The state's highest court has decided to review a portion of the child sex assault case pending against Curt Johnson.
A request for review was first filed by the state Attorney General's office with the Wisconsin Supreme Court last spring. At issue is an appellate court ruling, which stated that as long as the alleged victim withholds her medical records, she does not have to testify. The AG's office filed the appeal on May 17, one day short of the deadline.
The Court of Appeals Second District panel upheld part of the original ruling by Racine County Circuit Court Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz, agreeing that the victim has the right to keep her medical records private. But, the appellate judges disagreed with the lower court saying the victim would still be called to testify.
Now, briefs are due to the Supreme Court from the AG by Dec. 14. Johnson's defense team then has 20 days to respond.
A representative with Attorney Mark Richards' office said after the first round of briefs, a second one follows.
"The high court has a briefing schedule much like the Court of Appeals," the representative said. "After the Attorney General files their brief and we respond with our brief, each side gets another say."
Justices did not ask for arguments, just motions so lawyers from both sides will not appear in person.
Johnson's case in Racine County was to have begun on April 23, but it remains on hold until the high court rules.
Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete said the case is out of his hands until the Supreme Court makes a determination.
"Everything now is coming from the AG's office," he said. "They filed the appeal so the case is in their hands for now. Once the high court makes a decision, the case comes back to the circuit court."
Johnson was charged March 23, 2011 with a single count of repeated sexual assault of a same child. The state filed motions last month to add three felony counts of incest by a stepparent, but because prosecutors didn't file the amended charges by Jan. 23, Gasiorkiewicz ruled against the state.
The charges came after Johnson allegedly admitted to his therapist in Arizona that he inappropriately touched a young girl. That counselor reported the information to the Racine County Human Services who then contacted the Racine County Sheriff's office.
According to the criminal complaint, the girl told police Johnson touched her, kissed her and asked her to have sex with him numerous times over several years. Now a teenager, the girl said the abuse may have started when she was in sixth or seventh grade.
One of the billionaire heirs of the SC Johnson family, Johnson ran Diversey, Inc. until Feb. 2011. At that time, he stepped down citing personal problems, and his sister, Helen Johnson-Leopold took the reins. Diversy was sold to Sealed Air in summer of 2011. If convicted, Johnson faces up to 40 years in prison.