The Third Branch
Court outreach takes root at Sheboygan farmers market
The Sheboygan County Circuit Court public outreach team during a brief break in the action at the popular Saturday farmers market. From left, Judge Angela W. Sutkiewicz, Sheboygan County Circuit Court; Atty. Roberta A. Heckes; Court Commissioner Rebecca L. Persick, Sheboygan County Circuit Court; and Atty. Elizabeth G. Rich.
Members of the Sheboygan County bench and local attorneys greeted more than 200 visitors at the Sheboygan County Interfaith Farmers Market on a sunny Saturday in June. The event was so successful that organizers are already planning for another public outreach event at the Mills Street Festival in Plymouth next year; the festival typically attracts several thousand people.
At the farmers market, the group fielded questions about the court system and community- and court-related services. Brochures about the Sheboygan County Courthouse and circuit court, contact information for community service and volunteer organizations, and magnets with information about the State Bar Lawyer Referral Service were distributed.
"Our goal is to meet people, hear their questions, concerns and ideas, and to answer as best we can," said Judge Angela W. Sutkiewicz. "For some, the best response is to provide information on how to seek legal representation, and that’s helpful both for the litigant and the court system. Ultimately, I hope that our outreach efforts convey that the courts are here to serve the public, to help resolve difficult disputes as efficiently and effectively as possible."
Working with Sutkiewicz on planning were Judge Patricia S. Curley, Wisconsin Court of Appeals, District I; Atty. Roberta A. Heckes; Court Commissioner Rebecca L. Persick; and Atty. Elizabeth G. Rich.
The event was the first of its kind at this venue. The organizers selected the farmers market because of its visibility, and because it offered them the ability to easily interact with the public, answer questions, and hand out information. In addition, the event was simple to plan and expenses were low.
The State Bar of Wisconsin Bench Bar Committee worked with the Courts Connecting with Communities outreach program to initiate this event.