Eviction case should be evicted

Sometimes, it’s pretty easy to sense frustration in an appeal. Like this, for example:

Wisconsin Appellate Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg seems like she can barely contain her frustration with the appeal filed by Ray Peterson, a Madison landlord who tried to evict two of his tenants from an apartment building in January.

Peterson, representing himself, lost the eviction case. He lost again in his appeal, which Kloppenburg dismissed because his arguments are “either undeveloped or incomprehensible,” the opinion reads.


“To decide these issues, I would first have to develop them,” Kloppenburg writes. “This would require me to act as both advocate and judge, which I cannot do.”

And it goes on like this.

The opinion makes several references to Peterson’s scattershot attempt (with little to no legal basis) at an appeal, though the judge writes that she “will give Peterson the benefit of the doubt and attempt to address his arguments as far as I can discern them.”

And even if the Access to Justice Commission usually portrays those on the other side of an eviction proceeding as the one in need of counsel, it’s pretty clear that Peterson, like many, would benefit from hiring an attorney. It may not mean that Peterson prevails, but at least it would give him a fighting chance.

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