Many of us gained our knowledge of the court system from school, from the news, or from primetime television. But our everyday exposure to the courts can sometimes be overwhelming, and leave us with more questions than answers:
What really happens in criminal court?
What is the difference between criminal and civil court cases?
What is the difference between state court and federal court?
What is it really like to be a judge?
Our Courts Wisconsin will bring you the answers.
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Our Courts Presentation Schedule
Go Behind the Bench
The Our Courts Wisconsin program offers nonpartisan informational programs to adult audiences throughout Wisconsin. Specially trained legal professionals are available to make presentations free of charge to community groups. If your organization needs an engaging expert with first-hand knowledge of the court system to provide a fun, interactive educational experience, please contact us via email at PubEdCoordinator@wisbar.org or call Marsha Varvil-Weld at (800) 444-9404, ext. 6191.
A Variety of Topics to Suit Your Needs
Community groups and organizations will be able to select a presentation from a menu of programs. A team made up of an attorney and a judge will provide the presentation, which can be adapted to the length of your meeting.
Our Courts Wisconsin Programs
Lincoln's Legacy: This essay was written by Hon. Russell E. Carparelli, a Colorado Court of Appeals judge since 2003, with the collaboration of the Colorado Judicial Commission and Our Courts Colorado. This essay shares a personal side of Abraham Lincoln and offers attendees an understanding of how Lincoln guided our nation to move closer to the ideals of equality and liberty. We do not speak of Abraham Lincoln as one of our nation’s Founders, yet we owe him an incalculable debt of gratitude for his commitment to the principles of equality and liberty stated in the Declaration of Independence and for transforming the Constitution to give those principles the power of law.
Myths and Realities in Wisconsin's Courts: This humorous presentation will help audiences understand the judicial system through excerpts from various pop culture depictions of court proceedings. The entertainment industry often presents an unrealistic and unflattering view of what happens in the courtroom, and this program aims to correct some of the misinformation. From Judge Judy to John Grisham, we’ll be separating myth from reality and learning more about the court system along the way.
Understanding the Criminal Court Process: Protecting the Rights of Wisconsin Citizens: This basic level presentation will provide an overview of the criminal court proceedings. The focus is to review the most common terms used and how the process works. Topics may include discussion on: 1) types of charges; 2) the role of the judge, district attorney, public defender, jury; 3) the various stages of a criminal proceeding, from pre-trial hearings to plea bargaining or trial to sentencing; 4) the preservation of rights throughout the process; and 5) appropriate courtroom behavior.
Understanding the Importance of Your Court System: Courts Serving Wisconsin Citizens: Courts are an essential part of our democracy and provide balance in our government. Fair and impartial courts are the cornerstone of our system of justice. This interactive program will provide an overview of the Wisconsin Court System, along with information to help attendees understand the role of courts in society and the values on which they are built including accountability; the rule of law; and equal justice for all.
Our Courts Wisconsin Policy
Our Courts Wisconsin presentations and presenters will take no position on any court case, legislation, ballot issue, or proposed change to the court system and will not provide legal advice.