Court Watch

Wales v. Yang, Closing Arguments

They’re getting nasty, dueling over alleged dirty campaigning.

By , Wisconsin Justice Initiative - Mar 29th, 2017 11:24 am

Scott Wales and Kashoua “Kristy” Yang are competing for the Branch 47 judicial seat now held by Milwaukee County Circuit Judge John Siefert, who is not seeking re-election. This is the only contested Milwaukee County judicial race this year. Wales and Yang agreed to answer a series of questions from WJI to better inform voters about issues in the race. This is the final question in the series.

This week’s question: Why are you the best choice for the job?

Editor’s note: Scott Wales’ response to Kashoua “Kristy” Yang is at the bottom of his answer.

Kashoua Yang. Photo from Yang for Judge.

Kashoua Yang. Photo from Yang for Judge.

Kashoua “Kristy” Yang:

Making decisions that could have grave consequences is part of a judge’s job. We want people on the bench who are equipped to ponderously, morally and intellectually make a fair judgment. The responsibility should not be taken lightly. We must elect judges who will instill trust and confidence in the judicial system.

I have demonstrated my aptitude to rise to the demands of serving on the Milwaukee Circuit Court. I possess the qualities required to thoughtfully make judgements and instill that trust and confidence.

Sadly, my opponent has not. He has run a campaign whose hallmark has been specious negative allegations and, more recently, demonstrated a shocking lack of judgement. That was the theft of my domain name by the Wales campaign in August 2016. His campaign registered “Yang for Judge.Com” and then in the last weeks of this campaign revealed a page using that domain name to fallaciously disparage me and my campaign for Branch 47.

It’s a question of not only of lack of judgment but a question of character. His campaign promises “No politics, only good judgment,” yet he has run a campaign of trickery and political deceit. His purchase and use of “Yang for Judge.Com” is not just politics as usual because he did not simply purchase the domain to take it out of the marketplace, rather his ill intent was demonstrated by his use of it. His conduct does very little to instill any amount of trust and confidence in his ability to be a judge who will be fair, impartial, and will decide cases on the merits.

In practice, I have distinguished myself. I have been recognized not only by my clients but by my colleagues and judges for my hard work, and importantly, the quality of my work.  For 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, I have been nominated and selected as a Super Lawyer Rising Star.  In 2015, I was listed as a Leading Lawyer in the Milwaukee Magazine.  I am a family law mediator and have experience being in the role of a neutral third party. Currently, about less than 10% of cases go to trial; my skills as a mediator will serve me well as a circuit court judge. Additionally, I have been recognized by the Milwaukee Bar Association and the Association of Women Lawyers for my pro bono work. After all, it is not the number of years or the quantity but the quality of what we as community members contribute to improving our community. As such, I am not running because I want to retire to the bench; rather, it is because I know I will add value and bring fairness to our circuit courts.

Kristy Yang is the owner of Kashoua Yang, LLC, a law firm that concentrates on family law, family mediation, worker’s compensation, and social security disability. Yang was  selected as  a Super Lawyer Rising Star for the years 2013-2016.

Scott Wales.

Scott Wales.

Scott Wales:

As a lawyer for almost 30 years and currently a Municipal Judge for the past 8 years, I have a profound and impactful understanding of the Wisconsin Court System and the many ramifications it has on each party, witness, attorney, and judge in criminal and civil matters. Over the past three decades, I have represented several thousand clients, and as a judge since 2009, I have presided over several thousand cases. Throughout both responsibilities, I have learned and continue to absorb the real impact of what due process of the law, equal protection, and respect for the Constitution actually mean. This depth of experience is substantial, qualitative, practiced, and tested.

For example, as a Municipal Judge I always treat every person with respect and never make a predetermined decision about a party’s case outcome until all of the facts are presented. Respectfully, this measured approach has never resulted in anyone filing a complaint to the Judicial Commission. Likewise, as an attorney I truly work “eight days a week” representing mostly low-income clients (i.e. who are primarily people of color) which includes litigating their cases before juries in trials throughout numerous counties in Wisconsin, Illinois, and in Federal Court. In so doing, I am also honored to have received consecutive pro bono award honors in 2011 and 2012, from the Judiciary of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, for service to the court in the representation of the indigent.

To that end, it is gratifying and humbling that more than 80% of the judiciary who have endorsed for Branch 47 has publicly pledged their support. Likewise, as a defense attorney it is especially profound and remarkable that 100% of the prosecutors and law enforcement agencies who have endorsed for the responsibility of Branch 47 have unequivocally endorsed my effort to earn the responsibility of Branch 47 (i.e. these are the same folks I have challenged for the past 30 years).

