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High court to hear testimony on State Bar dues, private appointment rate

By: Erika Strebel, [email protected]//June 28, 2017//

High court to hear testimony on State Bar dues, private appointment rate

By: Erika Strebel, [email protected]//June 28, 2017//

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The Wisconsin Supreme Court will be hearing testimony in the fall or winter on four petitions.

The justices voted June 21 at its last open rules conference of the term to schedule public hearings next term for the following five proposals for rules changes:

  • Madison attorney Steve Levine’s proposal to restrict the lobbying activities the state bar can pay for using the yearly dues attorneys in the state must pay and to require the bar to prepare separate budgets reflecting that.
  • A petition involving increasing the compensation private attorneys receive for representing indigent criminal defendants. The current rate is $40 per hour, which is the lowest in the nation and hasn’t been raised in 25 years. A group of lawyers is proposing a law change that would pressure the state Legislature into increasing the rate to $100 per hour.
  • A request brought by the Judicial Council to change the rules of procedure involving Wis. Stat. 809.19, which allows co-appellants to file either separate or joint briefs but does lay out how parties must respond to each other’s briefs, set length limits or state how many copies should be submitted.
  • Another request by the council, this time to change the appellate record rules, particularly those concerning sealed documents, transcripts of certain recordings and pre-sentence investigation reports.

Also at the meeting, the justices voted to make some tweaks to the judicial education rules for municipal judges.

The current rules require newly elected municipal judges to attend the earliest orientation institute following their election and earn at least four education credits at an orientation, review or graduate institute in each 365-day period after their term begins unless they hold office for less than five months during a calendar year.

The changes proposed by the Office of Judicial Education would add that the rule applies to appointed municipal judges, require those judges to start judicial education in their first year in offices and to make the judicial education calendar for municipal judges consistent with the calendar year.

The justices chose to forgo a public hearing on the matter because it was technical tweak to the rules and voted to approve the changes, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

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