. Elections have consequences. Time to throw out these ‘rules for thee but not for me’ Tyrants..

    1. Indeed, Graveley must go.

      “Leadership requires five ingredients-brains,energy, determination, trust, and ethics. The key challenges today are in terms of the last two-trust and ethics.”
      ~Fred Hilmer

      i suspect the DA’s Office has started to dislike photographers.

  4. So happy for you. Corruption in Kenosha needs to exposed, especially when it’s being done by our so-called leaders. Keep up the wonderful work.

  5. good for you! i am so happy for you! kevin- just when i thought i loved you to pieces- i now love you even more- you are amazing! i knew this gravely was a retarded narcissist- but he showed his true colors in his display of stupid trying to take you down. and that fat ass ugly lunchbox- another reason he should not be allowed to practice law- how did he pass the bar or law school. kevin- i think lunch box has a secret crush on you- he wanted your picture to drool over while he crammed doughnuts in his hole. too many folks lack jesus in kenosha- do yall have a southern baptist church in kenosha? yall need one on every street corner. go celebrate your victory over that gravely and lunchbox- i am so very glad you won. keep cracking that whip on the whole bunch. perch that magnifying glass over every move they make- continue to be a force for righteousness!

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