Chief justice: Increasing private bar rate, review of 'evidence-based' decision making among priorities.

Byline: Erika Strebel,

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack recently announced that the high court's priorities this term will include not only working with the Legislature on increasing the private bar rate and increasing the ranks of state prosecutors, but also reviewing the work of the state's court system.

Deliveringher State of the Judiciary Address on Oct. 31 at the Annual Wisconsin Judicial Conference at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, Roggensack said she and her colleagues had hired Michael Thompson to be the director of research and justice statistics for the state court system.

"Dr. Thompson will engage in many projects designed to assess whether Wisconsin courts are doing the best we can for those who come before our courts," she said, according to a transcript of her speech. "One broad area he will consider, in many different contexts, is whether our 'best practices' accomplish what we all hoped when 'evidence based decision making' was implemented as the best practice."

She noted that a statistical review of the court system's work has been a priority of hers for a long time. She cited research she conducted with a University of Wisconsin-Madison statistician involving black criminal defendants, work whose results were published in Marquette Lawyer in 2016.

Roggensack also said that the court would be working with State Public Defender Kelli Thompson and the state Legislature to increase compensation for private bar attorneys who take appointments from Thompson's office.

"Increasing those rates is necessary to ensure...

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