Vol. 77, No. 3, March
Former State Bar President Truman McNulty's
contributions spanned more than 50 years
Truman McNulty, former State Bar president
Former State Bar President Truman Q. McNulty passed away on Jan. 26.
A member of the Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. law firm in Milwaukee, his
career spanned more than 50 years. McNulty was 82.
"Truman's passion and love of the law is evident in the way he lived
his life," said long-time friend and colleague Charles C. Mulcahy,
Milwaukee. "His commitment to this passion is borne out in his many
contributions to the profession, the public, and the community."
McNulty was devoted to advancing and maintaining the integrity of the
profession's responsibilities, and his scope of commitment to the legal
profession led to positions of leadership and involvement in various
activities in the State and American bar associations, the Wisconsin Law
Foundation (WLF), and in service to the public.
"Truman was a model for what every lawyer should strive to be," said
State Bar President George Burnett. "He was proud of his profession,
dedicated to his clients, loved his family, and committed to his
"Truman was a remarkable person," said Nathan Fishbach, Whyte
Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. "He had clients for decades. He was their
attorney, their trusted adviser, and most importantly, their
In May 2001, McNulty received the WLF Charles L. Goldberg Award,
which recognizes lifetime achievement of individuals in the legal
profession with a record of service to the profession and to the
"Truman was an active and caring member of the Wisconsin Law
Foundation for many years," said WLF President Cheryl Furstace Daniels.
"He believed in the mission of supporting law-related education and
public service projects for Wisconsin citizens. We will miss his
dedication to the cause."
McNulty served as State Bar president in 1978 - 79, and served three
terms on the Board of Governors and one year as an Executive Committee
member. He began his leadership career in the State Bar in 1960, serving
four years as chair of the Post-Graduate Education Committee. This led
to the development of the State Bar's CLE program and the adoption of
mandatory CLE in 1977.
McNulty was involved at a comparable level of activity in the
American Bar Association. A member since 1956, he was appointed to the
Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, the
Professional Discipline Committee, and the ABA Standing Committee on
Continuing Education to the Bar. The ABA House of Delegates elected him
to the Board of Governors.
McNulty, Marquette Law School 1948, also was active in alumni
activities. He served as president of the Wisconsin Law Alumni and the
All University Alumni Association and as a member of the University's
McNulty served as a member and president of the mayor's Advisory
Council in Milwaukee. Gov. Warren Knowles appointed McNulty to the State
Board of Health and Social Services, where he served for six years,
including two years as chair.
At the time of his death, McNulty was WLF Fellows Board of Trustees
past president, WLF Fellows member, and Fellows Finance Committee
McNulty leaves his wife, Emily; four children, Mark, Mary Kay, Brian,
and Erin; and four grandchildren.
Memorial contributions can be made to:
The Truman Q. McNulty, Ethics in the Law Award Fund, Marquette Law
School, Attn: Christine Wilczynski-Vogel, Sensenbrenner Hall, P.O. Box
1881, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881.
Senate supports Daubert; bill moves to
A proposal is advancing in the state legislature that would change
the basis on which Wisconsin courts would determine the admission of lay
and expert witness testimony. Approved by the Republican-controlled
Senate on a party-line 18-15 vote, Senate Bill 49 would adopt the
Daubert standard, codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence,
requiring judges to assume a significant "gatekeeper" function in
keeping from the jury scientific evidence the judge deems
Under current law, if a witness is not testifying as an expert, the
witness's testimony is limited to those opinions that are rationally
based on the witness's perception and helpful to a clear understanding
of the witness's testimony or of a fact at issue in the case. SB 49 adds
the additional limit that a nonexpert's testimony may not be based on
the witness's scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge.
Current law also allows the testimony of an expert witness if that
scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the
trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact at issue
in the case. SB 49 limits the testimony of an expert witness to
testimony that is based on sufficient facts or data, that is the product
of reliable principles and methods, and that is based on the witness
applying those principles and methods to the facts of the case.
While Wisconsin courts do not make a direct determination as to the
reliability of the scientific principles on which the evidence is based,
as proposed in SB 49, they do play a limited gatekeeper function. Under
state law, courts may exclude relevant evidence on the grounds of
prejudice, confusion, or waste of time. In addition, parties can
challenge the reliability of expert testimony through
cross-examin-ation, and it is up to a jury to decide whether the
testimony is credible and what weight to assign to it.
Proponents argue that the legislation is needed so judges can filter
out "junk science" before it reaches the jury. Opponents say that
Wisconsin does not have a problem with "junk science," and if the system
is not broken, why fix it?
The legislation was amended in the Senate so it would not apply to
criminal cases and chapter 980 sexual predator cases, in response to
concerns raised by the Attorney General's Office. In a letter to the
chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Corrections and Privacy,
which considered the bill, Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager noted
that SB 49 may substantially affect the Department of Justice's
prosecution of criminal, traffic, and violent person cases in state
The State Bar opposes SB 49 because it believes the supreme court,
through its rule-making process, is the appropriate forum for
considering the wisdom of adopting the federal rules on experts or some
The Assembly Committee on Corrections and the Courts held a public
hearing on SB 49 on Feb. 11, but has taken no action on the bill. The
legislation must be passed by the Assembly and approved by the governor
before becoming law.
SCR requires training for GALs for adults;
upcoming seminars in statewide locations
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has created SCR 36, requiring training to
become eligible for appointment as a guardian ad litem (GAL) for adults.
Effective July 1, 2004, to serve as GAL for an adult, attorneys must
have completed either 30 hours of Board of Bar Examiners-approved GAL
education; or six hours of GAL education focusing on the role and
responsibilities of a GAL for an adult during the combined current
reporting period when accepting an appointment and the immediately
preceding reporting period, or requested that the court find they are
otherwise qualified to accept the GAL appointment.
Attend an upcoming State Bar CLE seminar to fulfill the new SCR
requirement. The 17th Annual Law and the Elderly Seminar, focuses on the
growing problem of financial abuse of the elderly. The Advanced
Directives End-of-Life Decision Making Seminar will help attorneys
assist clients in making end-of-life decisions so attorneys can
translate clients' wishes into meaningful, enforceable legal
Both seminars have been approved for 7.5 GAL adult credits. Annual
Law and the Elderly will be presented on April 7, at statewide
locations, 8 a.m. - 4:15 p.m. Tuition is $199. Advanced Directives will
be presented on April 1 in Milwaukee and on June 8, at statewide
locations, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Tuition is $179 for Public Interest Law
Section members and $199 for nonsection members.
To register, visit www.wisbar.org and click "Marketplace" on the left
navigation panel, or call (800) 728-7788 or (608) 257-3838.
The newly created rule was issued as Supreme Court Order 03-03 and
published in the February 2004 Wisconsin