"Walker's judges" is our effort to present information about Gov. Scott Walker's appointees to the bench. The information is taken from the appointees' own judgeship applications.
James R. Troupis, on his Circuit Court application, indicated that he had been "held in contempt or otherwise formally reprimanded or sanctioned by a tribunal," but did not explain his answer, though the application required him to do so.
That didn't bother Walker, who appointed Troupis to the bench in May 2015. Less than five months later, Troupis, angling for a quick promotion, submitted an application seeking to succeed Supreme Court Justice N. Patrick Crooks, who died in September, 2015. In that application, Troupis explained his discipline this way:
During the 1990's I was asked by District Court Judge Barbara Crabb to undertake the representation of a juvenile inmate at Lincoln Hills Correctional Center. That juvenile had been held in solitary confinement for 21 days, restrained the entire time with waste (sic) chains, leg irons and handcuffs, forced to eat while sitting on the floor from a tray slipped-in (sic) thru a door slit, allowed 1 hour per day for exercise and otherwise confined to an 8' x 10' cell. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker, then an associate with my firm, and I investigated and then brought a substantial civil rights action against the State of Wisconsin and others on behalf of that juvenile. ... As we approached trial, it was apparent to me that our initial pleadings needed to be amended. The date for amendment had passed, but I none-the-less (sic) filed a request to amend. As I best recall it, the State opposed the Motion to Amend, and demanded I withdraw the Motion. I refused to withdraw the Motion. The Court denied my Motion to Amend. The State was not satisfied with the denial alone - they demanded that we be sanctioned for bringing a frivolous Motion. Judge Crabb held that the Motion had no chance of success and so she "sanctioned" us. The sanction was that we were admonished by the Court not to do it again.
The answer also seems to show that things don't really change at the Lincoln Hills juvenile prison.
Troupis, by the way, did not get the Supreme Court seat, and he quit his Circuit Court gig less than a year after he got it, having stirred up some controversy in the meantime.
Name: James R. Troupis
Appointed to: Dane County Circuit Court
Appointment date: May 22, 2015 (resigned May 2, 2016)
Law School – Northwestern University
Undergrad – Northwestern University (earlier attended Bradley University)
High School – Mendota Twp
2010 - present – Principal, Troupis Law Office, Middleton/Cross Plains, WI
1987 - 2010 – Partner, Michael Best & Friedrich, Madison, WI
1979 - 1987 – Partner, Troupis & Troupis, Mendota, IL
American Bar Association; State Bar of Wisconsin
State Bar of Illinois; Federal Circuit Bar Association
Seventh Circuit Bar Association
Western District of Wisconsin Bar Association
Dane County Bar Association
Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois
National Health Lawyers Association
Association of Trial Lawyers of America
American Intellectual Property Law Association.
Legal experience as an advocate in criminal litigation, civil litigation, administrative proceedings: Began as judicial law clerk for Justice Howard C. Ryan of the Illinois Supreme Court. Worked with father in a small-town general practice; represented criminal defendants, civil litigants and practiced general civil and probate law that included real estate, contract, corporate and tax matters. At Michael Best & Friedrich, worked to create the firm's litigation group, chaired the litigation and worked to expand firm from 12 to nearly 70 lawyers. Practice there generally focused on complex litigation on behalf of individuals and mid-size corporations leading to trials and appeals at all court levels and throughout the country. Pro bono activities included representing criminal defendants in state and federal court.
Number of cases tried to verdict or judgment: Jury, numerous; non-jury, numerous; administrative bodies, numerous; arbitration, 2.
Cases on appeal: A recent search of all of the cases on which I appeared for which there is a published opinion showed approximately 100 published rulings.
