By Kyle Maichle, Editor of Wisconsin Election Watch
MADISON – Wisconsin Election Watch conducted research on the biographical information of circuit court judges in Wisconsin. Our results found that virtually all counties in the State of Wisconsin do not post basic biographical information on circuit court judges. The Wisconsin Circuit Court system is the first step where cases are heard on all kinds of legal issues. They hear cases including traffic tickets and criminal jury trials along with selecting jurors to serve on cases.
Only 2 out of 72 counties, La Crosse and Douglas, post comprehensive biographical information on their circuit court judges. Currently, there are 249 circuit court judges in the State of Wisconsin representing 66 individual counties, and six counties that share a judge with another county. Forest and Florence Counties do share a judge together. The other two circuit courts that share a judge together are Buffalo and Pepin Counties along with Menomoniee and Shawano Counties.
On October 11th, Wisconsin Election Watch sent open records requests to all ten district chief judges who oversee and administer Wisconsin’s Circuit Court system. On October 22nd , we received a response from Pam Radlofff in the the Office of State Courts acknowledging the request via e-mail. Radloff told Wisconsin Election Watch that the Office of State Courts have to notify each of the judges before releasing records, which is a requirement of Wisconsin State Statutes. She acknowledged that the request will take longer than the usual processing time of ten business days which is consistent with Wisconsin Department of Justice policy.
Wisconsin Election Watch will keep you informed on any new developments to this story.