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Friday, March 16, 2012

Dear Court Commissioners Who Are Not Judges

Dear Court Commissioners Who Are Not Judges:

I just love politics! I really, really do!

And, I especially love women candidates! And, court commissioners!

I love women professionals. I love powerful women. And I love women politicians. You are the trifecta!

I love the word trifecta and I use it in every Love Letter. “Word” insists it isn’t a word but, my bookie insists it is. I also love exclamation points!

Well, imagine how excited I was to find out a woman was running for Rock County Circuit Court Judge Branch 7! I almost spilled my martini! Choked on my appetizer! Dropped my hankie!

The 54% of voters (those would be women) in the last presidential election are ecstatic to see more and more and more women running for office.

But, good golly Miss Martini, there is something that I just love more than women or men or martinis or appetizers or… YES! You guessed it!

I love research! I am a computer addict. A Facebook addict. A library addict. A stickler for precise definitions. For peeling the layers off onions and peeling and peeling and ...

Oh, and I hate messy! I love precision. “Precision tool” means more to me than chocolates and flowers and jewelry…

Hmmm… And, the truth. The whole truth. And, nothing but the truth. I don’t even like shades of gray or implying or hinting.

So, I began my research with the woman candidate, the COMMISSIONER, running for office.

But, keep your thongs on! I thought we had a judge running for office?

We do NOT have a judge running for office! Imagine my surprise! That was the very first thing that I learned. A commissioner is not a judge.

The commissioner’s own literature identifies her as having “judicial” experience.

Even I was confused and I thought I knew everything. Imagine that, if you can. I don’t know everything—I was the last to find out!

I looked the word “judicial” up in the Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language that I keep right beside my computer. (I forgive my reader(s) for thinking that these words just pour out like… well… like… water out a spigot.)

Silly me. I thought “judicial” meant “having to do with or pertaining to being a judge.” No, it just means having to do with judgments in courts OR to the administration of justice.

Imagine the tingle up MY leg when I found out that I HAVE JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE! Yes, I do! I am thrilled to the core and am re-writing my resume immediately. I have worked as a Probation and Parole Officer (in a Dungeon back in the Dark Ages)and in the administration of justice.


WHAT? Oh. Well, it appears to me that she is trying to appear otherwise. But, appearances can be deceiving. And, that is messy. And, I just hate messy appearances! Especially in court!

But, she is still the best qualifies candidate, correct? After all, she says so herself. And, I am the Queen of Sheba! I said so myself. Ms. McCrory’s campaign literature tells us she is “The Most Experienced and The Most Qualified.”


Can it be true that Ms. McCrory has handled 0 Criminal Felony cases, 0 Criminal Misdemeanor cases, 8 Civil cases, 0 Traffic cases, and only 196 Family cases--and NEVER TRIED A JURY CASE?

This would be in comparison to candidate Jack Hoag’s respective +1500, 1411, 296, 1209, and 1016 cases. Really.

I am totally confused about how Ms. McCrory is the “most experienced” and “most qualified?”


Still researching… Well, actually, I haven’t begun my real research, yet.

Where was I?

I began my research with our woman candidate because I put women on a pedestal. I love women. I want women to get ahead. Frankly, I want women to get ahead of men in every way possible. I am a feminist. Rush would call me a femi-nazi, I suppose. If it weren’t insulting the memories of millions, I would wear that label proudly.

But, Court Commissioner NOT-a-Judge Who Has NOT Demonstrated Superior Experience and Qualifications, as I continued my research, I began having questions about this NON-partisan race.

You see, the Trifecta in Madison (that would be our Republican Governor, Republican Assembly, and Republican Senate) have passed a bill that enables suits to be filed in any county—and not just Dane County.

That means that it is VERY important to the Republican Party to have loyal Republicans serving as judges everywhere in Wisconsin and not just in Dane County. I am merely making note of the political realities of the day. I am not an expert. I’m not even an attorney. And, in all honesty, I have no real judicial experience.

Well… Where am I and where am I going?

Oh, I am still at the beginning. One of my questions is, of course, does any candidate have strong political ties and would each be independent if a suit with political implications were filed in Rock County?

OK, I love research so on to—the GAB. You know what they say, “Follow the $$$$$$!”

I began my research on the GAB website following the principle of “ladies first.” And, well!

Ms. McCrory spent $2,500 on a consultant from Fond du Lac. Ray Lapierre? Really? He must be fantastic! $2,500? “Who is he?” I asked myself! Maybe he can help me! Remember: I want my own show!

After the GAB, the single most important research tool in the world is…FACEBOOK!

