Wisconsin Judiciary

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Wisconsin Supreme Court

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is composed of seven justices, elected to 10-year terms in statewide, non-partisan April elections. Vacancies are filled by gubernatorial appointment and the appointee is required to stand for election to a full 10-year term the following spring. The Wisconsin Constitution limits justices to running one at a time. [1]

Wisconsin Court of Appeals

The state’s intermediate appellate court, called the court of appeals, is made up of 16 judges popularly elected from 4 districts. The judges are elected to six-year terms in district-wide, non-partisan April elections. Vacancies are filled by gubernatorial appointment and the appointee is required to stand for election to a full six-year term the following spring. [2]

Wisconsin Circuit Courts

The major trial courts, called circuit courts, have a total of 241 judges, and below them are the county courts. Circuit and county court judges are popularly elected to 6-year terms. All judges in Wisconsin are elected on nonpartisan ballots. Milwaukee County is the largest jurisdiction with 47 circuit court judges; 30 counties have one judge each; smaller counties share a judge.

Municipal Courts

As of September 2005, there were 241 municipal courts and 239 municipal judges in Wisconsin. Milwaukee has the largest municipal court, with three full-time judges and three part-time court commissioners handling more than 240,000 cases annually.

The majority of municipal court cases involve traffic and ordinance matters, including first-time drunken driving offenses. Juvenile matters, such as truancy, underage drinking, drug offenses and curfew violations have become a large part of municipal court caseloads within the last few years. Municipal courts handle a significant portion of the statewide court caseload in these areas. [3]

External Links

  • Wisconsin Court System
  • Supreme Court Judges
  • Court of Appeals Judges
  • Circuit Court Judges
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