An entity characterized as the “office of the district attorney" or “district attorney," separate from the elected official, does not have authority to sue or be sued. Buchanan v. City of Kenosha, 57 F. Supp. 2d 675
Implementation legislation is necessary before counties under 500,000 may abolish the office of coroner. 61 Atty. Gen. 355.
A county board in a county under 500,000 can abolish the elective office of coroner and implement a medical examiner system to be effective at the end of incumbent coroner's term. Language in 61 Atty. Gen. 355 inconsistent herewith is withdrawn. 63 Atty. Gen. 361.
This section does not immunize counties from liability for their own acts. Soderbeck v. Burnett County, Wis. 752 F.2d 285
A county sheriff is an officer of the state, not county, when fulfilling constitutional obligations. Soderbeck v. Burnett County, Wis. 821 F.2d 446
(7th Cir. 1987).
A sheriff represents the county when enforcing the law. Sovereign immunity for state officials under the 11th amendment
to the U.S. constitution does not apply. Abraham v. Piechowski, 13 F Supp 2d 870 (1998).
[As amended Nov. 1932
] The court for the trial of impeachments shall be composed of the senate. The assembly shall have the power of impeaching all civil officers of this state for corrupt conduct in office, or for crimes and misdemeanors; but a majority of all the members elected shall concur in an impeachment. On the trial of an impeachment against the governor, the lieutenant governor shall not act as a member of the court. No judicial officer shall exercise his office, after he shall have been impeached, until his acquittal. Before the trial of an impeachment the members of the court shall take an oath or affirmation truly and impartially to try the impeachment according to evidence; and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present. Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, or removal from office and disqualification to hold any office of honor, profit or trust under the state; but the party impeached shall be liable to indictment, trial and punishment according to law. [1929 J.R. 72, 1931 J.R. 58, vote Nov. 1932
[As amended April 1966 and April 1977
] The judicial power of this state shall be vested in a unified court system consisting of one supreme court, a court of appeals, a circuit court, such trial courts of general uniform statewide jurisdiction as the legislature may create by law, and a municipal court if authorized by the legislature under section 14. [1963 J.R. 48, 1965 J.R. 50, vote April 1966; 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977
The Shawano-Menominee court was a constitutional district court since Menominee county was not organized for judicial purposes. Pamanet v. State, 49 Wis. 2d 501
, 182 N.W.2d 459
If s. 425.113 were to be interpreted so as to remove a court's power to issue a body attachment for one who chooses to ignore its orders, that interpretation would cause the statute to be unconstitutional as a violation of the principle of separation of powers. Smith v. Burns, 65 Wis. 2d 638
, 223 N.W.2d 562
Courts have no inherent power to stay or suspend the execution of a sentence in the absence of statutory authority. A court's refusal to impose a legislatively mandated sentence constitutes an abuse of discretion and usurpation of the legislative field. State v. Sittig, 75 Wis. 2d 497
, 249 N.W.2d 770
WERC is authorized by s. 111.06 (1) (L) to determine whether conduct in violation of criminal law has occurred, which is not a delegation of judicial power in violation of Art. VII, sec. 2 nor does the administrative procedure violate Art. I, sec. 8. Layton School of Art & Design v. WERC, 82 Wis. 2d 324
, 262 N.W.2d 218
Courts have no inherent power to dismiss a criminal complaint with prejudice prior to attachment of jeopardy. State v. Braunsdorf, 92 Wis. 2d 849
, 286 N.W.2d 14
(Ct. App. 1979).
