Vol. 79, No. 2, February
Legal News & Trends
New Dane County Courthouse steps into
the 21st century; technology offers easy access to justice
When the new Dane County Courthouse opened its doors for business on
Jan. 17, access to justice joined with technology. Lawyers and the
public use a touch-screen display to locate the courtrooms in the
county's first "green" building. The courtrooms include electronic
communications systems, and ultimately several courtrooms will provide
videoconferencing capabilities. Laptop Internet connections also are
available for lawyers, litigants, and prospective jurors.
Located on S. Hamilton St. between W. Wilson and Doty streets, the
$44 million, 10-story Dane County Courthouse was built using many
recycled and environmentally friendly materials.
"The building's construction facilitates accessibility by those with
special needs and provides state-of-the-art electronic communication
systems," said Dane County Bar Association President Marsha Mansfield at
the Jan. 6 opening ceremony. "There is plenty of space for litigants to
meet with lawyers and for lawyers and the public to do research and
work. More courtrooms will allow trials to be scheduled expeditiously,
ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to access the courts and to be
treated fairly once they are in the court system."
"The County Board recognized that the old courthouse was unsafe,
overcrowded, and generally a grim setting for the work of justice," said
Judge Daniel R. Moeser.
In the old courthouse in the City County Building, witnesses,
victims, defendants, jurors, and members of the public mingled in the
halls, noted Chief Judge Michael N. Nowakowski. "Judges and court
commissioners often held hearings in offices due to a lack of
courtrooms," said Nowakowski. "The courtroom setting lends dignity and
authority to the proceedings. Courtrooms also are public spaces, and
justice should not be dispensed behind closed doors."
Madison attorney Barbara Whitish chaired the
Courthouse Committee, which was instrumental in advocating needs of
lawyers and litigants. "This committee was an effective liaison between
the court system and the Dane County Bar," said Mansfield. "They have
worked very diligently on this project addressing everything from
construction to artwork. This new courthouse will meet the needs of
lawyers, judges, and the public for many years."
Rosa Parks attorney Fred Gray
receives Wisconsin MLK Lifetime Achievement Award, pledges continued
fight for equal justice
Civil rights attorney Fred Gray, who represented Rosa Parks and Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr., received the Wisconsin Annual MLK National
Lifetime Achievement Award at the 26th Annual State of Wisconsin Tribute
and Ceremony honoring Dr. King. The ceremony, which is the oldest state
celebration nationwide, was held on Jan. 16 at the Wisconsin State
Nationally acclaimed journalist Tony Brown, who coordinated the
historic Walk To Freedom that was led by Dr. King, was the keynote
speaker. Brown and James Cameron, founder of America's Black Holocaust
Museum in Milwaukee and the only living survivor of a 1930 lynching in
Ohio, also received lifetime achievement awards.
More than 2,000 people attended the 26th Annual State of Wisconsin
Tribute and Ceremony honoring Martin Luther King Jr. at the State
Capitol in January. (Inset) Civil rights attorney Fred Gray, State Bar
of Alabama past president, pledged to continue the fight for equal
In his remarks, Gray, who is a past Alabama State Bar president and
the first African American to hold the position, said, "I humbly accept
this award on behalf of the thousands of clients who during the last 51
years trusted me to handle their legal cases. Many of them resulted in
breaking down the walls of segregation and changing the landscape of
America. I particularly accept this award on behalf of those unknown
clients. You know about Rosa Parks and Dr. King, but you don't know
about all of the other unknown heroes whose names will never appear in
print and the faces that will never appear on television. I pledge to
you that I will continue to fight for equal justice under the law until
all of God's children are free."
Determined to right the wrongs Gray found in his native Alabama, Gray
has been at the forefront of changing the social fabric of America
regarding desegregation, integration, constitutional law, racial
discrimination in voting, housing, education, jury service, farm
subsidies, medicine and ethics, and generally improving the national
judicial system for more than 50 years.
The State Bar sponsored a reception for members immediately preceding
the ceremony. "I was particularly proud to host the reception in honor
of Fred Gray prior to the state's celebration," says State Bar Past
President Michelle Behnke. "I first met Fred Gray at the National
Conference of Bar Presidents. He has been an inspiration to many bar
leaders of color. He has been incredibly generous with his time serving
the legal profession both within the State of Alabama and within the
ABA. It is because of the work of attorneys like Fred Gray that great
strides have been made in the area of civil rights."
The annual event is a production of Africasong Communications Inc.
Wisconsin Public Radio's Jonathan Overby is the executive director.
ABA conference focuses on getting the
most out of technology in your practice
The State Bar of Wisconsin is a cosponsor at the annual ABA
TECHSHOW®, scheduled from April 20 to 22 in Chicago,
earning State Bar members a discount. The conference will feature 60
legal technology programs and training sessions and more than 100
technology vendors showing the latest in legal technology products and
The ABA Law Practice Management Section will host an educational
track providing practical, down-to-earth practice management advice for
both the tech-savvy and the techno-novice. A vendor track also will be
offered providing demonstrations of new software and technological tools
and product information.
Education tracks include advanced information technology,
e-discovery, e-lawyering, Internet, litigation, malpractice prevention,
solo and small firm, support staff, interest group roundtables, and
Mention the State Bar promoter code PP117 and receive a $100 discount
on the three-day fee of $895. Register by March 10 to receive an
additional $200 early bird discount.
The programs have been submitted for CLE credits.
Mandatory court form updates: criminal,
general, and guardianship
As of Oct. 20, 2005, the Wisconsin Records Management Committee has
updated and introduced the following forms. Key: New (N)/Revised (R)
CR-203 Bail/Bond (R)
CR-260 Order Concerning Sentence Adjustment (R)\
CV-404 Injunction (Domestic Abuse) (R)
CV-407 Injunction (Harassment) (R)
CV-414 Injunction (Child Abuse) (R)
GF-165 Bench Warrant - Civil (R)
GF-172 Notice of Certification (R)
GN-2050 Notice of Placement by Appropriate Board or Designated
PR-1825 Notice of Delinquent Estate (R)
SC-500 Summons & Complaint (R)
SC-500E Summons & Complaint (Electronic Filing) (R)
SC-506 Order for Financial Disclosure & Financial Disclosure
SC-509 Minutes - Small Claims (R)
Forms and summaries are available in PDF or MS Word format at
www.wisbar.org/forms. For more information, contact Terri Borrud at
(608) 266-7143 or gov terri.borrud wicourts wicourts terri.borrud gov.