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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 - Winter 2015

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

Featured stories

Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and circuit court races on spring ballot
On April 7, Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley will face a challenge from Chief Judge James P. Daley, Rock County Circuit Court, for a 10-year term on the Supreme Court. Two judges will run for a vacant Court of Appeals seat, several circuit court judges will faces challengers, and a number of candidates will run for vacant circuit court seats.

Court system budget before Legislature
Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson testified before the Joint Committee on Finance about Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed 2015-17 state budget would affect the court system.

Wisconsin receives evidence-based decision making grant
The National Institute of Corrections Evidence Based Decision Making Initiative selected Wisconsin and two other states to receive a technical assistance grant to advance evidence-based efforts statewide.

Former Wisconsin court reporter makes president’s record
Ed Johnson, a former court reporter for Marinette and Ozaukee counties, was on-hand to serve as the official reporter for the president’s 2015 State of the Unions Address in Washington,  D.C.

Date set for Supreme Court to hear eFiling petition
On March 17, the Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing on a petition that could eventually phase in mandatory electronic filing in all counties.

Play to tell the story of woman legal pioneer
Lavinia, the play based on the story of Lavinia Goodell, the first woman to be admitted to practice before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, will be produced in theaters in Madison, Janesville and Wausau. A reading will of the play will also be held in Superior.

Leadership: Promoting pro bono work
Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Richard J. Sankovitz talks about the increasing number of self-represented litigants appearing in court, and how judges can recruit lawyers to fulfill their pro bono responsibilities to help address the unmet need for legal help.

Wisconsin team attends Parent Representation Leadership Forum
A team of Wisconsin judges, court staff, and other child welfare stake-holders attended a multi-state forum in Chicago on improving parent representation in child welfare proceedings.

Proposals made by Legislative Council advancing though Legislature
The Joint Legislative Council introduced several bills that would impact the court system. The bills focus on problem-solving courts and adoption laws. Proposals from other study committees of the council will be considered later in March. 

Milwaukee court program a model
The Milwaukee Model Court Project, which was established in 2012, has been recognized as a leader for its work to address best practice standards for children and family court cases.

Racine veterans court celebrates second graduating class
The Second Judicial District Veterans Court, based out of the Racine County Courthouse, celebrated its second graduation in December. The treatment court program serves Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth counties.

Wisconsin selected to participate in child placement pilot program
Three Wisconsin counties will participate in the Judicial Engagement Initiative pilot project designed to focus on child placement in child welfare proceedings to reduce the number of children in out-of-home care.

Outreach article explains uniform record retention
The length of time a clerk of circuit court office retains a record is set by Supreme Court Rule 72. After the minimum retention period, clerk of court office may destroy the record, though the Historical Society may keep copies of certain types of case records.

Child welfare in the courts conference set for fall
The Children’s Court Improvement Program and the Department of Children and Families will co-host a conference in late September-early October on the use of trauma-informed practices in child welfare cases.

Justices help with swearing-in ceremonies
Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson swore Gov. Scott Walker into his second term of office on Jan. 5. Justice David T. Prosser swore in members of the Assembly, and Justice Annette Kingsland Ziegler did the honors for members of the state Senate.

WINGS initiative to address adult guardianship
Adult guardianship issues have increased, as the baby boomer generation ages, and the older population increases. A new adult guardianship initiative brings together forces to improve practices.

Justices, chief judges and district court administrators gather
On Jan. 20, the Supreme Court held its annual joint meeting with the chief judges and district court administrators from each of the 10 judicial districts.

Graphics show changing prison demographics
The Department of Corrections has compiled data to focus on trends and patterns in the adult prison population in Wisconsin.

Legislator participates in Ride-Along program
Sen. Janet Bewley (D-Ashland) visited the Barron County Courthouse as part of a program designed to give judges and legislators a better understanding of the two branches of government.

In every issue:
Obituaries
News and notes
Retirements
New faces