The highest standard of proof of an articulated compelling need must be met before a court will order the expenditure of public funds for its own needs. Flynn v. Department of Administration, 216 Wis. 2d 521
, 576 N.W.2d 245
Judicial assistants are subject to the judiciary's exclusive authority once appointed. Any collective bargaining agreement between a county and employee's union that provides for possible “bumping" of the assistant by another employee and final and binding arbitration regarding disputes over bumping is an unconstitutional infringement on the court's inherent powers. Barland v. Eau Claire County, 216 Wis. 2d 560
, 575 N.W.2d 691
Probation and probation revocation are within the powers shared by the branches of government. Legislative delegation of revocation to the executive branch does not unduly burden or substantially interfere with the judiciary's constitutional function to impose criminal penalties. State v. Horn, 226 Wis. 2d 637
, 594 N.W.2d 772
A court's inherent powers are those that must be used to enable the judiciary to accomplish its constitutional or statutory functions and include the power to maintain the dignity of the court, transact its business, or accomplish the purpose of its existence. Courts have inherent power to investigate claims that a party is engaging in fraudulent behavior or improperly influencing witnesses, and a court is within its authority to hold an evidentiary hearing on such matters. Schultz v. Sykes, 2001 WI App 255
, 248 Wis. 2d 746
, 638 N.W.2d 604
The issuance of a search warrant is not an exercise of “[t]he judicial power," as that phrase in employed in Art. VII, s. 2. Instead, issuance of a valid search warrant requires that the individual be authorized by law to issue the warrant, that he or she be neutral and detached, and that the warrant be issued only upon a showing of probable cause. Section 757.69 (1) (b), which allocates the power to issue search warrants to circuit court commissioners, does not impermissibly intrude upon “[t]he judicial power" granted to the courts by Art. VII, s. 2. State v. Williams, 2012 WI 59
, 341 Wis. 2d 191
, 814 N.W.2d 460
The order of reference in this case impermissibly delegated to the referee judicial power vested by this section in Wisconsin's unified court system. Constitutional judges can take no power from the legislature to subdelegate their judicial functions. Referees may share in judicial labor but cannot assume the place of the judge. In this case, the order of reference enabled the referee to hear and decide all motions filed, whether discovery or dispositive, subject to review by the circuit court under the standard of erroneous exercise of discretion, impermissibly reducing the function of the circuit court to that of a reviewing court. Insofar as the order of reference authorized the referee to supervise pretrial discovery disputes, the order did not contravene the state constitution's vesting of judicial power in a unified court system. Universal Processing Services v. Circuit Court of Milwaukee County, 2017 WI 26
, 374 Wis. 2d 26
, 892 N.W.2d 267
Permitting an executive agency to review judges' official actions for compliance with the victims' rights laws would upend the constitutional structure of separated powers. An executive agency, acting pursuant to authority delegated by the legislature, may not review a court's exercise of discretion, declare its application of the law to be in error, and then sanction the judge for making a decision the agency disfavors. Any other response would unconstitutionally permit an executive entity to substitute its judgment for that of the judge — effectively imposing an executive veto over discretionary judicial decision making and incentivizing judges to make decisions not in accordance with the law but in accordance with the demands of the executive branch in order to avoid a public rebuke reinforced with the imprimatur of a quasi-judicial board. Gabler v. Crime Victims Rights Board, 2017 WI 67
, 376 Wis. 2d 147
, 897 N.W.2d 384
While the court's constitutional judicial discipline power does not expressly include authority to assess a forfeiture or impose an equitable remedy, allowing the legislature to create an executive board with the power to penalize or enjoin official judicial action would be anathema to the judicial independence preserved by the separation of governmental powers under the Wisconsin Constitution. Gabler v. Crime Victims Rights Board, 2017 WI 67
, 376 Wis. 2d 147
, 897 N.W.2d 384
In mental hearings under 51.02, 1973 stats., or alcohol or drug abuse hearings under 51.09 (1), 1973 stats., the power to appoint an attorney at public expense, to determine indigency and to fix compensation are judicial and must be exercised by the court or under its direction and cannot be limited by the county board or delegated to a private nonprofit corporation. 63 Atty. Gen. 323.
Unless acting in a clear absence of all jurisdiction, judges are immune from liability for judicial acts, even when such acts are in excess of their jurisdiction and are alleged to have been done maliciously or corruptly. Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349
An integrated state bar's use of mandatory dues to fund political or ideological activities violates free speech provisions. Keller v. State Bar of California, 496 U.S. 226
, 110 L. Ed. 2d 1
Court reform of 1977: The Wisconsin supreme court ten years later. Bablitch. 72 MLR 1 (1988).
