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.
When assigned to assist a court in juvenile matters:
Order the release or detention of children or expectant mothers of unborn children taken into custody.
Exercise the powers and perform the duties specified in par. (j)
, whichever is applicable, in proceedings under s. 813.122
in which the respondent is a child.
Conduct hearings under s. 48.213
and thereafter order an adult expectant mother of an unborn child to be held in or released from custody.
Issue orders requiring compliance with deferred prosecution agreements.
Hear petitions for commitment and conduct probable cause hearings under ss. 51.20
, and 55.135
, conduct reviews of guardianships under ch. 54
and reviews of protective placements and protective services under ch. 55
, advise a person alleged to be mentally ill of his or her rights under the United States and Wisconsin constitutions, and, if the person claims or appears to be unable to afford counsel, refer the person to the authority for indigency determinations specified under s. 977.07 (1)
or, if the person is a child, refer that child to the state public defender who shall appoint counsel for the child without a determination of indigency, as provided in s. 48.23 (4)
Administer oaths, take, certify, and report depositions and testimony, take and certify acknowledgments, allow accounts, and fix the amount and approve the sufficiency of bonds.
Hold hearings, make findings, and issue temporary restraining orders and injunctions under s. 813.12
When assigned to assist in matters affecting the family:
Preside at any hearing held to determine whether a judgment of divorce shall be granted, if both parties state that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that all material issues, including but not limited to division of property or estate, legal custody, physical placement, child support, spousal maintenance and family support, are resolved or if one party does not participate in the action for divorce. A circuit court commissioner may grant and enter judgment in any action over which he or she presides under this subdivision unless the judgment modifies an agreement between the parties on material issues. If the circuit court commissioner does not approve an agreement between the parties on material issues, the action shall be certified to the court for trial.
Conduct hearings and enter judgments in actions for enforcement of, or revision of judgment for, maintenance, custody, physical placement or visitation.
Except when prohibited by the chief judge of the judicial administrative district, conduct hearings and enter orders and judgments in actions to establish paternity, in actions to establish or enforce a child support or a family support obligation and in actions to revise orders or judgments for child support or family support.
Circuit court commissioners assigned to assist a court in juvenile matters shall sit at the children's court center, the usual court facility for juvenile matters, or such other facility designated by the chief judge of the judicial administrative district. Those commissioners may not do any of the following:
Conduct fact-finding or dispositional hearings except on petitions or citations under s. 938.125
and except as provided in sub. (1) (g) 5.
Make dispositions other than approving consent decrees, ordering compliance with deferred prosecution agreements and ordering dispositions in uncontested proceedings under s. 48.13
, or 938.13
Conduct hearings for the termination of parental rights or for adoptions.
Make changes in placements of children, of juveniles, or of the expectant mothers of unborn children, or revisions or extensions of dispositional orders, except pursuant to petitions or citations under s. 938.125
, in uncontested proceedings under s. 48.13
, or 938.13
, or as permitted under sub. (1) (g) 6.
, and 15.
A judge may refer to a circuit court commissioner cases in which:
The trial of an issue of fact requires the examination of an account, in which case the circuit court commissioner may be directed to report upon any specific question of fact involved therein.
The taking of an account is necessary for the information of the court before judgment or for carrying a judgment or order into effect.
A question of fact other than upon the pleadings arises.
Proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law are to be prepared pertaining to default mortgage and land contract foreclosures and mechanics liens.
Circuit court commissioners may exercise, under their own authority, all of the powers listed under s. 757.675 (2)
A circuit court commissioner shall cooperate with the county and the department to ensure that all dependent children receive reasonable and necessary child support.
Any decision of a circuit court commissioner shall be reviewed by the judge of the branch of court to which the case has been assigned, upon motion of any party. Any determination, order, or ruling by a circuit court commissioner may be certified to the branch of court to which the case has been assigned, upon a motion of any party for a hearing de novo.
History: 1977 c. 323
; 1979 c. 32
; 1979 c. 89
; 1979 c. 209
; 1979 c. 352
; 1983 a. 279
; 1985 a. 126
; 1987 a. 3
; 1989 a. 7
; Sup. Ct. Order, 158 Wis. 2d xxv (1990); 1991 a. 39
; 1993 a. 318
; 1995 a. 77
; 1997 a. 191
; 1999 a. 32
; 2001 a. 16
; 2001 a. 61
; 2001 a. 105
; 2005 a. 264
; 2007 a. 45
; 2009 a. 79
; 2011 a. 181
; 2015 a. 373
; 2017 a. 117
; 2019 a. 109
Section 970.04 specifically limits the availability of a second preliminary examination in a criminal matter and precludes a request for a de novo hearing under the more general sub. (8). State v. Gillespie, 2005 WI App 35
, 278 Wis. 2d 630
, 693 N.W.2d 320
The issuance of a search warrant is not an exercise of “[t]he judicial power," as that phrase is employed in article VII, section 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. Sub. (1) (b) does not impermissibly intrude upon “[t]he judicial power" granted to the courts by article VII, section 2 and is constitutional. State v. Williams, 2012 WI 59
, 341 Wis. 2d 191
, 814 NW 2d 460, 10-1551
The provision in sub. (8) for a circuit court to conduct a “hearing de novo" on review of a court commissioner's order presupposes that the court commissioner has conducted a hearing. A de novo hearing is a new hearing of a matter, conducted as if the original hearing had not taken place. Thus, a local rule precluding a new hearing upon stipulation or default does nothing more than expressly advise as to the practical consequences of consenting to a court commissioner's order. Nehls v. Nehls, 2012 WI App 85
, 343 Wis. 2d 499
, 819 N.W.2d 335
Hearings before court commissioners. 757.70(1)(1)
All proceedings and hearings before a court commissioner shall be public and open to every citizen, except juvenile proceedings or when it is necessary for the court in which the action or proceeding is pending to impose by order restrictions under its inherent power to conduct proceedings in camera.
All hearings before a circuit or supplemental court commissioner shall be held in the county courthouse or other court facilities provided by law. This provision does not apply to nontestimonial proceedings, supplementary hearings on the present financial status of a debtor under s. 757.675 (2) (h)
or depositions taken before a circuit or supplemental court commissioner.