In closing, I am asking the residents of Milwaukee County to vote for Judge Scott Wales as the next Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge for Branch 47, based on my three decades of established and respected court room experience which is supported by the recognition of my peers. This request is further reinforced by the profound belief that Justice is achievable in every case especially when there is adherence to the requirements of due process and equality for all under the Constitution.

Response to Yang: Julia Lazarski, an honor student at UW-Madison, is not a worthless “pissant” as the Yang Campaign has stated. I stand by Julia’s 100% factually truthful statements. Further, the Yang Campaign never owned or obtained a license for Last August, after my opponent spoke of digging up “dirt” we pursued a simple purchase of website names to insulate from the anticipated political sideshow.

Scott Wales has almost 30 years of experience and specializes in criminal law.  He also is Fox Point Municipal judge, a post he has held for more than eight years.

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.”

Categories: Court Watch, Politics

14 thoughts on “Court Watch: Wales v. Yang, Closing Arguments”

  1. arelda says:

    How about actual VIEWPOINTS on issues of law vs personal attacks on each other. And I want to know more than just ‘who your clients are’ and ‘how often you work’. ISSUES, please… smh

  2. Ted Chisholm says:

    The only question really at play here is experience. Scott Wales is the only candidate who has conducted a trial practice, and he is overwhelmingly considered qualified by the local bar association. Whether in criminal or juvenile court, the two locations new judges are assigned to, judges need day-to-day courtroom skills to be effective.

  3. Vincent Hanna says:

    Unfortunate that it got so nasty. Why did he buy that web domain? That seems intentionally nasty.

  4. Kristine says:

    More importantly, why has he used that web domain as an attack vehicle?

  5. GPKWH says:

    So “low income people” are “primarily people of color.” What a racist attitude to take for one sitting in judgement. If you re a person of color Mr. Wales has already judged you.

  6. Matt says:

    Sounds like Yang hired a slightly inebriated campaign manager and he lost his shit over some trivial thing and responded like a jackass. He perhaps could have purchased the domain name for his client but instead tried to intimidate a college kid. Who misses Todd Robert Murphy?

    Anyone who knows anything knows that “Super Lawyer” is a title one purchases, not one that is earned. But if there is little to brag about, that seems like the thing to do.

  7. SingleMom says:

    Yang has no business becoming a judge. She is very unorganized (represented my ex) and is willing to lie to the court. Yes, we called attention to her behavior. Downside, her endorsements were also our commissioners. Fortunately, we were moved to someone who has not endorsed her and the tide turned. Stay away from Yang!

  8. Jason says:

    Mark Belling announced support for Wales, simply on the fact that Yang had stated she will lock up less black men than your typical white male judge. So, I voted for Yang. It seems that vast majority of black voters want to see less incarceration of black men. This scenario leads only to more black victims of crime( 90 percent of black crime is black on black). Yang will be knee deep in this issue.

  9. Ted Chisholm says:

    I would never in a million years support Scott Wales if he were a racist or a right-winger. He is neither. His remarks do not equate “low income” people with “people of color.” Instead, he makes a statement of fact: many of the lower-income clients for whom he advocates “eight days a week” are people of color. If you have ever seen Scott in court, you know that he cares deeply about every one of his clients, regardless of race.

  10. Vincent Hanna says:

    I saw a yard sign in Glendale yesterday that says “Keep the Blacks Locked Up.” Not sure if Jason or Mark Belling lives there. Make America Racist Again Jason!

  11. Jason says:

    Ted no one said Wales is a racist or a right winger. As I was saying Mark Belling who lives in a district represented by Gwen Moore and Gwen Moore’s son stated support for Wales because based on Yang’s comments about being soft on crime. Belling sited a Madison interview with Yang, where she stated to many white judges in Milwaukee’s past have locked up to many black men. My point is this. Milwaukee had a high crime problem in the early 1990’s and many African Americans asked for tougher crime laws not recognizing its affect on their social fabric in Milwaukee. I voted for Yang risking a potential loss of an economic juggernaut in downtown Milwaukee(sited by Belling). What happens if investments stop, do to another city workers death (soft on crime) or Murders, rapes, and assaults go up. .

  12. Bman says:

    In Milwaukee we reap what we sow. When you are victimized by a lifetime criminal who has repeatedly committed crimes and gotten light sentences remember that these were the two choices. They are one in the same.

  13. Doc says:

    Everything I have ever seen young high schooler Teddy Chisholm post on any site is ill informed dreck. Exactly what I’d expect from the teenager he is. Once he grows up, maybe he’ll wise up. He has a long way to go.

  14. Ashley says:

    Yang said nothing about Julia in her interview. She stood up for herself against tactics people use in politics! Wales seems like someone whose been in this corrupt system too long. Glad that Yang won!!

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