The separation of powers control of courts and lawyers. Currie, Resh, 1974 WBB No. 6.
Supreme court: jurisdiction. Section
[As amended April 1977
The supreme court shall have superintending and administrative authority over all courts.
The supreme court has appellate jurisdiction over all courts and may hear original actions and proceedings. The supreme court may issue all writs necessary in aid of its jurisdiction.
The supreme court may review judgments and orders of the court of appeals, may remove cases from the court of appeals and may accept cases on certification by the court of appeals. [1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977
The supreme court's authority to issue a writ of error is not dependent upon a specific legislative enactment, but the constitution and statutes relating to its appellate jurisdiction give it the authority to issue such writs as are necessary to exercise its appellate jurisdiction. Shave v. State, 49 Wis. 2d 379
, 182 N.W.2d 505
A writ of error coram nobis cannot be used for the purpose of producing newly discovered evidence affecting only the credibility of a confession. Mikulovsky v. State, 54 Wis. 2d 699
, 196 N.W.2d 748
The supreme court exercises an inherent supervisory power over the practice of the law and this can be more effectively exercised with an independent review. Contrary language, if any, in prior cases withdrawn. Herro, McAndrews & Porter v. Gerhardt, 62 Wis. 2d 179
, 214 N.W.2d 401
The supreme court declines to adopt the equitable doctrine of “substituted judgment" under which a court substitutes its judgment for that of a person incompetent to arrive at a decision for himself or herself. In re Guardianship of Pescinski, 67 Wis. 2d 4
, 226 N.W.2d 180
Courts are endowed with all judicial powers essential to carry out the judicial functions delegated to the courts. These powers are known as incidental, implied, or inherent powers, all of which terms are used to describe those powers that must necessarily be used by the various departments of government in order that they may efficiently perform the functions imposed upon them by the people. In re Hon. Charles E. Kading, 70 Wis. 2d 508
, 235 N.W.2d 409
Adoption by the supreme court of a rule 17 requiring annual financial disclosure by judges of assets and liabilities was valid and enforceable under the court's inherent power to function as the supreme court and under the court's general superintending control over all inferior courts. In re Hon. Charles E. Kading, 70 Wis. 2d 508
, 235 N.W.2d 409
A declaration of rights is an appropriate vehicle for the exercise of superintending control over inferior courts. State ex rel. Memmel v. Mundy, 75 Wis. 2d 276
, 249 N.W.2d 573
The supreme court has power to formulate and carry into effect a court system budget. Moran v. Dept. of Admin. 103 Wis. 2d 311
, 307 N.W.2d 658
The court will invalidate legislation only for constitutional violations. State ex rel. La Follette v. Stitt, 114 Wis. 2d 358
, 338 N.W.2d 684
A statute that required the withholding of a judge's salary for failure to decide cases within a specified time was an unconstitutional intrusion by the legislature into an area of exclusive judicial authority. In Matter of Complaint Against Grady, 118 Wis. 2d 762
, 348 N.W.2d 559
A court's inherent power to appoint counsel is not derived from an individual litigant's constitutional right to counsel, but rather is inherent to serve the interests of the court. A court may use its inherent discretionary authority to appoint counsel in furtherance of the court's need for the orderly and fair presentation of a case. Joni B. v. State, 202 Wis. 2d 1
, 549 N.W.2d 411
When confronted with a direct conflict between a decision of the state supreme court and a later decision of the U.S. Supreme Court on a matter of federal law, the court of appeals may certify the case to the state supreme court under s. 809.61. If it does not, or certification is not accepted, the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution compels adherence to U.S. Supreme Court precedent on matters of federal law, although it means deviating from a conflicting decision of the state supreme court. State v. Jennings, 2002 WI 44
, 252 Wis. 2d 228
, 647 N.W.2d 142
Determining whether to recuse is the sole responsibility of the individual justice for whom disqualification from participation is sought. A majority of the court does not have the power to disqualify a judicial peer from performing the constitutional functions of a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice on a case-by-case basis. Aside from actions brought under the Judicial Code, the only constitutional authority to remove a justice rests with the legislature, by impeachment or address, or the voters by recall. State v. Henley, 2011 WI 67
, 802 N.W.2d 175
On the facts of this case, the court exercised its superintending authority to determine that the superintendent of public instruction and the Department of Public Instruction were entitled to counsel of their choice and were not required to be represented by the Department of Justice. Koschkee v. Evers, 2018 WI 82
, 382 Wis. 2d 666
, 913 N.W.2d 878
The Virginia supreme court was not immune from suit under s. 1983. Supreme Court of Virginia v. Consumers Union, 446 U.S. 719
Inherent power and administrative court reform. 58 MLR 133.
