A Winnebago County judge will soon find out if he’ll be suspended for making inappropriate comments during several hearings and displaying his handgun in court on two occasions.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court is scheduled to release its opinion in Wisconsin Judicial Commission v. Scott C. Woldt on Tuesday.
Court records show a complaint was filed against Woldt in June last year. According to a brief regarding sanctions filed by the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, Woldt violated the Code of Judicial Conduct during six separate incidents.
The brief said Woldt admitted to using inappropriate and crude language in five of the incidents. Some of the comments cited in the brief were “Counsel, there’s a thin line between being an advocate and being a ‘dick’ – – thin line – – and you’re blurring it” and “if you would have c[o]me into my house, I keep my gun with me and you’d be dead, plain and simple….”
In another case, the brief accused Woldt of belittling a 13-year-old victim of sexual assault and making crude comments during hearings. Woldt also showed his handgun to high school students visiting the courthouse and to the victim in a case he was hearing. The brief said Woldt argued that he had shown the gun to the victim to “emphasize his empathy,” a statement which the Judicial Commission called “truly stunning.”
The Judicial Commission found Woldt’s conduct in the six incidents to be indicative of a pattern of misconduct, a conclusion that Woldt rejected in his response brief. The commission believes Woldt should be suspended for his behavior.
Woldt, meanwhile, emphasized his contributions to the justice system, such as his service to the Judicial Conference Committee, the Trial Judges Association, the Winnebago County Safe Stress Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, the Winnebago County Teen Court and more. In his response brief, he said the only disciplinary cases with “comparable exceptional service to the justice system” resulted in public reprimands, not suspensions.Follow @WLJReporter