Ray Lapierre is looking like a pretty BFD in Republican circles.

His “Likes” on Facebook include: Scott Walker for Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Fitzgerald, Republican National Committee, Republican Party of Wisconsin, Republican Party of Oneida County, Ripon College Republicans, Rick Gudex, 4 general interests and… Barbara McCrory! And, he donates.

Then, the 3rd most important research tool, (after the GAB and FB) given that I do not YET have access to finger-printing... GOOGLE!

According to an October, 2011 newsletter from Winnebago County, Ray Lapierre is the Republican Party 6th Congressional District Campaign Chairman. Go Ray!

And, Mr. Lapierre is a “school teacher.” He does “candidate school” for Republican candidates:

“The Republican Party of the Sixth Congressional District has set a date for the District’s Candidate School …. The school will be open to all Republicans throughout the state… For more information write or call Ray Lapierre, Republican Party 6th Congressional District Campaign Chairman.”

Hmmm...Why does Ms. McCrory need a Republican Campaign Consultant. I am sure he does other things?

OK, stop the histrionics, Vivian. Big deal! So, Ms. McCrory’s consultant is a Republican Party consultant… and, he looks like a big Republican Party macher. Big deal, right?

But, isn’t former Assembly member from Fort Atkinson—David Ward—Ms. McCrory’s brother? Perhaps they are friends?

But, we all have the right of political affiliation, don’t we? Wait, do we?

STOP! Let’s ask the Gazette!

Didn't the Janesville Gazette question the ability of city council candidates to run for office AND be members of the little ol’ Executive Committee of the little ol' county Democratic Party and didn't they call a candidate ...something really ominous sounding? OH! ... “a high ranking member of the Democratic Party of Rock County.” I know I sent that clipping home to my family because I, too, am a "high ranking member” of the DPRC and they believe I'm a n'ere do well who never ranked highly anywhere. WOW! (My family was not impressed.)

Has the Gazette already run an article about Ms. McCrory and her political affiliations? Did I miss it? I cannot find my glasses! Did they question the ability of people with political consultants to run in non-partisan judicial races? Did they question her choice of a political consulting firm?

I continued forward with my seriously academic research. I read both judge candidates Facebook pages.

On copies of advertisements on Mrs. McCrory’s page, I got the impression that Judge Bates had endorsed her! He is very well respected. Fantastic!

Ummm… but, not quite. Judge Bates wrote a letter to the editor of the Beloit Daily News explaining that he was not endorsing her? Uh oh. Ouchie!

I also read on Ms. McCrory’s Facebook page—on what appears to be another advertising flier—about that “judicial experience.” I have been busy, busy clarifying the position of “Court Commissioner” and definitions of “judicial.” That is not easy to do!

I have clarified that Ms. McCrory is not a “judge,” that she does not try cases, and that she works under the supervision of a judge as a "Family Court Commissioner."

As I understand it, Court Commissioners are supervised by judges and handle:

1. The initial hearing in a divorce matter subject to immediate review by the Judge.

2. Post Judgment hearings involving custody, placement and child support subject to immediate review by the Judge.

3. Domestic abuse restraining order hearings subject to immediate review by the Judge.

What? Yep, that’s all. That comprises about 5% of all court filings in Rock County in one year as I understand it. Really?

So, then what DON’T commissioners do?

Family court commissioners do NOT: Conduct any of the final hearings in a divorce case involving child support, custody, placement, maintenance, property division and related matters.

A commissioner does NOT handle any criminal matters including both misdemeanor and felony matters.

Family court commissioners DON’T conduct civil litigation.

Family court commissioners DON’T participate in any jury trials. Jury trials are only held in criminal, civil or cases involving termination of parenting rights.

Commissioners DO NOT handle any harassment abuse restraining orders? NO juvenile matters. NO termination of parental rights matters.

Family court commissioners DON’T handle any traffic, probate, or small claims matters.

Can someone confirm that Mrs McCrory has NEVER tried a jury case in her life? Really? Neither as a judge nor an attorney. That is my understanding.

So, to summarize, I don’t know how Barbara McCrory votes and I did not look up her record of donations. But, I am concerned about judicial independence and I am concerned about her political connections and loyalties.

I am concerned about experience.

Ms. McCrory is not a judge and seems to be using the word “judicial” to imply that she is.

Despite her claims to be the most experienced and qualified, she has never tried a case before a jury--in any capacity and she does not seem to have a breadth of experience.

Despite her claims, Mrs. McCrory has no Criminal Felony, no Criminal Misdemeanor, no Traffic, and virtually no civil experience.