Supreme court: election, chief justice, court system administration. Section
[As amended Nov. 1877, April 1889, April 1903, April 1977, and April 2015
The supreme court shall have 7 members who shall be known as justices of the supreme court. Justices shall be elected for 10-year terms of office commencing with the August 1 next succeeding the election. Only one justice may be elected in any year. Any 4 justices shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of the court's business.
The chief justice of the supreme court shall be elected for a term of 2 years by a majority of the justices then serving on the court. The justice so designated as chief justice may, irrevocably, decline to serve as chief justice or resign as chief justice but continue to serve as a justice of the supreme court.
The chief justice of the supreme court shall be the administrative head of the judicial system and shall exercise this administrative authority pursuant to procedures adopted by the supreme court. The chief justice may assign any judge of a court of record to aid in the proper disposition of judicial business in any court of record except the supreme court. [1876 J.R. 10, 1877 J.R. 1, 1877 c. 48, vote Nov. 1877; 1887 J.R. 5, 1889 J.R. 3, 1889 c. 22, vote April 1889; 1901 J.R. 8, 1903 J.R. 7, 1903 c. 10, vote April 1903; 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977; 2013 J.R. 16, 2015 J.R. 2, vote April 2015
Voting and Electoral Politics in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Czarnezki. 87 MLR 323.
Section 5. [Repealed April 1977; see 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977.]
Court of appeals.
[As created April 1977
The legislature shall by law combine the judicial circuits of the state into one or more districts for the court of appeals and shall designate in each district the locations where the appeals court shall sit for the convenience of litigants.
For each district of the appeals court there shall be chosen by the qualified electors of the district one or more appeals judges as prescribed by law, who shall sit as prescribed by law. Appeals judges shall be elected for 6-year terms and shall reside in the district from which elected. No alteration of district or circuit boundaries shall have the effect of removing an appeals judge from office during the judge's term. In case of an increase in the number of appeals judges, the first judge or judges shall be elected for full terms unless the legislature prescribes a shorter initial term for staggering of terms.
The appeals court shall have such appellate jurisdiction in the district, including jurisdiction to review administrative proceedings, as the legislature may provide by law, but shall have no original jurisdiction other than by prerogative writ. The appeals court may issue all writs necessary in aid of its jurisdiction and shall have supervisory authority over all actions and proceedings in the courts in the district. [1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977
The court of appeals does not have jurisdiction to entertain an original action unrelated to its supervisory or appellate authority over circuit courts. State ex rel. Swan v. Elections Board, 133 Wis. 2d 87
, 394 N.W.2d 732
The court of appeals is authorized to exercise its supervisory authority over a chief judge who is ruling on a substitution request. James L.J. v. Walworth County Circuit Court, 200 Wis. 2d 496
, 546 N.W.2d 460
Only the supreme court has the power to overrule, modify, or withdraw language from a published opinion of the court of appeals. Cook v. Cook, 208 Wis. 2d 166
, 560 N.W.2d 246
A Shift in the Bottleneck: The Appellate Caseload Problem Twenty Years After the Creation of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Garlys. 1998 WLR 1547.
