The United States prides itself on an impartial judicial process that’s administered by various court systems. Whether it’s at the municipal level or all the way up to the Supreme Court, the court system is in place to rule and enforce laws and provide justice in every case.
In Wisconsin, there are four levels that help enforce and rule on the state’s laws. With a court system that’s been in place since 1848, there is a long history of important rulings in the Badger State. Learn more about the state’s court system below.
The origin of the Wisconsin court system goes back to Article VII of the Wisconsin Constitution, which was put in place back in 1848. Originally, the constitution divided the state into five judicial circuit districts. About five years later, the Wisconsin Supreme Court was established with three members chosen in statewide elections. Later, in 1877, a constitutional amendment increased the number of associate judges from two to four.
Throughout the years, the Wisconsin court system has grown tremendously at every level. Currently, there are four levels of the court system in the Badger State. The lowest level is the municipal court, of which there are 237 with 240 judges. Milwaukee has the largest municipal court with three full-time judges.
Next are the circuit courts, which have 249 judges across 72 counties. Circuit court judges in Wisconsin are elected on a countywide basis to six-year terms. Again, Milwaukee has the largest jurisdiction with a total of 47 judges.
The Court of Appeals was created in 1978 and was originally designed to handle about 1,200 cases annually. Like the circuit courts, judges are elected on a district-wide basis to terms of six years.
Finally, the highest court in Wisconsin is the Supreme Court. Known as the court of last resort, the WI Supreme Court reviews approximately 1,000 petitions per year and only accepts between 100-120 of them. Seven justices elected to 10-year terms serve on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
The court system of Wisconsin provides many services for the public. Utilizing the Wisconsin court website, residents can do everything from pay court fees online to find information on the lawyer regulation process and complete an electronic filing in Wisconsin’s circuit and appellate courts. These online resources make it a breeze to get through the court system or to get in contact with someone who can help you navigate the judicial process.
According to the Wisconsin court system, every resident of the county served by a circuit court who is at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and is able to understand English is qualified to serve as a juror in that court unless he or she has been convicted of a felony and has not had his or her civil rights restored. Here is a further breakdown of some key facts and notes to keep in mind when it comes to serving as a juror in Wisconsin: