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Judicial Substitution

WI Supreme Court

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. Tavodess Matthews

Case No.: 2021 WI 42

Focus: Judicial Substitution

This case is about whether Tavodess Matthews timely requested a judicial substitution under Wis. Stat. § 801.58(1) (2019-20). Section 801.58(1) entitles a party in a civil case to substitute the assigned circuit court judge if, among other things, that party files a written substitution request before “the hearing of any preliminary contested matters.” Matthews filed his substitution request after the circuit court granted his motion to adjourn a scheduled probable cause hearing under Wis. Stat. ch. 980. We hold that Matthews’ substitution request was timely because his motion to adjourn is not a “preliminary contested matter” per that phrase’s accepted legal meaning and the circuit court heard no other such matter before Matthews filed his request. Accordingly, we reverse the court of appeals.

Reversed and remanded



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Derek A Hawkins is Associate Corporate Counsel, IP at Amazon.

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