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2010 Year in Review

January

  • A Wisconsin Law Journal decision analysis concludes that Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge William Sosnay led the state’s trial courts facing review on appeal in 2009, with 18 decisions reviewed and 18 affirmances.
  • The Wisconsin Legislature passes a bill, which the governor signs one month later, to extend the statute of limitations for intentional torts from two years to three years, consistent with the limitations period for negligent torts.

February

  • Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman will not have to recuse himself in a pending criminal case, after his colleagues on the high court decline to pass a motion ordering oral argument and briefs on whether the court has the authority to disqualify a fellow justice from hearing a case.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit takes the rare step of granting a petition for an en banc hearing in U.S. v. Skoien, a case originating in Wisconsin and presenting the issue of the constitutionality of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9), which makes it a crime for a misdemeanant convicted of a domestic violence charge to possess a firearm. On rehearing, the court finds that the provision does not violate Skoien’s Second Amendment rights. Skoien is seeking high court review.

March

  • A federal lawsuit brought to challenge Wisconsin’s diploma privilege is dismissed pursuant to settlement where the state paid $7,500 to Corrine Wiesmueller, after three years in suit and two appeals to the 7th Circuit.
  • Gov. Jim Doyle signs into law a bill that expands the 23-year-old eligibility
    standards that determine who can qualify for public defender representation.

April

  • Voters elect Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard and Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Paul F. Reilly to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.
  • The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals hears oral arguments in Kingstad v. State Bar of Wisconsin, a lawsuit challenging the association’s use of dues to fund a public image campaign, with former State Bar president Steven Levine representing the plaintiffs. In September, the court rules in favor of the bar, followed almost immediately by plaintiffs filing a motion for re-hearing.

May

June

  • In a 3-3 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is unable to agree upon how to proceed with the judicial ethics complaint filed against Justice Michael Gableman regarding alleged misrepresentations in his 2008 high court campaign advertisements. The Wisconsin Judicial Commission later decides to drop the complaint.
  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court adopts a petition defining the unauthorized practice of law, which outlines the rights of licensed attorneys to practice law, and contains more than 20 exemptions for other professionals such as real estate and insurance agents.

July

August

September

October

  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court votes to change SCR 22.24, permitting referees in attorney disciplines cases to recommend what portion of the Office of Lawyer Regulation’s costs and fees should be paid by attorneys found guilty of professional misconduct.
  • Two challengers emerge to challenge Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David T. Prosser in his bid for re-election next April. They are attorney Marla J. Stephens of Milwaukee and Madison attorney Joel B. Winnig. All three candidates announce their intention to seek public financing for high court campaigns under a new law.

November

  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously votes to deny a petition to implement a procedure and criteria for permanent license revocation.
  • The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors passes a 2011 budget that does not call for furloughs of county attorneys and other nonunion court employees, but court clerks and other clerical staff still face the possibility of up to 26 unpaid furlough days, pending the outcome of contract negotiations between their union and the county.

December

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