Federalism and the State Court Structure of Wisconsin

The United States of America has a federalist government system. Such a system divides power between the federal government and state governments though there is some intentional overlap. The federalist system has several characteristics. One is that the powers of the national government are limited and those of state governments are increased. Another characteristic of the federalist system is that allows for regional variety; because it allows states to modify their governments and societies to their preferences, a lot of variety occurs. Another one of the ramifications of the federalist system is that each state has its own court system. The state of Wisconsin is no exception.

The Wisconsin state court structure consists of four layers. The first, bottommost layer of Wisconsin’s court system consists of municipal courts. There are a total of 252 municipal courts and 254 municipal court judges. Municipal courts focus on the most minor of violation. These include, for example, traffic violations, ordinance mattes, drunk driving citations, drug offenses, and curfew violations.

The next level of the Wisconsin state court system consists of circuit courts. There a total of 74 circuit courts in Wisconsin, run by a total of circuit court judges. Circuit courts have original jurisdiction in all of the civil and criminal cases in states, including those of the municipal courts.

The third level of the Wisconsin state court system consists of the courts of appeals. There are a total of four courts of appeals in Wisconsin, and they listen to about 1,200 cases every year. There are only 16 judges in all of the courts of appeals. The courts of appeals for the most part deal with cases of mandatory jurisdiction, meaning that they listen to appeals that come from circuit courts and that they are required to listen to by law.

The final, topmost layer of the Wisconsin state court system is the Supreme Court. The Wisconsin Supreme Court is the court of last resort, meaning that it only hears certain cases. Every year, it typically listens to about 100 to 120 cases. There a total of seven Supreme Court justices, who are elected by the residents of Wisconsin to ten-year terms.

It is important to fully understand the ins and outs of Wisconsin state court system to fully utilize to your advantage. For example, people interested in filing a personal injury claim should know that they will have to file with a circuit court. For more information about personal injury suits and the Wisconsin state court system, contact the Waukesha personal injury lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier, S.C. by calling 800-242-2874.