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Vote for Change on Branch 1 of Milwaukee Municipal Court

Feb. 14, 2017
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This election, we are asking Shepherd readers to vote for change in the Milwaukee Municipal Court. Four candidates are vying for Branch 1, and we are supporting the three challengers to the incumbent, Judge Valarie Hill. The four-way primary will be held on Tuesday, Feb 21; the two candidates who win the most primary votes will appear on the April 4 general election ballot.

The Shepherd has enthusiastically endorsed Hill in her past elections. However, we have heard and observed too many complaints from those who feel that Hill doesn’t give everyone in her courtroom a fair shot and doesn’t treat everyone with the respect and courtesy they deserve. Since many individuals in Municipal Court are not represented by an attorney and must defend themselves, this is troubling. We feel that Hill’s demeanor must have changed through the years, so we are declining to endorse her in her bid for re-election this spring.

Fortunately, Hill’s three challengers are qualified candidates and deserve your support. Each has unique life and career experiences that they would bring to the bench. William Crowley is an attorney for Disability Rights Wisconsin, where he advocates for those using the state’s long-term care programs, Family Care and IRIS. Kail Decker is a City of Milwaukee assistant city attorney, where he focuses on the city’s disadvantaged neighborhoods. Brian Michel is a staff attorney for Legal Aid Society who previously worked for the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office and took public defender appointments and tenants’ rights cases while in private practice.

At this point, we can’t throw our support to just one candidate to replace Hill, but we’re asking our readers to make their own decision. We’ve provided all of the candidates’ responses to our questionnaire here, so you can gather more information. It’s time for change in Milwaukee Municipal Court and we believe that William Crowley, Kail Decker and Brian Michel would provide a breath of fresh air in Branch 1.


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