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2013

Wisconsin Supreme Court selects chief judges

Madison, Wisconsin - June 28, 2013

The Wisconsin Supreme Court announced today that it has selected a judge from Rock County Circuit Court and a judge who serves both Buffalo and Pepin county circuit courts as new members of the Committee of Chief Judges, effective Aug. 1. The Court also re-appointed judges from Milwaukee, Fond du Lac and St. Croix counties to continue serving on the committee, and it re-appointed Chief Judge Richard Brown, District II Court of Appeals, to continue serving as chief judge of the Court of Appeals.

Chief judges, along with the Supreme Court, help oversee administrative matters in circuit courts statewide and in the Court of Appeals’ four districts. The Committee of Chief Judges consists of 10 chief circuit court judges, one from each of the state’s 10 judicial administrative districts.

Brown was elected to the Court of Appeals in 1978, 1982, 1988, 1994, 2000, 2006. He previously served as an assistant district attorney in Racine County and in private practice. He is a member of the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal and retired from teaching at the National Judicial College in 2011. He holds a law degree from the UW Law School, a B.A. from Miami University, and an LL.M. Judicial Process from the University of Virginia.

In addition to the chief judge appointments by the Supreme Court, the committee of chief judges selected Chief Judge Mary K. Wagner, Kenosha County Circuit Court, to serve as its chair, or “chief of the chiefs,” during the next year. Wagner was first elected to the Kenosha County bench in 1991, and re-elected in 1997, 2003 and 2009. She served in the state Assembly from 1978-82 and as Kenosha County clerk from 1976 to 1978. She also has served as a deputy chief judge in the Second District and was a teacher from 1971 to 1976. District Two encompasses Kenosha, Racine and Walworth Counties.

Deputy Chief Judge James P. Daley, Rock County Circuit Court, was appointed as the new chief judge of the Fifth Judicial Administrative District, which encompasses Dane, Rock, Green and Lafayette counties. Daley replaces on the committee Chief Judge C. William Foust, Dane County Circuit Court, who served on the committee the maximum of three, two-year terms, including one year as its chair. Foust remains on the bench in Dane County.

Daley, who has served as presiding Judge in Rock County since 1998, was appointed to the bench in 1989. He was elected in 1990 and re-elected in 1996, 2002 and 2008. He previously served as Rock County district attorney from 1985 to 1989 and was an attorney in private practice from 1981 to 1985.

A brigadier general in the Wisconsin Army National Guard and decorated U.S. Marine veteran, Daley is widely recognized as a leader in the development of veterans treatment court programs in Wisconsin. He initiated the state’s first veterans court in September 2009.

Daley is a member of the Court Interpretation Committee and previously served on the Criminal Jury Instructions Committee. He holds a law degree from Marquette University Law School and a B.A. from Carroll College.

Judge James J. Duvall, who serves on the bench for both Buffalo County and Pepin County circuit courts, was appointed as the new chief judge of the Seventh Judicial Administrative District. Duvall replaces on the committee Chief Judge William D. Dyke, Iowa County Circuit Court, who has served the maximum three, two-year terms on the committee, including the last year as its chair.

Duvall was appointed to the bench in 2005, elected in 2006, and re-elected in 2012. Prior to that he filled many roles, including Buffalo County district attorney, corporation counsel, assistant district attorney, private attorney and business owner.

Duvall has a law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School and a B.A. from St. Johns University. He began his career in law in Alaska after a clerkship at a large Minneapolis law firm convinced him to seek other ways to use his law degree. The Seventh Judicial Administrative District encompasses Pierce, Pepin, Buffalo, Trempealeau, Jackson, Monroe, La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford, Richland, Grant and Iowa counties.

Chief Judge Jeffrey A. Kremers, Milwaukee County Circuit Court, was re-appointed to continue serving as chief judge of the First Judicial Administrative District, which encompasses Milwaukee County. Kremers was appointed chief judge in 2008 and served as a deputy chief judge since 2005. He has been on the bench in Milwaukee County since first being appointed in 1992. He was elected in 1993 and re-elected in 1999, 2005 and 2011. Kremers was in private practice  from 1975 to 1976 and again from 1981 to 1992. In between, he served as an assistant district attorney from 1976 to 1981.

Chief Judge Robert J. Wirtz, Fond du Lac County Circuit Court, was re-appointed to continue serving as chief judge of the Fourth Judicial Administrative District, which encompasses Winnebago, Calumet, Manitowoc, Fond du Lac and Sheboygan counties. Wirtz previously served as deputy chief judge. He was first elected to the Fond du Lac County bench in 1999 and was re-elected in 2005 and 2011. He served in private practice from 1984-99.

Chief Judge Scott R. Needham, St. Croix County Circuit Court, was re-appointed to continue serving as the chief judge of the Tenth Judicial Administrative District. The Tenth District encompasses the circuit courts in 13 northwestern Wisconsin counties, including: Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Chippewa, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Polk, Rusk, St. Croix, Sawyer, and Washburn. Needham is presiding judge in St. Croix County and previously served as deputy chief judge of the Tenth District. He was first elected in 1994 and re-elected in 2000, 2006 and 2012. Needham worked in private practice from 1978 to 1994.

Working as a team with a deputy chief judge and a professional 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 County (First Judicial Administrative District), where the chief judge is a full-time administrator, chief judges and their deputies maintain court calendars in addition to handling administrative matters.

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