List and describe the two most significant cases in which you were involved:
Hoffinan-La Roche, Inc. v. Promega Corp., 323 F. 3d 1354 (Fed. Cir. 2003); 243 F.3d 564 (Fed. Cir. 2000); 1999 WL 1797330 (N.D. Cal. 1999); 33 U.S.P.Q. 2d 1641 (N.D. Calif. 1994); 319 F. Supp. 2d lOll (N.D. Cal. 2004) (Related case United State ex rei. Promega Corp. v. Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc., No. 03cv1447 (E.D. Va)). This matter was brought initially against Promega for violation of a licensing agreement to TaqDNA Polymerase, an essential component in virtually all DNA replication. Over time, the case spawned trials on three continents (Europe, Australia and North America) in which I participated and there were no fewer than eight pending cases worldwide when the matter was ultimately concluded. At stake were the multi-billion dollar international rights to the polymerase chain reaction, a technique for replicating DNA used in forensics, genetics, diagnostic medicine and a host of research applications. … Ultimately, we were successful in demonstrating that fraud had been committed on the United States Patent Office in obtaining the critical patents. Qui Tam and class action lawsuits followed the holding. I represented Promega Corporation as lead litigation counsel worldwide, and after winning verdicts in the United States and overturning the European Patents, the matter was settled, with government approval, in a complex series of agreements. The disputes continued for Promega from 1992 to 2006, with the primary case before Judge Vaughn Walker in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Virtually every major scientific publication in the world covered the matter, as did the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and others. Following the verdict, the matter was named by a major scientific publication as one of the five most important legal decisions in the world of science as it enabled the broad use of foundational technology that has revolutioned (sic) biotechnology. …
State v. Bobby G., 2007 Wl 77, 734 N.W. 2d 81. This important case came to me by request of the Wisconsin Supreme Court following a handwritten petition from Bobby G. to that Court expressing concerns about his parental rights. The case, brought in 2006 and concluded in 2007, focused on the rights of a natural father to his child when the natural father has no knowledge of his child's existence until after his parental rights have been terminated. The differences between how one might view the rights of natural parents to their children (which are nearly absolute) as opposed to the rights of that same parent once the parental rights have been terminated (the best interests of the child then control) made the issues posed critical to all concerned. When, as in this instance, the father was in prison or otherwise did not know of the child, it would seem fundamentally unfair to terminate that father's rights for his lack of "participation" in the child's life; yet that is what had occurred prior to the Wisconsin Supreme Court proceedings. Both the circuit and appellate court had ruled that Bobby G.'s failure to participate in his son's life immediately after birth constituted irrevocable grounds to terminate his parental rights without regard to his even knowing he had a son. Arrayed against the natural father, Bobby G., were a host of amicus, as well as state agencies charged with supervising adoptions. The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a very hotly contested 4-3 decision, ruled in favor of the natural father and the matter was remanded for further proceedings to address his future participation in his child's life. As the many amicus recognized, this pro bono matter had far reaching implications in adoption, father's rights and ultimately constitutional rights of parents nationwide.
Please list all instances in which you ran for elective office. For each instance, list the date of the election (include both primary and general election), the office that you sought, and the outcome of the election. Include your percentage of the vote.
Mayor, City of Mendota 1985-1987 (Contested General, non-partisan. 51% appx total)
Involvement in judicial, non-partisan or partisan political campaigns:
Yes. I have generally acted as counsel to various candidates, campaign committees and individuals or groups supporting those candidates. I have also acted as counsel to the Republican Party of Wisconsin and various Presidential Campaigns, primarily as lead litigation counsel. In addition, I have been extensively involved in voter integrity programs, legislative and judicial recounts and served by appointment as a Public Member on the Special Joint Legislative Committee on Election Law Review (2004-05)
Please list all judicial or non-partisan candidates that you have publically endorsed in the last six years: Candidates endorsed in the last six years: I do not know if I publicly endorsed any particular candidate. I have publicly supported Justice David Prosser, Justice Michael Gableman, Justice Patience Roggensack, Justice Patrick Crooks and Justice Annette Ziegler, among others.