Circuit court: boundaries. Section
As amended April 1977
] The legislature shall prescribe by law the number of judicial circuits, making them as compact and convenient as practicable, and bounding them by county lines. No alteration of circuit boundaries shall have the effect of removing a circuit judge from office during the judge's term. In case of an increase of circuits, the first judge or judges shall be elected. [1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977
Circuit court: election. Section
As amended April 1897, Nov. 1924, and April 1977
] For each circuit there shall be chosen by the qualified electors thereof one or more circuit judges as prescribed by law. Circuit judges shall be elected for 6-year terms and shall reside in the circuit from which elected. [1895 J.R. 8, 1897 J.R. 9, 1897 c. 69, vote April 1897; 1921 J.R. 24S, 1923 J.R. 64, 1923 c. 408, vote Nov. 1924; 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977
Circuit court: jurisdiction. Section
[As amended April 1977
] Except as otherwise provided by law, the circuit court shall have original jurisdiction in all matters civil and criminal within this state and such appellate jurisdiction in the circuit as the legislature may prescribe by law. The circuit court may issue all writs necessary in aid of its jurisdiction. [1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977
Although prohibition is not the appropriate remedy to suppress prosecution on an illegal search warrant, the supreme court treated the case as a petition for habeas corpus. State ex rel. Furlong v. Waukesha County Court, 47 Wis. 2d 515
, 177 N.W.2d 333
Certiorari cannot be used to upset the legislative discretion of a city council but the court should review the council's action to determine whether there was a rational factual basis for it. The review is limited to the record consisting of the petition and the return to the writ, plus matters of which the court could take judicial notice. State ex rel. Hippler v. Baraboo, 47 Wis. 2d 603
, 178 N.W.2d 1
A writ of prohibition may not be used to test the admissibility of evidence at an impending trial. State ex rel. Cortez v. Bd. of F. & P. Comm. 49 Wis. 2d 130
, 181 N.W.2d 378
Jurisdiction depends not on whether the relief asked for is available, but on whether the court has the power to hear the kind of action brought. It is not defeated by the possibility that averments in a complaint might fail to state a cause of action, for any such failure calls for a judgment on the merits not for a dismissal for want of jurisdiction. Murphy v. Miller Brewing Co. 50 Wis. 2d 323
, 184 N.W.2d 141
Mandamus is a discretionary writ and the order of a trial court refusing to quash it will not be reversed except for an abuse of discretion. A court can treat it as a motion for declaratory relief. Milwaukee County v. Schmidt, 52 Wis. 2d 58
, 187 N.W.2d 777
Differences between common law and statutory certiorari are discussed. Browndale International v. Board of Adjustment, 60 Wis. 2d 182
, 208 N.W.2d 121
The statutory designation of circuit court branches as criminal court branches does not deprive other branches of criminal jurisdiction. Dumer v. State, 64 Wis. 2d 590
, 219 N.W.2d 592
Circuit court review of a decision of the city of Milwaukee Board of Fire and Police Commissioners was proper via writ of certiorari. Edmonds v. Board of Fire & Police Commrs. 66 Wis. 2d 337
, 224 N.W.2d 575
A judge having jurisdiction of the person and subject matter involved and acting within that jurisdiction and in his or her judicial capacity, is exempt from civil liability. Abdella v. Catlin, 79 Wis. 2d 270
, 255 N.W.2d 516
The circuit courts are constitutional courts with plenary jurisdiction. They do not depend solely upon statute for their powers. However in certain cases with vast social ramifications not addressed by statute, prudence requires the courts to refuse to exercise their jurisdiction. As such, circuit courts are prohibited from exercising jurisdiction regarding sterilization of incompetents. In Matter of Guardianship of Eberhardy, 102 Wis. 2d 539
, 307 N.W.2d 881
Because courts have exclusive criminal jurisdiction, criminal charges against the defendant were not collaterally estopped even though a parole revocation hearing examiner concluded that defendant's acts did not merit parole revocation. State v. Spanbauer, 108 Wis. 2d 548
, 322 N.W.2d 511
(Ct. App. 1982).
While circuit courts possess plenary jurisdiction not dependent upon legislative authorization, under some circumstances they may lack competency to act. Interest of L.M.C. 146 Wis. 2d 377
, 430 N.W.2d 352
(Ct. App. 1988).
