See SCR 35.015
for education requirements.
Comment of Judicial Council, 1971: A guardian ad litem shall: (1) Be an attorney and be allowed reasonable compensation as is customarily charged by attorneys for comparable services. If the attorney of record is also the guardian ad litem, only one fee is allowed. (2) Be compensated by the ward or out of the ward's property. (3) Not be permitted to receive any money or property of the ward. (4) Not be appointed for a plaintiff without the appointed person's consent. Subsection (1) is in present law; subs. (3) and (4) are the same as present law. [Re Order effective July 1, 1971]
Sub. (1) (a) is void as an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers. It interferes with the judiciary's exclusive authority to regulate the practice of law. Fiedler v. Wisconsin Senate, 155 Wis. 2d 94
, 454 N.W.2d 770
The courts' power to appropriate compensation for court-appointed counsel is necessary for the effective operation of the judicial system. In ordering compensation for court ordered attorneys, a court should abide by the s. 977.08 (4m) rate when it can retain qualified and effective counsel at that rate, but should order compensation at the rate under SCR 81.01
or 81.02 or a higher rate when necessary to secure effective counsel. Friedrich v. Dane County Circuit Court, 192 Wis. 2d 1
, 531 N.W.2d 32
Guardian ad litem for persons not in being or unascertainable.
In any action or proceeding the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for persons not in being or presently unascertainable, if the court has reason to believe that such appointment is necessary to protect the interests of such persons.
Sup. Ct. Order, 50 Wis. 2d vii (1971); 1977 c. 187
; Stats. 1977 s. 757.52; 1985 a. 29
s. 3202 (23)
; 1993 a. 326
Comment of Judicial Council, 1971: Guardian ad litem for unborn child. (Clarification) [Re Order effective July 1, 1971]
Retention and disposal of court records. 757.54(1)(1)
Except as provided in sub. (2)
, the retention and disposal of all court records and exhibits in any civil or criminal action or proceeding or probate proceeding of any nature in a court of record shall be determined by the supreme court by rule.
Except as provided in par. (c)
, if an exhibit in a criminal action or a delinquency proceeding under ch. 938
includes any biological material that was collected in connection with the action or proceeding and that is either from a victim of the offense that was the subject of the action or proceeding or may reasonably be used to incriminate or exculpate any person for the offense, the court presiding over the action or proceeding shall ensure that the exhibit is retained until every person in custody as a result of the action or proceeding, or as a result of commitment under s. 980.06
that is based on a judgment of guilty or not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect in the action or proceeding, has reached his or her discharge date.
The court shall ensure that an exhibit to which par. (b)
applies is retained in an amount and manner sufficient to develop a deoxyribonucleic acid profile, as defined in s. 939.74 (2d) (a)
, from the biological material contained in or included on the exhibit.
Subject to par. (e)
, the court may destroy an exhibit that includes biological material before the expiration of the time period specified in par. (b)
if all of the following apply:
The court sends a notice of its intent to destroy the exhibit to all persons who remain in custody as a result of the criminal action, delinquency proceeding, or commitment under s. 980.06
and to either the attorney of record for each person in custody or the state public defender.
No person who is notified under subd. 1.
does either of the following within 90 days after the date on which the person received the notice:
Submits a written request for retention of the exhibit to the court.
No other provision of federal or state law requires retention of the exhibit.
A notice provided under par. (c) 1.
shall clearly inform the recipient that the exhibit will be destroyed unless, within 90 days after the date on which the person receives the notice, either a motion for testing of the exhibit is filed under s. 974.07 (2)
or a written request for retention of the exhibit is submitted to the court.
If, after providing notice under par. (c) 1.
of its intent to destroy an exhibit, a court receives a written request for retention of the exhibit, the court shall ensure that the exhibit is retained until the discharge date of the person who made the request or on whose behalf the request was made, subject to a court order issued under s. 974.07 (7)
, (9) (a)
, or (10) (a) 5.
, unless the court orders destruction or transfer of the exhibit under s. 974.07 (9) (b)
or (10) (a) 5.
