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Supreme Court appoints Court of Appeals chief judge, re-appoints five circuit court chief judges

Story By Maya Reese
Local News Published 07/01/2021 2:27PM
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has appointed Judge William W. Brash, III as chief judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, and the Court re-appointed five circuit court judges to continue serving as chief judges of their respective judicial administrative districts, effective Aug. 1.

Brash was appointed to the District I Court of Appeals in 2015 after serving on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court from 2001 to 2015. He is former presiding judge of the Milwaukee County Civil/Probate Division and previously served as municipal judge for the Village of Fox Point and as a reserve municipal judge. Brash worked as an attorney in private practice from 1978 to 2001. He has a bachelor's degree from St. Norbert College and a law degree from Marquette University Law School.

Brash will replace Chief Judge Lisa S. Neubauer, District II Court of Appeals, who will have served the maximum of six years (two three-year terms) as chief judge. Neubauer remains on the Court of Appeals.

Neubauer was first appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2007. She was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2014 and 2020. Before joining the court, Neubauer worked as an attorney in private practice from 1989 to 2007 and as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb. Neubauer has served on the Planning and Policy Advisory Committee (PPAC) Planning Subcommittee and on the Judicial Conduct Advisory Committee. She has a bachelor's degree from UW-Madison and a law degree (with honors) from the University of Chicago Law School, Order of the Coif.

In addition to maintaining a caseload, the Court of Appeals chief judge handles a variety of administrative duties for the four-district, 16-judge Court of Appeals. Districts are headquartered in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Wausau and Madison. The chief judge works with court administrators and staff on budget matters, case flow management and other administrative matters.

Circuit Court Judicial Administrative Districts

The Supreme Court also appoints circuit court judges to serve up to six years (three two-year terms) as chief judge of each of the state's nine judicial administrative districts.

In District One, the Court re-appointed Chief Judge Mary E. Triggiano, Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Triggiano was first appointed to the bench in 2004. She was elected in 2005 and re-elected in 2011 and 2017. Before her initial appointment as chief judge in 2020, Triggiano had served as a Deputy Chief Judge of the First Judicial Administrative District. She is former presiding judge of the county's Children's Court and the county's Domestic Violence Court.

Triggiano serves on the Wisconsin Supreme Court's Judicial Education Committee and has served on the Judicial Committee on Child Welfare, among numerous other court-related committees. She is a graduate of UW Law School. The First Judicial Administrative District consists of Milwaukee County.

In District Three, the Court re-appointed Chief Judge Jennifer R. Dorow, Waukesha County Circuit Court, to a third two-year term as chief judge. Dorow was first appointed chief judge in 2017. She has served on the Waukesha County Circuit Court since being appointed in 2011. She was elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2018.

Dorow previously served as an assistant district attorney for Waukesha County and worked 12 years as an attorney in private practice. Dorow is a graduate of Marquette University and Regent University Law School. The Third Judicial Administrative District includes Dodge, Jefferson, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties.
In District Four, the Court re-appointed Chief Judge Barbara Key, Winnebago County Circuit Court, to a third two-year term as chief judge. Key was first appointed chief judge in 2017. She was first elected to the Winnebago County Circuit Court in 1998 and re-elected in 2004, 2010 and 2016.

Key previously served as a circuit court commissioner in Winnebago County and as an assistant district attorney in Winnebago and Wood counties. She has also worked as an attorney in private practice. Key is a graduate of UW-Madison and the UW Law School. The Fourth Judicial Administrative District includes Calumet, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Manitowoc, Marquette, Sheboygan, Waushara, and Winnebago counties.

In District Five, the Court re-appointed Chief Judge Thomas J. Vale, Green County Circuit Court. Vale was elected in the Green County Circuit Court in 2009 and re-elected in 2015 and 2021. He was appointed chief judge in 2020. Before joining the court, he worked as an attorney in private practice, from 1981 to 2009. He holds a bachelor's degree from UW-Madison and a law degree from Drake University Law School. Vale is former deputy chief judge of the Fifth Judicial Administrative District. The Fifth Judicial Administrative District includes Columbia, Dane, Green, Lafayette, Rock, and Sauk counties.

In District Seven, the Court re-appointed Chief Judge Robert P. VanDeHey, Grant County Circuit Court. VanDeHey was appointed to Grant County Circuit Court in 1998. He was elected in 1999 and re-elected in 2005, 2011 and 2017. Before joining the court, VanDeHey worked as an attorney in private practice from 1986 to 1998. VanDeHey has a bachelor's degree from UW-Madison and a law degree from the UW Law School. District Seven includes Adams, Buffalo, Clark, Crawford, Grant, Iowa, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, Richland, Trempealeau, and Vernon counties.

Other circuit court judges currently serving as chief judges include:
  • District Two: Chief Judge Jason A. Rossell, Kenosha County Circuit Court
  • District Eight: Chief Judge James A. Morrison, Marinette County Circuit Court
  • District Nine: Chief Judge Gregory B. Huber, Marathon County Circuit Court
  • District Ten: Chief Judge Maureen D. Boyle, Barron County Circuit Court
Working as a team with their deputies and district court administrators, chief judges meet throughout the year as a committee to address administrative issues of statewide importance.

With the exception of the 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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