On Wednesday, July 20, 2022 Jake Brunette announced his candidacy for Branch 2 Clark County Judge. The second branch of the court was due to legislation passed in 2020 that allowed Wisconsin 12 new judges throughout the entire state. A state court department administrator got to decide which counties got the judges. Clark County was in the third wave of new judges.
Asked why he was so interested in the new judgeship, Brunette revealed his love for applying the law. The practice of law as an attorney is different from applying the law as a judge. His even-tempered and fair demeanor reveal someone well-suited for the bench.
What is his favorite type of case? “Adoption,” he answers quickly. “This is where you get to help a child and a family come together and begin building a life.”
The big question for most voters is the idea of his wife being already on the Branch 1 bench. Would there be a conflict of interest?
“We have talked at length about that,” Brunette answers. “We would have no appeal to each other and no oversight of one over the other. Aside from both being Clark County judges, there is no case that we would share. We also reached out to the administrative branch and a collection of judges who provide advisory opinions regarding integrity and ethics on the bench and we found out that there are already husband and wife judges in Milwaukee County, serving together for five years.”
There has been much discussion among attorneys and friends of the court regarding the issue and none have offered any concern or criticism of a husband and wife pair of judges, especially serving in two separate branches of the county court.
“In the end,” Brunette says, “it is the quality of our work-ethic and our integrity that should put concerns to rest. We are making certain that we do not put myself or the current judge in professional jeopardy. We would be equal in authority but independent, even siloed, from one another.”
Brunette concludes with “If there is anything that would keep us from rendering fair and unbiased decisions, we must recuse ourselves. A judge must be impartial in all matters of rendering justice.”
The Sentinel & Rural News covers the news and events of Clark County and southern Taylor County, as well as regional news that affects those areas.