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The Third Branch

Obituaries

Judge Thomas P. Doherty

Judge Thomas P. Doherty

Judge Thomas P. Doherty
Milwaukee County Circuit Court

Judge Thomas P. Doherty passed away on Aug. 21. He was 83.

Doherty was appointed to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court Branch 27 bench in 1980. He had previously served as a deputy district attorney for Milwaukee County and as a trial attorney for the Milwaukee County Defender Project. He was a graduate of Marquette University High School and Marquette University, and received his law degree from Marquette Law School.

In 1989, Doherty presided over a high-profile case that made national headlines. He convicted New York Yankees Outfielder Luis Polonia for having sex with a minor in a Milwaukee hotel. After postponing sentencing until after the baseball season ended, Doherty sentenced Polonia to 60 days in jail and ordered him to make a $10,000 contribution to Milwaukee's Sinai Samaritan Medical Center's sexual assault treatment center.

Doherty was named deputy chief judge for the First Judicial District in 1995. He was a member of the ABA National Conference of State Trial Judges, the Criminal Jury Instruction Committee, and the Judicial Council. He also served as a delegate for the American Judges Association, where he served as chair of the Court Organization and Administration Committee and vice chair of the Public Information and Relations Committee.

After announcing his plans to retire in the summer of 2001, Doherty told The Third Branch of his plans, "I thought I'd do nothing until I got bored. If I never get bored, I'll keep doing nothing." After his retirement, he worked in mediation practice.

Doherty is survived by his two children, Mary and Tim. He was preceded in death by his wife of 44 years, Elizabeth.

Judge Robert W. Radcliffe
Jackson County Circuit Court

Judge Robert W. Radcliffe

Judge Robert W. Radcliffe

Former Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Robert W. Radcliffe passed away on Sept. 8 at the age of 80.

Radcliffe served on the Jackson County Circuit Court bench for 18 years, after first being elected in 1984. After his retirement in 2002, he continued to serve as a reserve judge. He had previously served as district attorney for Jackson County for 12 years, and worked in private practice.

Radcliffe received his undergraduate degree from UW-La Crosse before serving as a Lieutenant Junior Grade (JG) in the U.S. Navy from 1954-58, part of that time as a jet pilot on the USS Hornet. He received his law degree from UW Law School.

While on the bench, Radcliffe served as deputy chief judge and later as chief judge for District Seven. While serving as chief judge, he was elected by the other nine chief judges to serve as the "chief of the chiefs" and head the Committee of Chief Judges. He was a former member of the Chief Judges Subcommittee on Jury Issues, the Planning and Policy Advisory Committee (PPAC), the Judicial Conduct Advisory Committee, and an establishing member of the Chief Judges' Subcommittee on Juror Selection and Treatment. He also worked with the Jackson County Health and Human Services Department to create the Jackson County Underage Alcohol Violation Program in 1993.

In 2007, the La Crosse Tribune spoke with Radcliffe for an article they wrote on reserve judges.

"I enjoy being involved with the judicial system again and keeping myself up to date on the changes in the law as it affects the court system," he told the paper. "I'd much rather be driving my tractor or working in my garden or hunting, but I enjoy filling in."

He is survived by his wife, Judy; four children; and eight grandchildren. 

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