Sup. Ct. Order, 136 Wis. 2d xi (1987); 2001 a. 16
; 2005 a. 60
The supreme court shall determine, by rule, the civil and criminal actions and proceedings which shall be reported.
History: 1981 c. 353
In any criminal action or proceeding the court may order, and when required by s. 973.08
the court shall order, a transcript of the testimony and proceedings to be made and certified by a court reporter and filed with the clerk of court. Certified duplicates of transcripts prepared in compliance with s. 973.08
shall be filed with the warden or superintendent of the institution to which sentenced persons have been committed. The cost of the transcript is prescribed in s. 814.69 (1)
. In case of application for a pardon or commutation of sentence the duplicate transcript shall accompany the application.
Except as provided in SCR 71.04
(4), every court reporter, upon the request of any party to an action or proceeding, shall make a typewritten transcript, and as many copies thereof as the party requests, of the verbatim record in the action or proceeding, or any part thereof specified by the party, the transcript and each copy thereof to be duly certified by him or her to be a correct transcript thereof. For the transcripts the court reporter is entitled to receive the fees prescribed in s. 814.69 (1) (b)
History: 1977 c. 187
; Stats. 1977 s. 757.57; 1979 c. 32
s. 92 (4)
; Sup. Ct. Order, eff. 1-1-80; 1981 c. 317
; 1987 a. 403
; 1995 a. 27
; 2001 a. 16
; Sup. Ct. Order No. 19-01
, 2019 WI 44, 386 Wis. 2d xvii.
Effective date note
This section was repealed by Sup. Ct. Order dated 12-11-79, eff. 1-1-80. Subsequent legislative acts repealed and recreated subs. (2) and (5) and repealed subs. (3), (7), and (8). See SCR ch. 71
Judicial administrative districts.
The state is divided into judicial administrative districts for the purpose of administering the court system. Each district includes all the circuit courts within the district. The judicial administrative districts are as follows:
The 1st district consists of Milwaukee County.
The 2nd district consists of Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties.
The 3rd district consists of Dodge, Jefferson, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties.
The 4th district consists of Calumet, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Manitowoc, Marquette, Sheboygan, Waushara, and Winnebago counties.
The 5th district consists of Columbia, Dane, Green, Lafayette, Rock, and Sauk counties.
The 7th district consists of Adams, Buffalo, Clark, Crawford, Grant, Iowa, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, Richland, Trempealeau, and Vernon counties.
The 8th district consists of Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Marinette, Oconto, Outagamie and Waupaca counties.
The 9th district consists of Florence, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Menominee, Oneida, Portage, Price, Shawano, Taylor, Vilas, and Wood counties.
The 10th district consists of Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Chippewa, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Iron, Polk, Rusk, St. Croix, Sawyer, and Washburn counties.
History: 1977 c. 449
; Sup. Ct. Order, 84 Wis. 2d xiii (1978); Sup. Ct. Order, eff. 1-1-80; 1981 c. 317
; 1995 a. 225
; Sup. Ct. Order No. 18-01
, 2018 WI 33, 380 Wis. 2d xiii; Sup. Ct. Order No. 19-21
, 2020 WI 17, 390 Wis. 2d xvii.
Recovery of legal fees paid for indigent defendants.
Whenever a county or the state has paid for legal representation of an indigent defendant and the county board or the department of justice so requires, the clerk of the court where representation for the indigent was appointed shall prepare, sign and record in the office of the register of deeds a certificate stating the name and residence of the indigent beneficiary, the amount paid by the county or the state for his or her legal representation, the date when paid, the court and county in which the case was heard and such other information as the county board directs. If a certificate is recorded within 6 months after payment is made by the county or the state it may, within the time after the recording provided by s. 893.86
, commence an action to recover from the indigent defendant, or his or her estate if the action is commenced within the time set for filing claims by creditors, the amount paid by the county or the state for his or her legal representation. In any such action ss. 859.02
, so far as applicable, may be pleaded in defense. The claim shall not take precedence over the allowances in ss. 861.31
. The district attorney or the department of justice, as applicable, shall commence and prosecute all actions and proceedings necessary under this section to make the recovery when it appears that the indigent defendant or his or her estate is able to pay the claim.
