New judges elected to Wisconsin Court of Appeals, 11 circuit court branches
Madison, Wisconsin - April 21, 2021
Two new Court of Appeals judges and 11 new circuit court judges, including four in newly created branches in Calumet, Dunn, Jackson and Marathon counties, will take office on Aug. 1 as a result of the Spring Election.
Court of Appeals
Judge-elect Shelley A. Grogan defeated incumbent Judge Jeffrey O. Davis, for a seat on the District II Court of Appeals, headquartered in Waukesha. Grogan is a municipal judge in Muskego and judicial assistant to Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Grassl Bradley. Grogan previously served as judicial law clerk to former Court of Appeals judges Ted Wedemeyer and Ralph Adam Fine. She is an adjunct professor of Law at Marquette University Law School, where she earned her law degree.
Davis was appointed to the bench in 2019 to fill the vacancy created when then-Court of Appeals Judge Brian Hagedorn was elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Davis previously worked in private practice and as an adjunct professor at Marquette University Law School.
Outagamie Circuit Court Judge Gregory B. Gill Jr. defeated attorney Rick Cveykus to earn a spot on the District III Court of Appeals, headquartered in Wausau. Gill has served on the Outagamie County Circuit Court since first being appointed in 2011. He was elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2018. Before joining the circuit court, Gill worked in private practice and as an assistant district attorney. He previously worked as a law clerk to Judge William C. Griesbach, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
Gill will fill the vacancy to be created by the retirement of Judge Mark A. Seidl. Seidl was first elected to the District III Court of Appeals in 2015. He previously worked in private practice in Wausau, as a law clerk and as a high school and college teacher.
Judge Maxine A. White, who was appointed to the District I Court of Appeals early last year, was uncontested on the April 6 ballot. Before her appointment to the Court of Appeals, White had served as a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge since 1992, including service as chief judge and deputy chief judge of the First Judicial Administrative District. White previously had served as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Wisconsin and as an administrator in the United States Department of Health and Human Services and Social Security Administration.
Voters elected new judges to preside over newly created circuit court branches in Calumet, Dunn, Jackson and Marathon counties. The branches were created as a result of 2019 Wisconsin Act 184, which authorized the Director of State Courts to select four counties for new branches each year in 2021, 2022 and 2023. Counties are selected for new branches based on judicial caseload and other factors, such as preparedness of county government facilities.
Three incumbent circuit court judges statewide faced challengers on April 6, with one each winning re-election in Bayfield and Brown counties, and one being defeated in Kenosha County. Incumbent judges in 51 circuit court branches were returned to office uncontested.
Judge John P. Anderson, Bayfield County Circuit Court, defeated Vincent S. Kurta, an assistant district attorney in Sawyer County. Anderson is deputy chief judge of the 10th Judicial Administrative District. Anderson was first elected in 2003 and was re-elected in 2009 and 2015. He previously served as a court commissioner and worked as an attorney in private practice.
Brown County Circuit Court Judge Kendall M. Kelley defeated challenger Green Bay Assistant City Attorney Rachel Maes for the Branch 4 bench. Kelley was first appointed in 2002, elected in 2003 and has now been re-elected four times. Kelley previously worked as an assistant district attorney, municipal judge, in private practice and served as an officer in the Judge Advocate Generals Corps, U.S. Navy.
Attorney Carey J. Reed defeated Atty. Kimberly Tenerelli to fill the newly created Calumet County Circuit Court Branch 2 bench. Reed is a 1997 graduate of Marquette Law School and has been in private practice for 24 years. He has also served as a Guardian ad Litem in Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties.
Private practice attorney Luke M. Wagner was elected without a challenger to the newly created Branch 3 of the Dunn County Circuit Court. Wagner has also served as part-time Dunn County court commissioner. He is a graduate of William Mitchell College of Law.
Atty. Christina M. Mayer defeated Dunn County Corporation Counsel Nicholas P. Lange to fill the Dunn County Circuit Court Branch 2 vacancy being created by the retirement of Judge Rod W. Smeltzer. Mayer is a graduate of Oklahoma City University School of Law and practices in Menomonie.
