JUNEAU - The race for Dodge County Circuit Court Judge for Branch III will be on the ballot for the election on April 2.
Joseph Fischer and Joseph G. Sciascia are candidates for the seat currently held by Andrew Bissonnette, who will retire.
They have both said that they believe the election will come down to experience.
“I believe that I am the most qualified candidate for this position. I have handled nearly all areas of law and done a substantial amount of it. I am the most capable of taking the bench and immediately making decisions on all types of cases as opposed to just family law,” Fischer said. “Additionally, I have substantial litigation experience. I cannot imagine that there is a lawyer in Dodge County, including Mr. Sciascia, who has been in court more than I have been over the last 17 years.”
Sciascia said that he is the only candidate with judicial experience and that he has substantial experience as a prosecutor and defender.
“There is no substitute for experience and I have 28-and-a-half years of judicial experience in the most contentious cases a judge will ever have to hear,” Sciascia said.
See VYING/Page 2
Fischer has practiced law in Watertown for 17 years. He and his wife Rebecca have four children. He said that as a family, they spend much of their time attending various sporting events, because all of the children are involved in a number of different sports.
Fischer is the owner of Fischer Law Office and has significant litigation experience in all areas of the law. He said he has handled thousands of cases, including homicides and a federal insider trading case in New York City.
He coaches youth sports, is the former baseball coach at Watertown High School and of the Watertown Cardinals Rock River League team, is actively involved in the church and his children’s school. He and his family support local Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Watertown Humane Society, PAVE, Watertown Parent Music Club, contributors to Compassion International – a Christian organization that provides care to children in other countries, die hard Packers, Brewers and Bucks fans and supporters of Wisconsin Little Ten and Watertown Gosling athletics.
He said he is running for judge because he has helped the people of Dodge County for 17 years by handling their most serious and complex legal issues. He said he has taken great pride and pleasure in having clients come back years later to thank him for what he did for them. As judge, he can have this type of impact on people every day.
He said he has practiced law in four different states and in nearly 30 counties in Wisconsin in front of more than 75 judges, giving him opportunities that few lawyers limited to one or two counties have. He said he has experienced the judicial styles and ideas of some of the best judges in the state and country.
He said that when Bissonnette announced his retirement, many people asked if he would run for the position, knowing that he possessed the legal knowledge and demeanor to be an effective judge. While he has been practicing law for many years, he said he is still a relatively young man who, if elected, could easily devote 20 years or more to the position.
“I love Watertown. I love living in Dodge County. I have loved raising a family in Dodge County. I have met so many great families just like mine. By electing me, Branch 3 will take great pride in serving and protecting the people and the families of Dodge County for the next 20 plus years just like Judge Bissonnette has for the last 24 years,” Fischer said.
Sciascia has practiced law for more than 34 years. He and his wife Laura have two children. Sciascia is a past president of Juneau Community Development Authority, past president of Parish Council at Immaculate Conception/St. Malachy Catholic Church (now Sacred Heart Parish) in Juneau and Horicon, former mock trial coach at Dodgeland High School, a certified gun safety instructor for the past 29 years, a member of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Juneau August Fest Committee, a volunteer at Dodgeland High School career days, a past president of the Dodge County Bar Association, a past winner of the Key Person award from the Beaver Dam Hockey Association, a former youth hockey coach at the Beaver Dam Hockey Association, a member of the Juneau Rod and Gun Club, Inc., a member of the Columbus Sportsmen’s Association, Inc., a longtime member of the NRA and a member of the American Single Shot Rifle Association.
He said his top three priorities as a judge would be to keep repeat offenders off the streets, protect the interests of children and enforce the orders of the court.
In addition to his 34 years handling a wide range of civil and criminal cases as an attorney, he has also served as the Dodge County Family Court Commissioner for 28 years.
“A court commissioner is appointed by the judges of the county to handle certain cases on behalf of the judges,” Sciascia said. “As Dodge County Family Court Commissioner, I have performed the same duties that a judge would perform in deciding over 2,000 contested family court cases for child custody, placement, child support, maintenance (alimony), property division, domestic abuse restraining orders, harassment injunctions, debt and property division and paternity cases.”
Sciascia said he is the only candidate running who already has judicial experience and the only candidate who has the experience of being both a prosecutor and a defender. He has also served as the city attorney for the city of Juneau and the village attorney for the village of Iron Ridge. He has been appointed as a special prosecutor for Horicon, Beaver Dam, Waupun, Fox Lake and Dodge County. He said in his role as special prosecutor, he has prosecuted hundreds of cases for OWI, theft, assault, drug possession, underage drinking, disorderly conduct, traffic offenses, public nuisance and other offenses.
“As circuit court judge I would be in a position to continue to do so in family court cases as well as small claims, mental health cases, juvenile justice cases and civil and criminal litigation. I would like to take my experience on and off the bench to the office of Circuit Court Judge to continue to serve the people of Dodge County,” Sciascia said.