Recovery of legal defense fees from indigent defendants is discussed. James v. Strange, 407 U.S. 128
Not Poor Enough: Why Wisconsin's System for Providing Indigent Defense is Failing. Velazquez-Aguilu. 2006 WLR 193.
Testimony of judge of kin to attorney.
No judge of any court of record shall testify as to any matter of opinion in any action or proceeding in which any person related to such judge in the first degree shall be an attorney of record.
Sup. Ct. Order, 59 Wis. 2d R1, R4 s. 6 (1973); Stats. 1973 s. 256.67; 1977 c. 187
; Stats. 1977 s. 757.67.
Supplemental court commissioners. 757.675(1)(1)
In each county the circuit judges shall appoint such number of supplemental court commissioners as the proper transaction of business requires, except that in counties having a population of 200,000 or more each judge may appoint not more than 2 supplemental court commissioners and in counties having a population of less than 200,000 each judge shall, as nearly as possible, appoint an equal number of supplemental court commissioners within the county. In all counties the appointments shall be subject to the approval of a majority of the circuit judges for the county. Appointments shall be in writing and shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the circuit court. All supplemental court commissioners appointed after May 16, 1978, shall be attorneys licensed to practice in this state. The appointing judge may remove, at will and without cause, any supplemental court commissioner appointed by the judge or the judge's predecessor in office. Unless he or she is so removed, the term of each supplemental court commissioner shall continue until the expiration of the term of the appointing judge and until the successor of the commissioner is appointed and qualified. Each supplemental court commissioner shall take and file the official oath in the office of clerk of the circuit court of the county for which appointed before performing any duty of the office.
Supplemental court commissioners may, under their own authority:
Officiate at marriage ceremonies throughout the state.
Issue subpoenas and attachments or other process to compel the attendance of witnesses, administer oaths and affidavits, take depositions and testimony when authorized by law or rule or order, and certify and report the depositions and testimony.
Issue the following writs returnable before a judge at a time set by the judge or the judge's clerk: habeas corpus; certiorari; ne exeat and alternative writs of mandamus.
Supervise accountings subsequent to a sale of land under ch. 75
Except as provided in s. 757.69 (1) (p) 3.
, conduct a paternity proceeding according to the procedures set out in ch. 767
whenever a circuit court commissioner is specifically authorized to do so.
Conduct supplementary hearings on the present financial status of a debtor and exercise the powers of the court under ss. 816.04
In addition to the duties expressly set forth in sub. (2) (a)
, a supplemental court commissioner may perform other ministerial duties as required by a court.
A supplemental court commissioner may transfer to a court any matter in which it appears that justice would be better served by such a transfer.
A supplemental court commissioner shall refer to a court of record for appropriate action every alleged showing of contempt in the carrying out of the lawful decisions of the supplemental court commissioner.
Supplemental court commissioners appointed under sub. (1)
shall collect the fees prescribed in s. 814.68 (1)
History: 2001 a. 61
Circuit court commissioners. 757.68(1)(1)
Subject to subs. (2m)
, in every county organized for judicial purposes, the county board shall establish the number of circuit court commissioner positions necessary for the efficient administration of judicial business within the circuit courts of the county. The circuit court commissioners may be employed on a full-time or part-time basis. SCR chapter 75
shall govern the qualifications for, and appointment, supervision, training, evaluation, and discipline of, circuit court commissioners. Any person qualified and acting as a judicial court commissioner on August 1, 1978, shall be considered a circuit court commissioner and shall continue in the classified county civil service but any person appointed as a court commissioner after August 1, 1978, shall be in the unclassified civil service. Each circuit court commissioner shall take and file the official oath in the office of the clerk of the circuit court of the county for which appointed before performing any duty of the office.
