Gretchen Schuldt
Court Watch

Judge Valarie Hill Faces Challenger

Legal Aid Society attorney Brian Michel will run for Municipal Court, arguing it needs reforms.

By , Wisconsin Justice Initiative - Nov 29th, 2016 03:02 pm
City of Milwaukee Municipal Court.

City of Milwaukee Municipal Court.

Brian Michel, a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society in Milwaukee, will challenge Municipal Court Judge Valarie Hill in the April election, Michel said Monday.

Brian Michel

Brian Michel

Michel has been with Legal Aid, a public interest law firm that provides legal assistance to low-income Milwaukee County residents with civil legal issues, for three years.

Michel specializes in landlord / tenant and Municipal Court matters. “Between providing vigorous defense in eviction cases, zealous representation in municipal courts, and advocacy services during a tulmultuous time of change for Milwaukee County’s Behavioral Health Division, my days involve outreach clinics to new clients, appearing in Milwaukee County courts, and representing LAS at various groups focused on mental health reform in the community” he said on his LinkedIn page. Michel received his law degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Valarie Hill

Valarie Hill

Hill has been a Municipal Court judge since 2004. She received her law degree from the University of Akron School of Law.

Michel said in a Facebook post that Hill “has consistently resisted efforts to make the necessary and progressive changes to the Municipal Court which would both protect the rights of all individuals appearing in court and efficiently use resources to maximize positive outcomes. Indigent defendants often are not informed of their rights to perform community service in lieu of paying fines. Patients suffering from mental illness are punished when the manifestation of their illness results in citations.”

The general election is April 4. The primary, if one is needed, will be Feb. 21.

Municipal Court judges serve 4-year-terms. Hill is paid $133,289 per year.

Gretchen Schuldt writes a blog for Wisconsin Justice Initiative, whose mission is “To improve the quality of justice in Wisconsin by educating the public about legal issues and encouraging civic engagement in and debate about the judicial system and its operation.”

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