Civics: Not since 2013 has a judgeship been contested

David Blaska:

Dane County WI has 17 circuit court judges; they are elected in the non-partisan Spring (April 5) elections to six-year terms. Job pays $130,00 annually. (Another 11 court commissioners set initial bail at arraignment court. They are appointed.)

They are largely faceless; they rarely face opposition on the ballot. Not since 2013 has a judgeship been contested. For that reason, they rarely need to campaign, respond to questionnaires, sit for an endorsement interview, debate an opponent.

Five judgeships are on the ballot in the next election on 5 April 2022. Those benches are occupied by Valerie L. Bailey-Rihn, Nicholas McNamara, John Hyland, Stephen Ehlke — and Everett Mitchell. Mitchell is, by reputation, at least, the king of catch and release. Consider this case as Exhibit A:

One defendant at a time. A fellow by name of Sir Emarion M. Tucker this week pled guilty to raping a woman in her southwest side home on 1 September 2018. He also pled out to two unrelated burglary charges committed while he was free on bail. In March 2020, Judge Mitchell agreed to reduce Tucker’s $30,000 bail to $2,000. Tucker was back on the streets.

Two months later, he robbed a woman on Radcliffe Drive on the far west side, struck her in the head and demanded sex. (More here.) Two months after that (July 2020), Tucker robbed and punched a 77-year-old woman and also attempted to steal her car in a parking lot on Cottage Grove Road. A raft of charges were dismissed to get Tucker’s plea. Those include aggravated battery, armed robbery, armed burglary, attempted sexual assault, battery, and child pornography. Two felony bail jumping charges were also dismissed.