The Third Branch
News and notes
|Justice Ann Walsh Bradley||Judge James P. Daley|
Chief Judge James P. Daley, Rock County Circuit Court and chief judge of the Fifth Judicial District, announced he will run for the Supreme Court seat held by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, the Janesville Gazette reported.
Daley announced his intentions during a press conference Oct. 27 at Lower Courthouse Park in Janesville. Daley was appointed to the bench in 1989, elected in 1990 and re-elected three times since. The Fifth Judicial District encompasses Dane, Green and Rock counties.
Bradley's campaign told the newspaper that she anticipates making a formal announcement to run for reelection in the near future. Bradley was the first woman elected to the Supreme Court without first being appointed in 1995. She was reelected to the Supreme Court in 2005. Bradley previously served as a circuit court judge in Marathon County, having been appointed to that bench in 1985, elected in 1986 and reelected in 1992.
The spring election will be held April 7, 2015. If three or more candidates seek the office, a primary election will be held Feb. 17.
|Justice Michael J. Gableman|
|Barron County Circuit Court Judge James C. Babler and his daughter, Emma, attended the UW Badgers' Homecoming football game on Oct. 23 in Madison. Emma carried on a tradition in which third-year law students wear a top hat and throw a cane over the goal post during a half-time feature. Legend has it that if you successfully toss the cane over the goal post and catch it on the other side, you will win your first case after graduation. Emma tossed the same cane her father tossed (and caught!) 36 years ago during the homecoming game.|
Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Gableman spoke at his alma mater Ripon College on Sept. 17, Constitution Day, as part of an event sponsored by the college's Center for Politics and the People.
The center seeks to promote constructive political debate by informing students, the community and citizens concerned with good governance in politics and public policy.
The event was held in the Great Hall at the Harwood Memorial Union, on the Ripon College campus.
Madison College has been awarded a grant from the U.S Department of Education to fund Realtime training for court reporters, according to a release from the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). The college will use the money to implement redesigned curriculum in the court reporting program.
"With the award, we will be able to fully implement our vision and ensure Madison's court reporting program continues to grow," Lisa Carey, an instructor at Madison College's School of Business and Applied Arts, is quoted as saying. "Some of the funds will help purchase new equipment, support technology updates, develop additional curriculum, establish community partnerships, and market the court reporting profession."
"Courts asking for $21M increase for next budget," headlined an October Wisconsin Law Journal article. The article reported on the court system's 2015-17 biennial budget, which asks for the increase to reimburse counties for circuit court costs, among other things.
|Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson|
"Counties have increased their share of court funding over the years at a time when they are struggling to keep within their levy limits and hold down property taxes," the article quotes Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson as writing in a letter dated Oct. 1.
David Callendar, a lobbyist for the Wisconsin Counties Association, told the Law Journal that the cuts faced by counties over the years could begin taking a toll.
"There's a limited amount of discretion in the court budget," he told the Law Journal. "They can't do anything with the judges' salaries. They can hold positions open, but the biggest discretionary target in the courts program is those circuit court support payments."
The budget also includes eight new staff positions to implement eFiling across the state in an effort to make it mandatory in all counties by December 2018.
The Milwaukee County mental health court was recently featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The pilot program, which launched in February, has had five participants. The program allows qualifying offenders whose crimes stem from their mental illness to avoid jail time if they agree to and meet certain conditions, including monitoring and treatment. They must also allow access to their medical records to determine if they are taking required medications.
|Chief Judge Jeffrey A. Kremers|
|Elizabeth Bradley, left, a third-year law student at UW Law School, poses with her mother, Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, at the Association of Women Lawyers (AWL) annual meeting in Milwaukee on Sept. 16. Elizabeth was awarded an AWL Foundation Scholarship during a ceremony at the meeting. She was recognized for her work on law student projects and previous contributions toward a variety of legal causes.|
The pilot was made possible by a state law that established a mental health board and the Community Justice Council's evidence-based decision-making initiative. Chief Judge Jeffrey A. Kremers, Milwaukee County Circuit Court, presides over the court, where he speaks to participants informally, rather than from behind the bench.
"If someone doesn't succeed in this program, I feel like I've failed," Kremers is quoted as saying to one of the participants.
The article looks at the varying degrees of success the participants have had with the program so far.
The Sheboygan Press recently spoke with a participant in Sheboygan County's Pretrial Intoxicated Intervention Program about her experiences with the program.
"Never once did I feel like a rotten criminal," the participant, identified only as "Jenna," told the paper. "The genuine care they had for my life and my day-to-day progress was definitely profound and appreciated. They're totally dedicated to helping you understand what it takes to get back up after you fall down."
Jenna entered the program after two drunken driving arrests within a few weeks. She underwent monitoring and daily breath tests, and attended therapy, driver safety courses, and a victim-impact panel as part of the program. Successful completion of the program is taken into account by all five Sheboygan County Circuit Court judges during sentencing, according to the article.
|Judge James J. Bolgert|
"The hope is, of course, to not just put them in jail for awhile but to do something that not only punishes them but makes them less dangerous to the public but hopefully helps them personally," Sheboygan County Circuit Court Judge James J. Bolgert is quoted as saying.
The program is offered through the Wisconsin Community Services Program, and is funded by client fees, the Department of Transportation, and the county.
The Wisconsin Law Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently provided news coverage of a report released by the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) in September. The report was prepared by consultants from the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel and the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois.