She is a Family Court Commissioner working under the supervision of a judge.

Of course we all have the right of political affiliation. I suppose the questions are:
“How strong are the political affiliations?”
“Will personal convictions & prejudices pre-determine judgments?”
“How independent would a judge be if a case involving politics got filed in Rock County?”
“How important is a wide variety of experience—especially criminal court experience?”
“How important is complete honesty in what we say, what we don't say, and what we imply?”
“How important is it that a judge have experience with jury trials?” Really? Are we asking that?

I just love politics, don’t you? But, it is too much work! I need a research assistant.

Your friend,

Vivian, Queen of Sheba


  1. Feel free to look into Jack Hoag's background too. Several speeding tickets, one weird one pertaining to his vehicle that even I have never seen before, and he was even charged with driving w/o a valid license that was eventually dropped. Hoag is just one of the members of the good ol' boys club. He throws around names like Bob Suter and ex-judge Roethe as close personal friends which only hurt his credibility amongst me. There is always a "none of the above" option you know.

    Please don't be a Sam Liebert or Yuri Raskin, two who pout and cry anytime anything gets put into action that even had 1 Republican supporting it. But yet both of them don’t know a damn thing about managing their own finances as Rashkin has filed for bankruptcy and Liebet has at least 2 small claims against him for money.

  2. Dear Anonymous:

    My goodness, I love you! I really do. I especially love your courage. I see you everywhere.

    I did look into Jack Hoag's background, although I am not finished, yet.

    Speeding tickets! Forgetting to renew his license! A member of the good ol' boys club! What a nefarious character! Is this supposed to shock me and the voters of Rock County?

    I am more shocked that one of our candidates has NO jury trial experience.

    And, during the worst economic time since the Great Depression, I am supposed to be shocked by a bankruptcy and 2 small claims?

    You are aware that these are hard times and these are not privileged young men? You do know that these are both young men who DO NOT belong to the good ol' boys club, right? I thought you would like that! You are certainly hard to please! My goodness.

    Am I supposed to be rendered speechless by the sheer audacity and brilliant logic behind the "Please don't be a...who pout and cry...even 1 Republican supporting it" statement?

    Oh, don't be silly. Very little renders me speechless. Especially efforts to sneak in slams against people not even involved in this circuit court judge discussion!

    Sam Liebert and Yuri Rashkin are both very reasonable and dedicated men who have the good of Janesville as their primary interest on the City Council. Besides, I didn't know there were Republicans on the City Council--I thought it was non-partisan.

    Now, quit pouting and crying because you don't like my opinions! Hope I didn't hurt your feelings!

    Love, Vivian

  3. Didn't you plead guilty/ no contest to "Fail/Display Vehicle License Plates" and "Operating motor vehicle w/o proof of insurance" in 2011? I suppose I see why you are so willing to defend Hogue's tickets and his blatant disregard for the law.

    I'm really surprised a woman takes such a strong stance against another woman for Judge. McCory's "trial experience" is a matter of argument. She does put into action restraining orders, initial divorce preceding, visitation rights for parents and many other issues just as Willliam Rentz does who is another Court Commissioner. In fact I believe it is entirely possible to go through a divorce case and never once set foot inside a "Judge's courtroom." Now where has Jack Hoag ever done anything like what McCory does as part of her job? Did you know in the State of Wisconsin it is not a requirement to pass the Bar Exam to practice law? If you don't believe me just ask Duffy Dillon who made this statement and who is also a supporter of Jack Hoag.

    Your belief of the City Counsel being non-partisan is beyond naive. Now Russ Steeber is an obviously liberal based individual that has the primary interest of Janesville at heart and executes it to the best of his ability. Sam and Yuri are both extreme liberals looking for higher office and the City Counsel was just a stepping stone to boast their public service while riding on the anti-Walker train. I couldn't help pointing this out since there is a "Yuri Rashkin link” on the side of this blog.

    I used to consider myself a liberal voter but then came people like Sam Liebert, Yuri Rashkin, and many more that want everything for nothing. Welfare, WIC, Food stamps, Medicare, and many other programs’ spending are way out of control. I don't even want to hear the "big business hates the average Joe" argument because my whole line of work revolves around big business giving the average person breaks, deals, and even free items. I unfortunately run into a lot of unintelligent people that do not take up these offers and then complain they are getting the short end of the stick in life. I have jokingly called it the “Lazy Liberal Syndrome.”

