Vol. 79, No. 3, March
Racine County Drug and Alcohol Treatment
Court begins hearing cases
The Racine County Drug and Alcohol Treatment Court held its first
court hearings on Feb. 2.
The Drug Court team, comprising 10 representatives from the legal and
health professions, evaluates fourth-offense drunk drivers for
participation in the treatment court. After an alcohol, drug, and mental
health assessment, the team determines if the individual is suitable for
Drug Court. Once accepted, the person enters a plea and is given a
sentence that makes use of probation with conditions to include jail
time and treatment to meet the offender's needs. The individual appears
every two weeks before the judge. Prior to each court appearance, the
Drug Court team meets to evaluate the person's progress. Individuals who
are succeeding receive praise and encouragement and earn incentives,
while those who are not may be ordered to attend additional self-help
group meetings, perform community service work, serve additional jail
time, or even be removed from the program and returned to the
traditional criminal justice system. Completion of the program can take
from 13 to 24 months.
"After more than a year of planning and training, the Drug Court Team
has established a pilot project serving between five and 10
individuals," said Chief Judge Gerald Ptacek. "We can now go forward to
build on this base and apply for funding in order to expand the drug
court to reach our goal of handling up to 50 cases per year."
The Racine County Drug Court team received a $5,000 federal grant to
participate in a year-long national Drug Court training program that
included visits to several drug courts in other states. By the time the
training had concluded, the team had designed the Racine County Drug and
Alcohol Treatment Court and written a policy and procedure manual for
National figures show that drug courts have a positive effect on
communities by reducing recidivism, improving participants' lives, and
saving money and resources.
Other Wisconsin drug and alcohol courts are located in Douglas, Dane,
La Crosse, and Monroe counties. Barron, Eau Claire, Pierce, Trempealeau,
Waukesha, and Wood counties have developed pilot programs to test the
concept with a small number of offenders.
Contributing writer Amanda Todd, Court Information Officer, can be
reached at gov amanda.todd wicourts wicourts amanda.todd gov or
As work-related Weblogs
proliferate, few employers are prepared
Weblogs (blogs) are booming, but the latest survey conducted by the
Employment Law Alliance (ELA) reports that while millions of workers -
perhaps as many as 5 percent of the American workforce - are maintaining
online personal diaries, only about 15 percent of employers have
specific policies addressing work-related blogging.
An increasing number of disgruntled employees are blogging to
retaliate against an employer. If a company wants to control employee
blogging, it needs a proactive policy. Without one, disciplining an
employee is problematic.
What is a blog
A blog is a personal journal that is posted to a Web site, is
typically updated daily, is informal in style and is intended for
general public consumption.
Blog-related issues cover a broad spectrum well beyond employer
concerns of the posting of company secrets. For example, can the
employer regulate off-duty blogging because it believes the content
injures the company's reputation, is embarrassing to the company, or
disparages the company's products, management, or customers? There is
intense debate over blogs, but no debate over the need for clear
blogging policies. The practice of firing a worker for inappropriate
blogging even has its own name, doocing (named for a fired
worker who maintains the www.dooce.com Web site)
The ELA recently conducted a telephone poll of 1,000 adults
nationwide, with a confidence interval of +/- 4 percent. Besides finding
that 5 percent of American workers maintain personal blogs and that only
15 percent of their employers have a policy directly addressing blogging
activities, it also revealed:
- 59 percent of employ-ees believe employers should be allowed to
discipline or terminate workers who post confidential or proprietary
information concerning the employer;
- 55 percent think employers should be allowed to discipline or
terminate employees who post damaging, embarrassing, negative
information about the employer; and
- 23 percent support fellow workers being free to post criticism or
satire about employers, coworkers, supervisors, customers, or clients
without fear of discipline.
Of the employees polled who work for a company with a blogging
- 62 percent say the policy prohibits posting any employer-related
- 60 percent say the policy discourages employees from criticizing or
making negative comments against the employer; and
- 58 percent say the regulations deal with all blogging regardless of
The ELA is a global practice network comprising independent law firms
distinguished for their employment and labor law practice.
For an in-depth discussion of blog-related legal issues, see "The
Shifting Legal Landscape of Blogging."
Contributing writer Scott Beightol is a partner at Michael Best &
Friedrich, Milwaukee. To contact Beightol, email com scbeightol michaelbest michaelbest scbeightol com.
Sixteen mandatory court
forms available in Spanish
As part of its plan for improving services to limited English
proficiency (LEP) populations, the Director of State Courts Office has
translated 16 court forms into Spanish. While a translated form will not
eliminate the need for a court interpreter or the requirement for
attorneys and judges to ensure parties understand their rights and
responsibilities, forms will make it easier for an interpreter to do her
job and will give Spanish-speaking individuals who are able to read an
opportunity to follow along.
According to Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, "When immigrants who
do not speak English come to court, we have a duty to ensure that
language is not a barrier to justice. We have come a long way in the
past several years and the provision of translated forms is one more big
step to ensuring equal justice under the law."
The following forms are available in Spanish.
- CR-203 Bail/Bond
- CR-226 Waiver of Right to Counsel
- CR-227 Plea Questionnaire/Waiver of Rights
- CR-233 Notice of Right to Seek Post-Conviction Relief
- CR-234 Written Explanation of Determinate Sentence
- CV-402 Petition for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Injunction
- CV-403 Notice of Hearing/Temporary Restraining Order (Domestic
- CV-404 Injunction (Domestic Abuse)
- CV-410 Petition and Waiver of Filing and Service Fees - Affidavit of
Indigency and Order
- FA-604 Stipulation and Order to Amend Judgment for
- JD-1720 Summons
- JD-1724 Notice of Hearing
- JD-1736 Waiver of Right to Counsel
- JD-1737 Plea Questionnaire/Waiver of Rights
- JD-1757 Notice of Right to Seek Post-Judgment Relief
The forms are available on the court's Web site at www.wicourts.gov/forms1/circuit.htm
and are designated with an "S" after the number.