I have publicly supported Justice David Prosser, Justice Michael Gableman, Justice Patience Roggensack, Justice Patrick Crooks and Justice Annette Ziegler, among others. – Dane County Circuit Judge James R. Troupis
Professional or civic organizations, volunteer activities, service in a church or synagogue, or any other activities or hobbies that could be relevant or helpful to consideration of the application:
Legal Action of Wisconsin, Board of Directors (Providing Access to Justice for Low Income
Individuals and the Elderly) (2014-Present)
Agrace Hospice, Ethics Committee (Non-profit Hospice Care, Dane County and Southern
Office of Lawyer Regulation, Wisconsin Supreme Court, District 9 Committee) (2011-Present)
The MacIver Institute for Public Policy Board of Directors (Founding Board Member) (2009-
Board of Governors, State Bar of Wisconsin (2007-2009)
Wisconsin Higher Education Business Roundtable Board of Directors (2006- 20 I0)
Chairman, Judicial Selection Committee, Dane County Bar Association (2005)
Public Member, Special Joint Legislative Committee on Election Law Review (2004-05)
Chairman, Governor's Advisory Council for Judicial Selection (2001-02)
Board of Governors, President (2004-05), Vice President (2003-04) and Executive Committee
Western District Bar Association
Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, United States Federal District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
Committee Chairman and Board of Directors, Dane County Bar Association
Board of Editors, Matthew Bender Health Law Monthly
Advisor, Vice President, Executive Committee and Board of Directors, Madison Symphony
Vice President and Board of Directors, Black Earth Creek Watershed Association
Firm Representative and Adjunct Admissions Interviewer, Northwestern University Law School
St. Thomas Aquinas Worship Commission and Fundraising Chairman
Secretary, Executive Committee and Board of Directors, Madison Literary Club
Mayor, City of Mendota
Board of Directors, Illinois Development Finance Authority
President and Board of Directors, Mendota Area Chamber of Committee
Chairman, National Sweet Com Festival
Board of Directors and Officer, Mendota Area Senior Services
Secretary and Board of Directors, Mendota Lions Club
Supreme Court Historical Society
15th Congressional District Advisory Committee
Secretary, LaSalle County Bar Association
Advisory Board and Pro Bono Panel, Prairie State Legal Services
Describe any pro bono legal work in the last five years:
Why I want to be a judge – After practicing law for more than 35 years, it would be an honor to serve as a judge. It is an opportunity to apply the knowledge I have gained in a way that, I hope, would advance the rule-of-law (sic) and enhance and renew public faith in the judiciary.
For my entire career I emphasized to those I worked with, including every newly hired associate, that God has given us each a great gift and we are obligated to give back. (Hopefully, the matters I have handled and the various positions I have held reflect that commitment. ) Becoming a judge would again meet that obligation. It is the essence of public service both for my fellow attorneys and the public. ...
It has been a lifelong hope for me and my family that I would one-day (sic) be able to use a life-time of experiences to help others. This is that opportunity, and I will do my very best to insure that every party appearing before me is given a full and fair hearing and that I decide matters on the law.
It is not the judges (sic) role to devine (sic) the purpose behind a law, but rather to enforce the law as written. – Troupis
Best Wisconsin or U.S. Supreme Court decision in the last 30 years – Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)
Three factors make Citizens United one of the best U.S. Supreme Court cases in recent
years--reaffirmation of first principles, powerful historical precedent and judicial independence.
First, the Court, in holding that independent expenditures by nonprofit corporations
may not be restricted, reaffirmed free speech as a key component in our constitutional system.
As the Court noted, "Speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, for it is the means to hold
officials accountable to the people....Premised on mistrust of governmental power, the First
Amendment stands against attempts to disfavor certain subjects or viewpoints....Prohibited,
too, [by the First Amendment] are restrictions distinguishing among different speakers,
allowing speech by some but not others." … Such reaffirmation of first principles, i.e. those principles on which the country relies for its very existence, is a key component of our Constitutional system, and there are very few opportunities for the Court to address those issues as directly as in Citizens United. That the opinion did, in fact, strongly endorse a vibrant First Amendment's makes the holding one of the most important matters to come before the Court in recent years.
