Dane county has 17 circuit court judges. This spring election, eight of them are running for reelection. All eight are running unopposed.
All judges in the state are elected, and Circuit Court Judges serve a six year term. According to Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division in Dane County Circuit Court, Nicholas McNamara, having so many judges on the ballot is unusual. “When a judge resigns or there is a vacancy short of the six year term, the governor gets to appoints someone to become the judge, and then that judge runs for the election at the very next April,” McNamara explains. “It just so happens that Governor Evers appointed five new judges this past year.”
The judges who were appointed last year are Jacob Frost, Chris Taylor, Mario White, David Conway, and Nia Tremmell. Finishing their 6-year terms are Judges Juan Colás, Julie Genovese, and Josann Reynolds.
Judge McNamara gave opening remarks during a virtual forum for these judges, Tuesday night hosted by the Madison based organization MOSES (Madison Organizing in Strength Equality and Solidarity). They are an interfaith organization that joins Dane County congregations to discuss and act on criminal justice reform.
Just one judge, Judge Jacob Frost, did not attend the MOSES forum due to family obligations.
The forum largely focused on the judges’ opinions on incarceration and approaches reform. The full length forum can be found on MOSES’s Facebook page.
Another judge running for reelection unopposed is Judge David Koval for Madison Municipal Court. Polls are now open for early voting and election day is Tuesday, April 6th.
Photo by WORT’s Brian Standing