Challenges to a circuit court's competency are waived if not raised in the circuit court, subject to the reviewing court's inherent authority to overlook a waiver in appropriate cases or engage in discretionary review of a waived competency challenge pursuant to ss. 751.06 or 752.35. Lack of competency is not jurisdictional and does not result in a void judgment. Accordingly, it is not true that a motion for relief from judgment on grounds of lack of circuit court competency may be made at any time. Village of Trempealeau v. Mikrut, 2004 WI 79
, 273 Wis. 2d 76
, 681 N.W.2d 190
A circuit court may lack competency to render a valid order or judgment when the parties seeking judicial review fail to meet certain statutory requirements. Not every failure to comply with statutory requirements will deprive the court of competency, however. Only when the failure to abide by a statutory mandate is central to the statutory scheme of which it is a part will the circuit court's competency to proceed be implicated. Xcel Energy Services, Inc. v. LIRC, 2013 WI 64
, 349 Wis. 2d 234
, 833 N.W.2d 665
Although cases sometimes use the words forfeiture and waiver interchangeably, the two words embody very different legal concepts. Whereas forfeiture is the failure to make the timely assertion of a right, waiver is the intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right. Challenges to court competency are forfeited if not timely raised in the circuit court. Properly construed, although Mikrut, 2004 WI 79
, says “waiver" it means “forfeiture." City of Eau Claire v. Booth, 2016 WI 65
, 370 Wis. 2d 595
, 882 N.W.2d 738
A circuit court lacks competency but retains subject matter jurisdiction when the court enters a civil forfeiture judgment under a municipal ordinance for a first-offense operating while intoxicated (OWI) that factually should have been criminally charged as a second-offense OWI under s. 346.65 (2) due to an undiscovered prior countable conviction. Unlike defects in subject matter jurisdiction, challenges to circuit court competency may be forfeited. In this case, the defendant forfeited the right to challenge a 1992 first-offense OWI judgment by failing to timely raise the challenge. City of Eau Claire v. Booth, 2016 WI 65
, 370 Wis. 2d 595
, 882 N.W.2d 738
This section provides that “the circuit court shall have . . . such appellate jurisdiction in the circuit as the legislature may prescribe by law." The legislature has not granted the circuit courts appellate jurisdiction over rulings by referees. Therefore, a provision in a circuit court order of reference that the circuit court's review of the referee's rulings shall be based on the referee's erroneous exercise of discretion contravened the constitution, statutes, and rules regarding circuit court and appellate court authority and practice. Universal Processing Services v. Circuit Court of Milwaukee County, 2017 WI 26
, 374 Wis. 2d 26
, 892 N.W.2d 267
Judicial elections, vacancies. Section
9. [As amended April 1953 and April 1977
] When a vacancy occurs in the office of justice of the supreme court or judge of any court of record, the vacancy shall be filled by appointment by the governor, which shall continue until a successor is elected and qualified. There shall be no election for a justice or judge at the partisan general election for state or county officers, nor within 30 days either before or after such election. [1951 J.R. 41, 1953 J.R. 12, vote April 1953; 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977
Judges: eligibility to office. Section
10. [As amended Nov. 1912 and April 1977
No justice of the supreme court or judge of any court of record shall hold any other office of public trust, except a judicial office, during the term for which elected. No person shall be eligible to the office of judge who shall not, at the time of election or appointment, be a qualified elector within the jurisdiction for which chosen.
Justices of the supreme court and judges of the courts of record shall receive such compensation as the legislature may authorize by law, but may not receive fees of office. [1909 J.R. 34, 1911 J.R. 24, 1911 c. 665, vote Nov. 1912; 1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977
Sub. (1) prohibits a circuit judge from holding a nonjudicial office of public trust during the full period of time for which he or she is elected to serve in a judicial position, even if the judge chooses to resign before that term would otherwise expire. The period of time constituting the “term for which elected" is set when a judge or justice is elected, and is thereafter unalterable by means of resignation. Wagner v. Milwaukee County Election Commission, 2003 WI 103
, 263 Wis. 2d 709
, 666 N.W.2d 816