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Supreme Court appoints two new chief judges

Madison, Wisconsin - September 8, 2008

Chief Judge Jeffrey A. Kremers

Chief Judge Jeffrey A. Kremers

Chief Judge Gregory E. Grau

Chief Judge Gregory E. Grau

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has selected circuit court judges from Milwaukee and Wausau to serve as chief judges for their respective judicial administrative districts. The new chief judges begin their terms today, and each will initially serve the remainder of their predecessor’s term. They are eligible to serve a maximum of six years in this leadership role.

Wisconsin is divided into 10 districts for purposes of administering the state court system. Each district has a management team consisting of a chief judge, a deputy chief judge, and a district court administrator. Chief judges manage the flow of cases, supervise personnel, develop budgets, and meet monthly as a committee to work on issues of statewide importance. With the exception of Milwaukee, where the chief judge is a full-time administrator, chief judges and their deputies maintain court calendars in addition to handling administrative matters.

In Milwaukee, Deputy Chief Judge Jeffrey A. Kremers was appointed to succeed Chief Judge Kitty K. Brennan, who recently was appointed to the Court of Appeals. Kremers has served as a deputy chief judge since 2005, and is currently presiding judge in the county’s Felony Division. He has been on the bench in Milwaukee County since 1992.

“I am honored by this appointment, and I look forward to the challenges of leading the state’s largest trial court,” Kremers said. “The First District, under the leadership of Chief Judge Brennan and Chief Judge Michael Sullivan before her, has implemented a broad array of programs designed to improve how we serve the public. Our process for handling domestic abuse cases is a national model, and our work to improve the foster care system and move children into permanent homes is changing lives and strengthening families. A more recent initiative, the Business of the Courts program, helps improve our communication with individuals from business, government and non-profits. There is much to build upon and there are many new ideas to explore.”

The First Judicial District encompasses only Milwaukee County. Kremers’ appointment runs through July 31, 2009. He is expected to appoint two deputy chief judges to assist in the administration of the district.

In Wausau, Judge Gregory E. Grau was appointed to succeed Chief Judge Dorothy L. Bain, who resigned from the bench due to health concerns. A Marathon County Circuit Court judge since 1995, Grau is a former presiding judge who also served as deputy chief judge in District Nine.

“District Nine is known for its innovations, and its ability to develop programs that are replicated across the state,” Grau said. “From training courtroom language interpreters to improving services to people who represent themselves in court, the Ninth District has been on the leading edge as we work to make our justice system the best it can be. I have been proud to be a part of that, and am honored to lead the district.”

The Ninth Judicial District encompasses the circuit courts in Florence, Forest, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Menominee, Oneida, Price, Shawano, Taylor and Vilas counties. Grau’s appointment runs through July 31, 2010. He is expected to appoint one deputy chief judge to assist in the administration of the district.

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