Second, it is critical that Courts not write the law, but instead, appropriately interpret
laws enacted by the Legislative branch consistent with Constitutional guarantees and past
precedent. As a reaffirmation of First Amendment protections, Citizens United reinforced the
Constitutional guarantees. But, even as it overturned recent precedent, the Court
acknowledged the proper role of stare decisis in citing a long-line of cases protecting free
speech and a line of precedent nearly as long providing free speech rights to corporate entities.
That component of the case, reliance on historical precedent while simultaneously overturning
ill-conceived holdings, is often overlooked. Here, in citing and relying on seminal precedent, the
Court's opinion is likely to form a basis for other Courts to continue to expand First Amendment
Finally, it is important from time-to-time that the Court's actions be perceived as contrary to public opinion. Ironically, by acting against public opinion, the Court's reputation and role as an independent arbiter of disputes is enhanced. The comments of the President in the State-of-the-Union address following Citizens United reflect, in graphic terms, how important the case was for the public's perception of the Court. The Court was not cowed by a powerful partisan Executive or swayed by public opinion. It is by just such acts, courage in the face of public opinion, that the Court renews the public's faith in the Court's critical role as an independent branch of the Government charged with enforcing the laws in accordance with the Constitution.
Taken together, I believe Citizens United represents the best of what the U.S. Supreme
Court has done in recent decades.
Worst Wisconsin or U.S. Supreme Court decision in the last 30 years – Thomas v. Mallett (2005 WI)
The Lead Paint case stands-out as a one of the worst decisions in recent memory. That decision was clearly "results oriented" as opposed to "precedent-based" and the Court majority fundamentally misunderstood its proper role by attempting to enact a legislative solution by judicial fiat. The Court's holding, that liability may be assessed on the basis of "risk contribution," eliminated individual causation and thus disregarded a critical bedrock of tort law. …
The Wisconsin Supreme Court's holding that all lead pigment manufacturers were liable based on their mere participation in the marketplace was, in effect, creation of a tax, retroactively, on those companies to solve a perceived problem. It was a legislative solution, not a judicial decision. As dissenting Justice Wilcox summarized at the time, "[m]anufacturers can be held liable for a product they may or may not have produced, which may or may not have caused the plaintiff's injuries, based on conduct that may have occurred 100 years ago when some of the defendants were not even part of the relevant market." …
The decision was unquestionably results oriented. That is, the great sympathy one has for those injured by lead paint controlled the outcome. This was, as trial lawyers often say, an injury in search of a legal claim. (In point of fact, the plaintiffs had already successfully sought and obtained financial settlements with the apartment owners.) One of the most difficult tasks a judge faces is to learn not to use the power he/she may have. The temptation is enormous to 'do something', but that is not the proper role of the Courts. The Lead Paint case stands as one of the best examples of what not to do. Indeed, failing to properly apply the law in order to achieve a predetermined result is ultimately a fools-errand (sic) that results in loss of faith in the rule-of-law (sic) and as such undoes the real benefits a Court can bring to dispute resolution.
Judicial philosophy – There are a number of guiding principles applicable to a greater or lesser degree based on the matter and the Court's jurisdictional mandate. A Circuit Court judge, for example, must enforce the law, without regard to the status or stature of the party. Each party must be given a full and fair hearing and the Court's ruling must be impartial.
More generally, all judges are given enormous power as a consequence of our constitutional structure. That power depends, however, on each judge properly understanding the role of the judiciary. A judge applies the law, a judge does not make the laws. Consistent with that view, the judiciary must interpret the laws, when necessary, consistent with the founding principles expressed in the words of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights and the Wisconsin Constitution. Put differently, the role of the Court can not be to make the laws, and a Judge must be careful to avoid such tendencies.
It is not the judges (sic) role to devine (sic) the purpose behind a law, but rather to enforce the law as written.
Gretchen Schuldt is executive director of the Wisconsin Justice Initiative.
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