Since May 1, 2013 I have had the honor of serving you as the Pleasant Prairie Municipal Judge. Wisconsin's nearly 240 municipal courts are community-based alternatives to the criminal justice system and I am proud of be of service. I retired in 2013 after more than 30 years as a state prosecutor. My wife, Judy, is a retired teacher. We have a grown daughter. I am active in the American Bar Association and Wisconsin Municipal Judges Association. My non-work passion is wildlife and nature photography and travel. I was born and raised in Kenosha, graduated from Carthage College and the University of Wisconsin Law School and have lived in Pleasant Prairie since 1995.
I was told that "the best judges are nonjudgmental" which sounds like an oxymoron because judges are supposed to judge. I think it means being fair, listening to all parties and then applying the law impartially and fairly. (In teaching judges I like to say that Chris Rock knows three important things about being a judge: be polite, obey the law and use common sense.)
In the political world we hear buzz words like "conservative" and "liberal" and phrases like "legislating from the bench" which judges shouldn't do. Here's the truth. I'm not sure what a "liberal" or "conservative" judge is. Judges follow the law and the evidence wherever it leads. Judges perceived as "liberal" can make decisions that seem "conservative" or vice versa because the law is neither conservative or liberal: it's the law. Much of the time the law is pretty clear on its face and judges must apply it as the legislative branch wrote. Sometimes the law is confusing, archaic or conflicts with other laws and then judges have to try to interpret it -- not by "legislating from the bench" but by applying well-settled rules of construction to discern what the law was intended to accomplish. And occasionally laws or how they were enforced in a particular case are contrary to the Wisconsin or United States Constitution. It's important for judges to follow the law, be fair, use common sense and to treat everyone with the dignity and respect they deserve.
I am a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin (former member of the Media-Law Relations Committee) and the American Bar Association. I am vice-chair of the Criminal Justice editorial board and a member of the Criminal Justice Section, Judicial Division and Specialized Courts Conference. I presented programs on judicial ethics and also on sexual offenders in New York and on dealing with child witnesses in Washington, D.C. I was also principal drafter of the ABA guidelines for the fair treatment of children as witnesses.
I am also a member of the Wisconsin Municipal Judges Association and have presented programs for the Wisconsin Office of Judicial Education in Green Bay, La Crosse and Stevens Point. My wife is active at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Kenosha and I am a member of St. Anne Catholic Church in Pleasant Prairie. I am also a proud member of the Pleasant Prairie Historical Society.
As a municipal judge I am available on assignment to sit in other municipal courts when emergency or vacation coverage is needed. I am also a supplemental circuit court commissioner in Kenosha County, having sat in family court and intake (criminal/juvenile).
I am available to officiate at weddings. There is no charge for this service when performed in my courtroom. A stipend may apply for ceremonies performed elsewhere.
To inquire about these services or having me present a program to your organization please E-mail or call me.