By Gretchen Schuldt
Circuit Judge-elect Danielle Shelton's big win in Milwaukee on Tuesday gave her a big boost in her decisive victory over incumbent Andrew Jones in the race for the Branch 40 bench, Milwaukee County election records show.
Shelton's margin of victory in the city was 20 votes larger than it was countywide.
Shelton, an assistant state public defender, won the race countywide by 18,243 votes, 71,647 to 53,404. In Milwaukee, she beat Jones by 18,263 votes, 38,414 to 20,141.
Shelton won in 10 of the county's 18 suburbs. Her average suburban victory, however, was 442 votes, while her average suburban loss was 556 votes. Overall, she lost in the suburbs by 20 votes.
Shelton's largest suburban win was in Shorewood, where she won by 1,608 votes and took 70 percent of the vote, the largest vote share either candidate won in the county. Shelton won 66 percent of the vote in Milwaukee, her second biggest vote share.
Her largest loss was in Franklin, where Jones captured 61 percent of the ballots and won by 1,495 votes.
The Branch 40 race did not attract the voter participation that the Supreme Court race between Lisa Neubauer and Brian Hagedorn did. There were 25,053, or 17%, fewer total votes cast for Shelton and Jones than there were for Hagedorn and Neubauer, who also faced off Tuesday.
There were 125,051 votes for the two Branch 40 candidates and 150,104 for the Supreme Court contenders.
By Gretchen Schuldt
(Updated April 11 to reflect Lisa Neubauer's concession.)
State Supreme Court candidate Lisa Neubauer handily outpolled opponent Brian Hagedorn in Milwaukee County, taking 62 percent of the votes in their contest for the State Supreme Court, according to county figures.
That margin of victory did not reflect the statewide outcome. Hagedorn led early Wednesday afternoon in a tight race that may end with a recount. (Neubauer conceded to Hagedorn on April 10.)
The voter turnout was fairly low in Milwaukee County - 29 percent - which likely hurt Neubauer's statewide chances. Big turnouts in the county generally help more liberal candidates, and Neubauer is considered to the left of the very conservative Hagedorn.
The Milwaukee County turnout was 30 percent last year when Rebecca Dallet was elected to the State Supreme Court.
The city of Milwaukee's turnout was an abysmal 22 percent, according to county Election Commission figures.
Fewer than 10 percent of voters turned out in 50 of the city's 327 wards, the figures show. The lowest turnout – three percent – was in Milwaukee's Ward 192, just north of Marquette University. (There also was one ward where none of the five registered voters cast a ballot, but that ward is excluded from consideration here because of its tiny size.)
The highest turnout in Milwaukee was 50 percent in Ward 300, just north of St. Francis on the city's South side.
Only in Shorewood did more than half – 53 percent – of all voters turn out. Shorewood went in a big way for Neubauer, who won a whopping 83 percent of the votes. That is by far her biggest win in the county. In Milwaukee, she was backed by 73 percent of voters, her second-biggest victory.
It was not a Milwaukee County sweep for Neubauer, however. She lost in Franklin, where she received only 39 percent of the vote. She also lost in Greendale (45 percent), Greenfield (44 percent), Hales Corners and Oak Creek (41 percent each), South Milwaukee (48 percent), and West Allis (47 percent).
By Gretchen Schuldt
A judge erred when he said that sperm DNA evidence helpful to the defendant in a sexual assault case was inadmissible under the state's rape shield law, the State Court of Appeals has ruled.
The shield law disallows evidence of a sexual assault victim's sexual history because of its prejudicial effect.
"In general, 'all relevant evidence is admissible,'” the panel said, quoting state law. The case now heads back to Sauk County Circuit Court.
The unsigned decision by the District IV Court of Appeals panel reversed a ruling by Circuit Judge Todd J. Hepler, who barred sperm DNA evidence that excluded defendant Juan L. Walker as the source of sperm found on the victim's bed sheet.
Hepler said the sperm was evidence of "prior sexual conduct" of the victim, Katherine, or someone else, and thus was inadmissible under the rape shield law.
Defendant Walker also was excluded as the source of other, non-sperm DNA evidence, but Hepler also ruled that evidence inadmissible.
Hepler said the absence of Walker's DNA on the sheet "does not necessarily equate to the absence of Mr Walker at the scene. Simply because there is no DNA there on that particular bed sheet does not necessarily mean that Mr. Walker was not there. The presence of another's DNA doesn't equate to the absence of another's DNA either."
The victim, identified only as Katherine, had been drinking before the assault, according to the appeal panel. Two friends helped her after she vomited outside a Lake Delton restaurant. Walker, whom none of the three had met before, stopped, offered to help, and eventually gave them a ride to Katherine's home, according to the appeals panel, which included Appeals Judges Paul Lundsten, Brian Blanchard, and Michael R. Fitzpatrick.
Election Day is April 2! Please vote!
Danielle Shelton and Andrew Jones are competing for the Branch 40 judicial seat vacated by Rebecca Dallet when she was elected to the State Supreme Court in April 2018. Jones has held the seat since August, when he was appointed by former Gov. Scott Walker.
This is the only contested Milwaukee County judicial race this spring. Jones and Shelton agreed to answer a series of questions from WJI to better inform voters about the race.
This is the last entry in our series of questions we posed to the two candidates.
Question 9: Do you support requiring any justice to recuse him/herself from cases involving donors and indirect supporters who contribute money or other resources to the judge’s election? If not, why not. If so, why?
Question 10: What are the greatest obstacles judges face when trying to deliver true justice? What can or should be done about them?
Question 11: Describe any other information you feel would be helpful to your application.
Help WJI advocate for justice in Wisconsin