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Special Committee on Judicial Discipline and Recusal

Chair: Rep. Gary Hebl
Vice Chair: Sen. Glenn Grothman
Legislative Council Staff:  Jessica Karls-Ruplinger, Don Salm, and Ron Sklansky
Member List 

The Special Committee is directed to: (a) review the current method by which justices and judges are disciplined; (b) examine alternative methods of judicial discipline, including methods of judicial discipline in other states and in the federal court system; and (c) recommend a method by which justices and judges should be disciplined. The Special Committee is also directed to review the current system of judicial recusal and to recommend an objective standard for judicial recusal.

Results of the Joint Legislative Council Meeting
Recommendations to the Joint Legislative Council - January 18, 2012 Meeting
  • Memo to Members of the Special Committee, Council Consideration of Committee Report (January 11, 2012).
  • Proposed Report to the Legislature, No. 2011-08, Legislation on Judicial Discipline and Recusal (March 18, 2011).
  • LRB-1326/1, relating to filing a statement of reasons when a judge or justice denies a motion for disqualification.
  • LRB-1327/1, relating to temporary service by a court of appeals judge in the supreme court in judicial disciplinary proceedings (first consideration).
November 18, 2010
  • WLC: 0012/2, relating to temporary service by a court of appeals judge in the supreme court in judicial disciplinary proceedings (first consideration).
  • WLC: 0018/2, relating to filing a statement of reasons when a judge or justice denies a motion for disqualification.
  • WLC: 0005/1, relating to judicial disqualification based on an objective standard.
  • WLC: 0008/1, relating to notice of campaign contributions made to a judge.
  • WLC: 0010/1, relating to equally divided decisions of the supreme court in cases of judicial misconduct or permanent disability.
  • WLC: 0011/1, relating to a panel of court of appeals judges in disciplinary proceedings involving a supreme court justice (first consideration).
  • WLC: 0012/1, relating to temporary service by a court of appeals judge in the supreme court in judicial disciplinary proceedings (first consideration).
  • WLC: 0013/1, relating to judicial disqualification based on campaign financial support.
  • WLC: 0014/1, relating to the authority of the supreme court to review a decision of a justice to deny a motion to disqualify the justice.
  • WLC: 0018/1, relating to filing a statement of reasons when a judge or justice denies a motion for disqualification.
  • Memo No. 8, Jurisdiction of the Office of Lawyer Regulation and the Judicial Commission.
October 14, 2010
  • Memo No. 7, Legislative Options Regarding Judicial Discipline and Recusal, (October 7, 2010).
  • Testimony, submitted by J. Adam Skaggs, Counsel, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice.
  • Testimony, submitted by Justice at Stake.
  • Memorandum, from William K. Weisenberg, Chair, ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence, to ABA Entities and Affiliated Organizations (October 20, 2010), submitted at the request of Public Member Andrea Kaminski.
  • Handout, Recommendations for Improving Judicial Disqualification Practices and Procedures Among the States, submitted at the request of Public Member Andrea Kaminski.
  • Letter, submitted by Justice Patience Roggensack, Wisconsin Supreme Court.
September 16, 2010
  • Memo No. 4, Judicial Disqualification and Recusal (September 9, 2010).
  • Memo No. 5, Qualification of Judges Under Federal Law and the Due Process (September 9, 2010).
  • Memo No. 6, Overview of Judicial Recusal Laws and Procedures in the 50 States; Discussion of General Proposals from Other States' laws and Legislation (September 9, 2010).
    • Enclosure, American Bar Association Standing Committee on Judicial Independence Report to the House of Delegates.
  • Report, The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2000 - 2009, Decade of Change, distributed at the request of Mike McCabe, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and Andrea Kaminski, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.
  • Testimony, Patience Roggensack, Justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court.
  • Testimony, N. Patrick Crooks, Justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court.
  • Testimony, Marla Stephens, Appellate Division Director, Office of the Wisconsin State Public Defender.
    • Memo, to Doug Kammer, President, State Bar of Wisconsin, to Greg O'Meara, S.J., Chair, Criminal Law Section, Request for State Bar Position on the Integrity of the Justice System.
    • Board of Governors adopts policy position reaffirming the essential role of defense attorneys in the criminal justice system, by Tom Solberg, State Bar of Wisconsin.
  • Testimony, Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson.
  • Testimony, Ann Walsh Bradley, Justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court.
  • Testimony, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
  • Memorandum to Members of the Supreme Court, from Judicial Council (June 27, 1990).
  • Testimony, Keith Findley, Clinical Professor, University of Wisconsin Law School.
August 5, 2010
  • Memo No. 1, Legislative and Judicial Authority (July 28, 2010)/
  • Memo No. 2, Discipline and Removal of Justices and Judges under Wisconsin Law (July 28, 2010).
  • Memo No. 3, Overview of Judicial Discipline Procedures and Available Sanctions in the 50 States and the Surrounding States; and An Overview of Federal Law Regarding Judicial Discipline of Federal Judges (July 28, 2010).
    • Enclosure 1, a table outlining and comparing the key aspects of the investigating and adjudicating bodies in the states.
    • Enclosure 2, several tables briefly outlining the available informal or private sanctions, and formal sanctions in the 50 states.
  • Report, State of Wisconsin 2009 Judicial Commission Annual Report, 2009 Calendar Year.