Court in Sparta

Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Drake Roggensack, standing, speaks during the Court's Justice on Wheels visit to the Monroe County Justice Center in Sparta Oct. 12. Other justices, left to right: Justice Daniel Kelly, Justice Annette Kingsland Ziegler, Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, Justice Rebecca Grassl Bradley and Justice Rebecca Frank Dallet.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court marked the 25th year of its Justice on Wheels outreach and education program Friday by holding oral arguments in three cases at the Monroe County Justice Center.

Monroe County is the 29th county outside Dane where the court has held arguments since Justice on Wheels began in 1993.

About 250 people, including 150 high school students from Sparta and Tomah, listened to lawyers present the legal reasons they believe the court should decide in their favor. Arguments were held in the Branch 4 courtroom.

“We greatly appreciate the hospitality of the people of Monroe County and everyone who made our visit a success, including county and circuit court officials and staff, the Sheriff’s Department, the Sparta Police Department and the Monroe County Bar Association, among others,” said Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Drake Roggensack.

Before each argument, an attorney member of the local bar association discussed with the audience the role of the courts in interpreting the law, the process used to decide a case and the legal issues involved. The court accepts for review only cases that present novel legal questions of statewide importance.

More than 10,000 people have witnessed or participated in Justice on Wheels, which often attracts a standing-room-only crowd, according to court information officer Tom Sheehan.

Also as part of Justice on Wheels, the Supreme Court sponsored a civic education contest, involving a creative project for local fifth graders. Contest organizers says it’s a way for students to learn about the Wisconsin and U.S. constitutions. The following students were presented awards for essays during an opening ceremony:

  • First Place, Gus Tripp—Sparta Meadowview Intermediate School. Teacher: Denise Larson
  • Second Place, Micah I. Ray—Sparta Meadowview Intermediate School. Teacher: Larson
  • Third Place, Madeline Ziegler—Sparta Meadowview Intermediate School. Teacher: Larson

Since 1993, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has held arguments in the following counties: Brown, Eau Claire, Marathon, Milwaukee, La Crosse, Douglas, Rock, Kenosha, Sauk, Dodge, Oneida, Outagamie, Portage, Racine, Fond du Lac, Walworth, Waushara, St. Croix, Winnebago, Iowa, Washington, Columbia, Green, Sheboygan, Waukesha, Grant, Bayfield and Jefferson.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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