Wisconsin Legal Overview
The highest court in Wisconsin is the Wisconsin Supreme Court, comprised of seven justices elected statewide for 10-year terms. The intermediate appellate court is the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, with 16 judges in four districts elected district wide for 6-year terms. These judges hear appeals from the circuit courts, which are the main trial courts with general jurisdiction. There are 249 circuit court judges spread over ten judicial administrative districts in 72 counties, and elected county wide for 6-year terms. The circuit courts also take on appeals from the municipal courts, which have limited jurisdiction over local cases.
Top metro Wisconsin areas for Legal Issues:
1. Capital punishment was abolished in Wisconsin in 1853. Landmark cases originating in Wisconsin have clarified the law on freedom of religion and hate crimes. In Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Amish children could not be forced to attend school, and this ruling set the precedent for allowing home schooling. In University of Wisconsin v. Southworth (2000), the court allowed that universities could charge a student activity fee without violating First Amendment rights. In Wisconsin v. Mitchell (1993), the court again ruled in favor of hate crimes legislation that were allegedly infringing on free speech rights.
2. Mercedes Benz has has compensated $618,000 to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a lemon law claim after the victorious lawyer sought garnishment of wages from six Mercedes Benz dealers throughout Wisconsin.
3. The parents of a baby who passed away after contracting a rare bacterial infection as a result of contaminated medical wipes have settled their case against the Wisconsin firms that made them.
Trending Wisconsin Legal Topics: The State Bar of Wisconsin (SBW) was established as a voluntary organization in 1878. It became an integrated bar by order of the Wisconsin Supreme Court in June 1956. SBW membership is now mandatory for all of the 15,250 lawyers licensed to practice law in Wisconsin. There are now over 23,500 SBW members. Lawyers seeking admission into the practice of law must apply to the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners (BBE), whose 11 members are appointed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The SBW, BBE, Supreme Court and the administrative offices and agencies of the judiciary are based in Madison, WI.