In each county, except in a county having a population of 750,000 or more, the chief judge of the judicial administrative district shall, by order filed in the office of the clerk of the circuit court on or before the first Monday of July of each year, appoint a circuit court commissioner to supervise the office of family court commissioner for the county.
2. `Powers; civil service; oath; temporary appointment; assistants.'
The circuit court commissioner appointed to supervise the office of family court commissioner is in addition to the maximum number of circuit court commissioners permitted by sub. (1)
. The circuit court commissioner supervising the office of family court commissioner, or any circuit court commissioner assisting in family matters, may be placed under a county civil service system by resolution of the county board.
(b) Milwaukee County.
In counties having a population of 750,000 or more, there is created in the classified civil service a circuit court commissioner position to supervise the office of family court commissioner and such additional circuit court commissioner positions as the county board shall determine and authorize. Circuit court commissioners shall be appointed to these positions by the chief judge of the judicial administrative district under SCR 75.02
The board of supervisors of any county may establish one or more circuit court commissioner positions on a part-time or full-time basis to assist in matters affecting juveniles. A circuit court commissioner under this subsection shall serve at the discretion of the chief judge.
In counties having a population of 750,000 or more, there is created in the classified civil service a circuit court commissioner position to supervise the office of probate court commissioner and to assist the court in probate matters. In counties having a population of at least 100,000 but not more than 750,000, the county board may create a circuit court commissioner position to supervise the office of probate court commissioner and to assist in probate matters. That position may be in the classified civil service. If the chief judge delegates that authority to a judge assigned to probate jurisdiction, that judge may assign to the circuit court commissioner any matters over which the judge has jurisdiction, and the circuit court commissioner may determine such matters and may sign any order or certificate required by that determination.
In counties having a population of 750,000 or more, the county board shall establish at least one circuit court commissioner position on a full-time basis to assist in small claims matters under ch. 799
. In counties having a population of less than 750,000, the county board may establish one or more circuit court commissioner positions on a part-time or full-time basis to assist in small claims matters under ch. 799
The county board shall set the salary of persons appointed as circuit court commissioners. The county board shall furnish circuit court commissioners with necessary office space, furnishings, supplies, and services.
The chief judge of the judicial administrative district may assign law clerks, bailiffs, and deputies to a circuit court commissioner. The chief judge shall supervise those law clerks, bailiffs, and deputies assigned to the court, except that the chief judge may delegate that authority.
Each circuit court commissioner shall participate in programs of continuing circuit court commissioner education required by the supreme court. The supreme court shall charge a fee for the costs of the continuing education programs required under this subsection. All moneys collected under this subsection shall be credited to the appropriation account under s. 20.680 (2) (ga)
Powers and duties of circuit court commissioners. 757.69(1)(1)
A circuit court commissioner may:
Direct a case to the proper court if the defendant wishes to enter a plea after intelligent waiver of rights.
In criminal matters issue summonses, arrest warrants or search warrants, determine probable cause to support a warrantless arrest, conduct initial appearances of persons arrested, set bail, inform the defendant in accordance with s. 970.02 (1)
, refer the person to the authority for indigency determinations specified under s. 977.07 (1)
, conduct the preliminary examination and arraignment, and, with the consent of both the state and the defendant, accept a guilty plea. If a court refers a disputed restitution issue under s. 973.20 (13) (c) 4.
, the circuit court commissioner shall conduct the hearing on the matter in accordance with s. 973.20 (13) (c) 4.
In matters involving a civil violation of s. 346.63
or of a local ordinance that conforms with s. 346.63
, issue search warrants.
Conduct initial appearances in traffic cases and county ordinance cases, in traffic regulation cases and county ordinance cases receive noncontested forfeiture pleas, order the revocation or suspension of operating privileges and impose monetary penalties according to a schedule adopted by a majority of the judges of the courts of record within the county, and refer applicable cases to court for enforcement for nonpayment.
In small claims actions, conduct initial return appearance and conciliation conferences.
Issue warrants and capiases for those who do not appear as summoned.