There’s one accomplishment that stands out for John Storck as he wraps up his six-year stint as chief judge for the Sixth Judicial District in Dodge County Circuit.
Storck worked on a committee that studied judicial workloads statewide and identified the counties that were most in need of judges.
“That committee,” he said, “spearheaded the judge bill that resulted in seven new judgeships throughout the state, including one in Dodge County.”
Before the addition of a fourth judge, Storck said, his county’s third judge had been ill and then retired. So he and another judge carried the workload for about six months.
Once they replaced the retired judge and added the fourth seat, he said, the workload became much more balanced.
“I really felt like I got my life back to a certain extent,” Storck said.
While chief judge, he also headed up the state’s chief judges committee and served on a group that tried to change some of the policies letting courts use digital audio recording court reporters, rather than solely relying on stenographic court reporters. Now, an official court reporter can be one who uses DAR.
“I don’t want it believed that I’m out to replace stenographic court reporters,” said Storck, whose county established a pilot DAR program. “I’m certainly not doing that. But I do believe that there is going to be a shortage.”
Although he’s stepping down as chief judge on Tuesday, the 18-year judicial veteran will continue focusing on projects to improve efficiency in Dodge County courts. To that end, he has helped the courthouse set up in-court processing of documents and is pushing for a paperless court system and more electronic filing.
“I think that to be effective we do need to be efficient,” he said.
Wisconsin Law Journal: What do you wish lawyers thought about most when appearing before you?
John Storck: They need to know the standard of law that applies to their case, and they should read the jury instructions.
WLJ: What is the one thing you do not want to hear in your courtroom?
Storck: They are not prepared to proceed today.
WLJ: What is your favorite part of being a judge?
Storck: Making a positive effect on people’s lives and our community.
WLJ: What can you spend hours doing that’s not law-related?
Storck: I love playing with boats. I love sailing, water skiing, kayaking.
WLJ: What is your recommendation for summer reading?
Storck: I would say any book written by John Grisham.
WLJ: What is your favorite thing to do in Wisconsin?
Storck: Spending time on Silver Lake in Wautoma. That goes back to my boating response.
WLJ: What famous person would you most like to have a drink with?
Storck: I’d like to have a drink with John Roberts, our U.S. Supreme Court chief justice. He was a classmate of mine, and I’m wondering how he ended up on the Supreme Court and I on the circuit court. I have the better job.
WLJ: What is the one luxury item you cannot live without?
Storck: My Smartphone. I had a Blackberry for years, and I really enjoyed that. My kids talked me into going with an Android, but I still miss my Blackberry.
WLJ: What was your favorite toy as a child?
Storck: My set of water skis.
WLJ: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Storck: I think all attorneys and judges are looking for better balance in their lives. I would have better balance in my life.