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The Third Branch

Torhorst appointed to Committee of Chief Judges; Kremers selected to head committee

Chief Judge Allan P. Torhorst Chief Judge Jeffrey A. Kremers
Chief Judge Allan P. Torhorst

Chief Judge Jeffrey A. Kremers

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has selected Racine County Circuit Court Judge Allan P. "Pat" Torhorst as a new member of the Committee of Chief Judges. The Court also reappointed four chief judges to new two-year terms. The appointments took effect Aug. 1.

Torhorst joins nine other circuit court judges who serve on the committee, which consists of one chief judge from each of the state's 10 judicial administrative districts. Torhorst replaces on the committee District Two Chief Judge Mary K. Wagner, Kenosha County Circuit Court, who served the maximum three two-year terms. Wagner continues to serve on the Kenosha County Circuit Court bench. District Two encompasses Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties.

The Supreme Court also re-appointed chief judges from Jefferson County (Judge Randy R. Koschnick), Wood County (Judge Gregory J. Potter), Brown County (Judge Donald R. Zuidmulder) and Vilas County (Judge Neal "Chip" A. Nielson III) to continue serving on the committee. The committee helps the Supreme Court oversee administrative matters in circuit courts statewide.

In addition, the committee of chief judges selected Chief Judge Jeffrey A. Kremers, Milwaukee County Circuit Court, to serve as the chair of the committee, or "chief of the chiefs," during the next year. Kremers replaces Wagner as chair for a one-year term in that position. Kremers has served as chief judge of the First Judicial District, which consists of Milwaukee County, since 2008. Kremers served as a deputy chief judge from 2005 to 2008 and was appointed to the Milwaukee County bench in 1992. He was elected in 1993 and re-elected in 1999, 2005 and 2011. Kremers was in private practice  from 1975 to 1976 and again from 1981 to 1992. In between, he served as an assistant district attorney in Milwaukee County.

Torhorst was elected to the Racine County bench in 1991 and re-elected in 1997, 2003 and 2009. He worked as an attorney in private practice from 1966 to 1991 and served as city attorney of Burlington from 1976 to 1991. He has served on the Planning and Policy Advisory Committee (PPAC) and the Uniform Bond Committee. He holds a bachelor's of science degree from UW-Madison and a law degree from UW Law School.

Working as a team with a deputy chief judge and a professional court administrator, chief judges manage the flow of cases, supervise personnel, develop budgets, and meet as a committee to work on issues of statewide importance. With the exception of the First Judicial District, where the chief judge is a full-time administrator, chief judges and their deputies maintain court calendars in addition to handling administrative matters.

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