Wisconsin court moves interim justice title for Skwierawski

 December 17, 2023

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Audrey Skwierawski title has been changed from an interim role, angering conservatives over the controversial move.

The judge's official appointment to the role is effective Dec.32, according to a new announcement.

The situation

"Conservative Chief Justice Annette Ziegler accused the liberal majority of 'nothing short of a coup' in August for firing Randy Koschnick, who had served in the post since 2017. She also argued Skwierawski was 'unlawfully appointed' and ineligible to serve in the interim role while still an elected member of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court," Wisconsin Politics reported.

"State law states sitting judges can’t accept a position of public trust during their term other than another judicial office, though liberals argued the post didn’t qualify," it added.

Her background

"Served as Milwaukee County and state prosecutor for a combined total of more than 20 years. Has conducted more than 100 jury trials and 50 court trials. Prosecuted a double homicide and sexual assault, along with traffic, general misdemeanor and juvenile court cases," according to the Wisconsin Justice Initiative.

"[She] has special expertise in domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault cases. Job duties also include providing ongoing training and technical support statewide to prosecutors handling domestic violence and sexual assault cases," it continued.

The complaint

"Upon information and belief, on August 3, 2023 Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Audrey Skwierawski assumed the position of Director of State Courts by virtue of an appointment made by Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices Ann Walsh Bradley, Rebecca Dallet, Jill Karofsky and Janet Protasiewicz," Wisconsin Right Now reported.

"Said conduct by Judge Skwierawski in assuming the position, as well as the conduct of the four above-named justices in making the appointment, are contrary to, and in violation of, the Wisconsin Constitution, Article VII, sec. 10, and sec. 757.02(2), Wis. Stats., both of which prohibit a sitting judge from assuming another office of public trust except a judicial office," it noted.

The situation appears to be a political move by Democrats in the state, according to conservatives opposing the effort.

The appointment may also be illegal, an action challenged legally by Republican leaders.

For now, the appointment is moving forward, but the issue could arise again as a legal matter in 2024.

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