Jan. 8, 2016 – The weapons scanner at a courthouse entrance went off when someone approached. The security guard, who had no law enforcement training, shrugged and waved the person through, commenting, “It’s probably your shoes.” The person who was seeking entrance, a plain-clothes police officer, looked the security employee in the eye and responded, “No. It’s my gun.”
In this month’s cover article, “Court Funding: Security at Risk,” respondents to a State Bar of Wisconsin survey on court funding reported the above and other incidents detailing how inadequate funding poses serious challenges to the system’s ability to keep safe those who work in and use courthouses.
In this month’s Your State Bar column, “Of Old Adages and Pennies,” State Bar executive director George Brown says “Every lawyer, as an officer of the court, plays a role in court funding.” He encourages lawyers to discuss the study’s findings and the effects of the lack of court funding with colleagues and legislators. The Bar’s public affairs team can help you work with local officials to improve funding for our courts.
Heroin Epidemic Takes Toll on Justice System
Funding for security is only one challenge facing Wisconsin courts. Another is treatment courts’ struggle with a new epidemic, the explosive growth in the number of heroin addicts and overdoses. In “In the Crosshairs: Heroin’s Impact on Wisconsin’s Criminal Justice System,” Brown County Circuit Court judge and author Thomas J. Walsh, takes a hard look at how heroin impacts our justice system. Despite the challenges, he concludes that treatment courts are better equipped to assist heroin-addict offenders than are standard criminal courts.
In “Tribal and Local Governments: Jurisdictional Challenges within Shared Spaces,” Rebecca M. Webster outlines the complex jurisdictional issues that arise when a tribal and local government exercise various levels of regulatory jurisdiction within an Indian reservation. If you thought this area of law was settled, think again.
Columns and Viewpoints
101 Column: Author Sam Wayne, in “How to Add Fair Credit Reporting Act Cases to Your Practice,” says such claims are not fact-intensive, can be prosecuted efficiently, and can make good additions to your practice. Read how.
Technology: You may be tired of gift giving, but practice management advisor Tison Rhine gives you a reason to hit yet another store. In “Pick Your Winner: 2016 Smartphone Roundup,” Rhine compares the features of the most well-known smartphone models and some lesser-known rivals. If you’re in the market, he’s done your comparison shopping so you don’t have to.
Final Thought: Taking a civil dispute to trial rarely happens anymore, says author William T. Curran. In “Choosing Judges with Courtroom Experience,” he asks how then will today’s lawyers, some of whom will be judges in the future, gain courtroom experience.
Stay up-to-date on ethics issues, and find out what your colleagues are up to, in the Ethics, Members Only, and Lawyer Discipline columns.
Check out the full January Wisconsin Lawyer.