Smeltzer was elected in 1997, 2003, 2009 and 2015 and had previously served as an assistant district attorney in Dunn County. He served as an assistant district attorney in Dunn County from 1989 to 1997.
Fond du Lac County
Former Green Lake County District Attorney and Andrew J. Christenson defeated Fond du Lac attorney Laura Lavey for the Fond du Lac Branch 3 bench held by Judge Richard J. Nuss, who is retiring. Christenson also previously served as an assistant district attorney in Fond du Lac County.
Nuss was first appointed to the court in 2002, elected in 2003 and re-elected in 2009 and 2015. He previously worked as a court commissioner, in private practice and served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps.
In Green County, Atty. Faun Marie Phillipson defeated Atty. Jane Bucher to fill the Branch 1 bench now held by Judge James R. Beer, who is retiring. Phillipson will be the first woman to serve as judge in Green County. Phillipson has a law degree from Yeshiva University's Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She has been in private practice since 2004 at office locations in New Glarus and New York.
Beer has served on the Green County Circuit Court since being appointed in 1996. He was elected in 1997 and re-elected in 2003, 2009 and 2015. He previously served as a court commissioner and Green County District Attorney.
Jackson County District Attorney Daniel S. Diehn defeated Atty. Robyn Matousek for the newly created Branch 2 bench of the Jackson County Circuit Court. Diehn has worked in private practice, as Black River Falls city attorney and as a court commissioner. He is a graduate of Arizona State University College of Law.
Walworth County circuit court commissioner Gerad T. Dougvillo defeated incumbent Judge Larisa Benitez-Morgan for the Kenosha County Circuit Court Branch 1 bench.
Dougvillo previously worked as an assistant district attorney in Racine County. Benitez-Morgan was first appointed in 2020 and previously served an assistant public defender and worked in private practice.
Kenosha County Deputy District Attorney Angelina Gabriele defeated Atty. Angela Cunningham for the Kenosha County Circuit Court Branch 6 bench held by Judge Mary K. Wagner, who is retiring.
Gabriele has has been deputy district attorney since 2007. She was previously a state assistant attorney general and an assistant district attorney in Kenosha County. She is a graduate of the UW Law School.
Wagner was first elected in 1991 and was re-elected four times, most recently in 2015. She served as chief judge and as a deputy chief judge of the Second Judicial Administrative District during part of her tenure. Before joining the court, Wagner had previously worked as a tax appeals commissioner and an attorney in private practice. She served as a representative in the Wisconsin State Assembly, from 1978 to 1982, as Kenosha County Clerk, from 1976 to 1978 and as a teacher from 1971 to 1976.
Marathon County Corporation Counsel Scott Corbett defeated Wausau-based private practice attorney Dan Cveykus to win the newly created Branch 6 bench. Corbett has a law degree from North Dakota Law School and previously worked in private practice. He has been the Marathon County's chief legal counsel since 2008.
Atty. Katie B. Kegel, an assistant public defender in Waukesha County, defeated Atty. Susan Roth for the Milwaukee County Circuit Court Branch 3 judgeship held by Judge Clare L. Fiorenza, who is retiring. Kegel is a Marquette University Law School graduate.
Fiorenza was first appointed in 1996 and elected in 1997, 2003, 2009 and 2015. Fiorenza worked as in private practice from 1984 to 1996 and also previously as law clerk to the late Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Donald W. Steinmetz.
Assistant Calumet County District Attorney Samantha R. Bastil was elected unchallenged to the Sheboygan County Circuit Court Branch 1 seat now held by retiring Judge Edward L. Stengel. Bastil earned her law degree from Marquette University Law School and previously worked as a prosecutor and assistant corporation counsel in Sheboygan County.
Stengel was first elected to the Sheboygan County Circuit Court in 1985 and was re-elected in 1991, 1997, 2003, 2009 and 20015. He served as chief judge and deputy chief judge of the Fourth Judicial Administrative District during his tenure.
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