According to the Law Journal, OLR Director Keith Sellen said the report was the result of Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions released in the spring that raised issues with OLR.
"It was an appropriate time for a consultation," Sellen stated in a memo accompanying the release. "It has been 14 years since the current lawyer regulation system was established; changes have occurred in lawyer regulation throughout the country; and the Supreme Court has expressed concerns about the system in recent disciplinary decisions."
|Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson poses with Pro Bono Publico Award recipient and Marquette University Law School student Britteny M. LaFond. LaFond received the award at the Milwaukee Bar Association's 11th annual State of the Court Luncheon on Oct. 22.|
A review of the lawyer regulation system in 1999 created the OLR. Another review in 2012 was commissioned by the Board of Administrative Oversight. The board is responsible for monitoring the fairness, effectiveness and efficiency of the OLR system.
The full report can be found on the court system's website.
|Judge Rhonda L. Lanford|
Dane County Circuit Court Judge Rhonda L. Lanford writes about her childhood, her career, and being openly gay in Our Lives magazine's November/December cover story. She talks about growing up poor in Iron River, having a mother who was known around town for sticking up for her children -"If only the movement against bullying would have had my mother at the helm, things might have progressed a little more quickly," she writes - and a feeling of being "different."
After years of fighting her feelings and trying to be "normal," Lanford writes that she came out in 1986. She began surrounding herself with people who accepted her, and found her home in Madison, when she moved there in 1992.
The Wisconsin Law Journal contacted all 71 county courthouses in the state to assess their current technological capabilities. The report states that 60 of the counties have public Wi-Fi access.
Having access to Wi-Fi in the courtroom can even the playing field for defense attorneys, according to Atty. Sarah Zylstra, Dane County Bar president.
"It sort of keeps people honest, if you will, in real time," she told the paper, since prosecutors often have internet access at their tables.
Courthouses without access leave attorneys having to rely on trying to find information on their phones or from staff at their office during court breaks.
The Dane County Courthouse has public Wi-Fi access on two floors. According to the article, the Dane County Bar Association wanted Wi-Fi access to be part of the plan when the current courthouse was built in 2006, but funding was available only for two floors.
"They have the capability... to access documents and things that can be very, very useful to members of the defense bar," Dane County Clerk of Court Carlo Esqueda told the Law Journal.
|Waupaca County Court Reporter Jannell Mineau helps Waupaca County Circuit Court Judge Philip M. Kirk participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Aug. 21. Photo credit: Angela Landsverk/Waupaca County Post|
Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley have been named ambassadors to the iCivics program. Founded in 2009 as "Our Courts," iCivics has provided free interactive and engaging educational resources on government to over four million children across the country.
In their new roles, Abrahamson and Bradley will continue to promote the program through fundraising support and visibility efforts. Both had previously served as state coordinators for the program.
|Chief Judge Neal A. Nielsen||Judge James R. Beer|
Chief Judge Neal A. Nielsen, Vilas County Circuit Court, got his 15 minutes of fame in October when he appeared in an episode of ABC's news show 20/20 about a murder for hire case he had presided over. The case was heard in Marathon County, and Nielsen was assigned after several requests for substitution were made by the defense attorney.
Jessica Strom was convicted of attempting to hire someone to kill her fiancé, Atty. John Schellpfeffer. Nielsen appears briefly during footage of the court proceedings. The episode can be found at: abc.go.com/shows/2020/listing/2014-10/09-2020-1010-woman-offer-cash-sex-in-murderforhire-plot-to-kill-fiance
Green County Circuit Court Judge James R. Beer will have two articles published in Wisconsin Archeologist next year. Beer, who has been collecting birdstones and other rare artifacts for over 50 years, submitted the articles on two new acquisitions to his collection, along with photos. For more information on Beer's collection, see The Third Branch, fall 2013.
The final cost for the Milwaukee County Courthouse fire came in at $19.1 million, according to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The July 2013 fire shut down the courthouse for several days. According to the article, as of September, all but $1 million has been paid by the Local Government Property Insurance Fund. The repairs to the building are expected to be completed this fall.
|Justice David T. Prosser discussed the Supreme Court with a crowd of more than 50 students from D.C. Everest Senior High School during a break in oral arguments in the Supreme Court Hearing Room on Oct. 1. Justices take the time to meet with students on a rotating basis on most oral argument days as part of the Court with Class outreach program.|
|Justice Annette Kingsland Ziegler discusses an agenda item with fellow members of the Wisconsin Judicial Council during a meeting Sept. 19 at the state Capitol. Clockwise from Ziegler are council chair Atty. Thomas Bertz; Council Staff Atty. April Southwick; Atty. Amy Wochos, Milwaukee County Circuit Court; Atty. Devon M. Lee, State Public Defender's Office; Rep. Jim Ott (R-Mequon); Judge Jeffrey A. Wagner, Milwaukee County Circuit Court; Judge Gerald P. Ptacek, Racine County Circuit Court; Judge Brian W. Blanchard, District IV Court of Appeals; Atty. Ben Pliskie, Blommer Peterman S.C.; Atty. William Gleisner III; and Atty. Jill Kastner, Legal Action. The Judicial Council voted to approve amendments to a comprehensive bill on criminal procedures that was introduced in the legislature last session. The bill will be sent to the Legislative Reference Bureau to be redrafted, then introduced in its revised form during the upcoming legislative session.|