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The Third Branch

The Third Branch is a quarterly publication of the Director of State Courts Office, providing news of interest to the Wisconsin Court System. Comments and suggestions may be directed to Tom Sheehan.

Current issue - Fall 2014

Use the links below to navigate the current issue or view the PDF version PDF (printable version)

Featured stories

Supreme Court hears argument in Waukesha
The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard cases in Waukesha County as part of the Justice on Wheels outreach program in October. The visit marked the 25th Justice on Wheels visit since the program began.

Judges gather for 50th Annual Meeting of the Wisconsin Judicial Conference
Judges, justice, and court system staff from around the state met for the 50th Wisconsin Judicial Conference in Appleton. Attendees participated in discussions and educational programs, and heard the chief justice's annual State of the Judiciary address.

Gov. Walker appoints four new judges
New judges have been named in Dane, Jackson, Outagamie, and Waukesha counties by the governor to fill vacancies created by recent retirements.

Counties say goodbye to long-serving clerks of circuit court
Retirements in nine counties mean the loss of 158 combined years of experience in clerk of courts office. The Wisconsin Clerk of Courts Association recently honored those nine retiring clerk of courts.

Leadership: 'Judicial Roundtables' eyed to provide support to judges
Court of Appeals Chief Judge Richard S. Brown writes about a presentation at the National Conference of Lawyers Programs. The presentation focused on the use of roundtables for judges, similar to those used by medical professionals to address the emotionally challenging aspects of their jobs.

Court system submits biennial budget request
The court system has submitted its 2015-17 state budget request, which includes additional funding for payments to counties, support for making electronic case filing mandatory in all counties, and the creation of a statewide treatment court coordinator position.

Court system sees staff changes
The court system welcomes a few new and returning faces and says goodbye to others. 

Milwaukee County Drug Treatment Court celebrates graduations
Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Ellen R. Brostrom congratulated eight drug treatment court graduates and their peer mentor.

Assistance grant sought for Evidence-Based Decision Making
Six Wisconsin counties are included in a grant application that would assist in the development of Evidence-Based Decision Making efforts.

Redesign makes Law Library website more versatile
The redesign of the Wisconsin State Law Library better accommodates browsing on a variety of devices, including phones and tablets, while still maintaining familiar features.

Keepsake book finds its way back to Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson
After finding a personalized copy of Carl Sagan's "The Dragon of Eden," a UW Law School student conducted a little research to reunite the book with its original owners.

Tribal forum helps build ties, address mutual concerns
A three-state tribal forum brings state and tribal court staff together from Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Among the topics addressed were state-tribal specialty courts, implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act, and transfer of cases from state to tribal courts.

Firearm surrender trainings offered
As a result of the new Stopping Abuse Fatalities through Enforcement (SAFE) Act, courts are now required to hold follow-up hearings in abuse and harassment cases where a respondent owns a firearm. The Director of State Court Office offered trainings to prepare court staff for the new legislation.

Eau Claire County Drug Court celebrates 10th anniversary
The Eau Claire County Circuit Court held a ceremony on the courthouse on Nov. 12 to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the county's drug court. The drug court team, members of the public, and local media attended.

Sheboygan attorney honored for creating legal club
Sheboygan judges and attorneys celebrated the Orange Book club, created 40 years ago by Atty. Alex Hopp as a means for the local legal community to meet in a social environment to discuss changes in state law.

MATC hosts elder law clinic
Madison Area Technical College held a free legal clinic for seniors to learn about estate planning, health insurance, social security, and other. Chief Justice Shirley s. Abrahamson addressed attendees.

Cultural proficiency training held for treatment courts
The National Drug Court Institute conducted a training in Racine for treatment court teams in the Second Judicial District to focus on the issue of underrepresentation of minority groups in treatment court programs.

Kenosha judge leads team attending national school summit
Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Mary K. Wagner led a multidisciplinary team at the National Leadership Summit on School Discipline and Climate in Washington, D.C. The conference focused on the use of discipline practices that promote safe learning environments.

Historic "Lawyer Roll" displayed at resource center
The Dane County Legal Resource Center received a "Lawyer Roll" containing signatures of attorney admitted to practice in the state from 1850-1957.

Milwaukee County Courthouse space renovated for legal support, records
The new, larger space provides better accommodations for the Milwaukee Justice Center, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center and the Milwaukee County Civil Records Center.

Columbia County undertakes security preparedness exercise
A security exercise conducted in Columbia County used a active shooter scenario to explore how prepared the county is to face a security crisis. Circuit Court judges and staff participated.

UW Law School celebrates pro bono program
In October, the members of the Dane County legal community gathered at the UW Law School's annual Pro Bono Reception to recognize students who have participated in the pro bono program.

In every issue:
Obituaries
News and notes
Retirements
Awards