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Wisconsin Justice Department to judge: Upholding law outweighs cost of prosecuting singers

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MADISON, Wisconsin — A state attorney says legislators decided maintaining order in the state Capitol outweighs the costs of enforcing access rules.

Demonstrators have been gathering in the Capitol almost daily since 2011 to sing songs criticizing Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Capitol Police issued hundreds of citations against the singers for gathering without a permit between July 2012 and October, when Walker's administration ended the crackdown.

Dane County Circuit Judge Peter Anderson asked DOJ in January to provide a cost-benefit analysis of pursuing so many citations.

Assistant Deputy Attorney General Dan Lennington responded on Thursday with a letter to Anderson. He didn't offer any numerical data, saying instead that legislators concluded the benefit of access rules that protect Capitol visitors outweighs enforcement costs and prosecutors have great discretion on what cases to pursue.

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