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How the courts work

Frequently asked questions about judges

How long does a circuit court judge have to make a decision in a case?
Supreme Court Rule 70.36 Adobe PDF dictates that a circuit court judge "shall decide each matter submitted for decision within 90 days of the date on which the matter is submitted to the judge in final form." If a decision can not be made within 90 days, the judge shall certify this in the record of the matter and notify the chief judge of the judicial administrative district. The period is then extended for one additional period of 90 days.

How long does an appellate judge or court have to make a decision in a case?
There are no time guidelines for appellate decisions. Statistical reports are available on the Web from 1998 to the present. The section "Average Days to Disposition" shows the average time.

How much are Wisconsin justices and judges paid?
Salaries for circuit court judges and appellate level judges can be found in the judicial branch section of the Wisconsin Blue Book. For fiscal year 2009-2010 circuit court judges earned $128,600; appellate court judges earned $136,316; and supreme court justices earned $144,495 with the chief justice earning $152,495. Salaries may be adjusted annually.

What are the requirements of judicial office?
Article VII of the Wisconsin Constitution provides that, to be eligible for the office of supreme court justice or judge, a person must be an attorney licensed to practice in Wisconsin for the 5 years immediately prior to their election or appointment. No person may serve beyond the July 31 following the day they turn 70 years old, unless assigned temporary service by the chief justice. No justice or judge shall hold any other office of public trust, except a judicial office, during their elected term.

What rules govern judges?
Supreme Court Rule 60, Code of Judicial Conduct Adobe PDF

Can I e-mail or contact a judge involved in my case?
Ex parte communication, communication by or for one party in the case, is prohibited except as permitted by law and for scheduling purposes. See Supreme Court Rule 20:3.3 Adobe PDF and 60.04 Adobe PDF for more information.

Where can I complain about a judge?
The Wisconsin Judicial Commission investigates allegations of judicial misconduct. They provide an online complaint form.

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