Rebecca Dallet, Milwaukee County Circuit Court
Law degree received from: Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 1994
Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet doesn’t have a problem finding ways to occupy her time.
“Judge Dallet looks at her caseload as the people’s caseload and her courtroom as the people’s courtroom,” said Judge Ellen Brostrom, a colleague of Dallet’s in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. “She’s one of the hardest working judges I’ve ever seen.”
Dallet is four years into her first term on the bench, all in felony division. She presides over murder and sexual assault cases, sometimes five days a week, up to 10 hours a day, wading into the murky and often shocking facts and law surrounding violent criminal behavior.
Although Dallet was an assistant district attorney with the Milwaukee County DA’s office for 10 years, a special assistant in the U.S. attorney’s office and a chief county court commissioner, she never got comfortable, she said, with how long it took for criminal cases to wind their way through the system.
When courts get overloaded, a “spin coordinator” helps Dallet and a group of criminal judges in Milwaukee County share caseloads. On a recent Monday, she covered gun, drug and domestic violence cases from four different courtrooms.
After winning her judicial race in 2008, Dallet helped Lindsey Grady and Ellen Brostrom win judicial seats in Milwaukee County and continues to lend a hand to women in area judicial races.
Female judges make up about 25 percent of all judges in Milwaukee County, but the figure drops to 16 percent statewide. Those numbers concern Dallet.
“In order to win these judicial seats, you have to do it right, and you have to do it well,” Dallet said. “It’s really, really hard work.”
Dallet is an active member of the Wisconsin Criminal Law Jury Instruction Committee and also taught trial advocacy at Marquette University Law School. But tight schedules and volunteer work as a youth coordinator at Congregation Shalom Temple just took too much time, so she stopped teaching in 2009, she said.
Her husband and fellow attorney Brad Dallet said there’s a good phrase for his wife’s fine-tuned juggling act of balancing a job, three kids, marriage, volunteer work and regular exercise: “Controlled chaos.”