    I have recently re-associated myself as an independent as I can no longer associate myself as a liberal that wants everything handed out on a silver platter. I work hard at my job to be the best I can be and will put in more than my fair share to help my fellow employees and my company achieve success even when my company is obviously a conservative supporter as are almost all businesses. I have obtained more than most people ever will in their lifetime when I only graduated from high school and learned everything else in the journey through life which includes do not even bother to argue with a woman even when you and her both know she is wrong.

  4. Dear Anonymous:

    My goodness, you are a very good at distractions, arent' you?

    But, I love distractions!

    DISTRACTION #1: Traffic Violations (Really?)
    Well, let's see: I grew up in Appalachia; I have worked on a trauma & burn unit-with all the tragedy that implies; we are coming out of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. But, hey! Big news! Jack Hoag & I have had traffic violations?

    This implies a blatant disregard for the law? mmmmm? Don't think so! Now, the Wall Street Banksters--those folks have a blatant disregard for the law.

    DISTRACTION #2: People Should Support Candidates with Similar Genitalia
    My dear sir or madame, are you saying you vote for people who share the same genitalia and chromosomes as yourself? And, you therefore think I would do the same? You think I would vote for people BECAUSE they have vaginas? Well, all I can say is that I find that shocking! Simply shocking! I am sending you a copy of "Miss Manners" forthwith!

    DISTRACTION #3 Experience in One Area Compensates for a Lack of Critical Experience
    No, Ms. McCrory's "trial" experience is not up for debate or interpretation. She has no criminal court experience and has never tried a case before a jury at all. You are more than welcome to support her--but, do so on the facts.

    DISTRACTION #4 Practicing law without passing the bar--a red herring my dear Anonymous. You are obviously trying to imply that Mr. Hoag hasn't passed the bar.

    DISTRACTION #5: City Council
    Are you familiar with "sarcasm?" Of course we all know that the city council is far from non-partisan. To be specific, I was making fun of the Janesville Gazette. We are discussing the judge's race.

    DISTRACTION #6 You Use Emotional "Buzz Words" That Have Nothing to Do With the Judges Race

    "Yuri and Sam" are EXTREME LIBERALS? Scary music. Cold chills. Terror in the heart.

    Nothing to do with Jack Hoag. Or, two very nice young men who are candidates for the 44th Assembly seat, either. Unless the writer is implying Ms. McCrory is an extreme liberal?

    More scary language? Can it get worse than EXTREME LIBERAL? Yes. STEPPING STONE! Yes. Dating is a STEPPING STONE TO MARRIAGE! WORSE YET: LIFE IS A STEPPING STONE TO DEATH. Who knew?

    Nothing to do with the judges race--unless Anonymous implying that the judges race is a STEPPING STONE for Ms. McCrory? Where to? Wisconsin Supreme Court. I did not know?

    More shocking words meant to emotionally disable the reader: LAZY LIBERAL SYNDROME! And, all those crazy people who want SOMETHING FOR NOTHING. We are all supposed to be quaking in our boots. I have looked high and low for these evil looters--and, have never found one.

    But, this has nothing to do with the judges race--and, nothing to do with my Love Letter!

    Anonymous, you must learn to focus! Take your medication.

    DISTRACTION #7 Your Personal Story.
    Anonymous, while I am very happy for your accomplishments, for your very lucky conservative employers, for the fact that you are more intelligent than other people, for your superior wit and humor, for your obvious moral superiority over the less fortunate who need help in life, for the pain of arguing with a mere woman (who, of course, knows she is wrong when she argues with such a superior being as you), for your unique ability to have learned through your journey through life (because, God knows, female liberals never struggle or work for the private sector or learn from the journey through life)...

    What are you saying and what does it have to do with the judges race?

    I maintain that Jack Hoag is the most qualified candidate. I am not impressed by your distractions. I only hope my support doesn't hurt his candidacy!

    Now, honestly, Anonymous, I love you! I really, really do. Keep in touch.

    Your friend, Vivian

  5. I think it also speaks volumes of the fact that Barb McCrory has been passed over several times when judicial appointments have been open, and even one of her own bosses (Judge Welker, whom she would replace) endorsed Jack Hoag. I know where I work if there were a promotion and my boss recommended someone else that would certainly be considered a reflection of my work.

  6. It seems Mr. Hoag fell short last night, I could have told you that from the beginning but you didn't want to listen. All you had to do was read some Gazette articles and you would find plenty of people that said Hoag was a bad attorney for their case while other people had dealt with McCory and said she was fair and honest in her work. I did not vote but I'm glad to see Hoag did not get the Judge seat. Now maybe he'll be a hypocrite and put his name in the hat to fill McCory's old job as Court Commissioner which I’d like to remind everyone is not the same as a Judge.