Questions & Answers
Have a question?
Below are a few commonly asked questions. If you didn’t find an answer to your question, Please reach out to us.
Why is Clark County getting a second judge?
For a very long time, Clark County has only had one Judge (Branch 1). As a County, we are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to have a second Judge (Branch 2), starting in August of 2023. This will help address the growing legal needs of our County in many ways, including moving cases through our judicial system at a quicker rate. Branch 1 and 2 will both handle all types of cases for Clark County and both will be located at the Courthouse in Neillsville.
What political party is Will Bratcher?
Elections for judges in Wisconsin are “non-partisan,” meaning the candidates do not run under a specific political party. I think that’s important because judges should not be swayed by political beliefs about what they personally believe the law should be. Instead, they have to rule on what the law actually is.
Similarly, parties coming before a judge should be treated the same regardless of their political affiliations or beliefs. After all, our rights as Americans include the right to disagree about politics, and beliefs reside in the mind. As a judge, I will focus on a person’s actions rather than their beliefs because actions speak much louder than words.
For example, as a judge, I will only care about what the drivers were doing in a car accident and ignore whatever the bumper stickers on their cars said.
I have supporters across the political spectrum because they all know I am fair minded and have the knowledge, experience, and temperament to be a great judge.
I will say that when it comes to politics in general, I think the powers that be in Washington D.C. and Madison should find ways to work together for a better future for us and our children rather than trying to “win” by causing gridlock
Why is Will Bratcher running for Judge?
I am running because my gifts make me the best fit for the job, and Clark County deserves to have a great second judge that increases confidence in our judicial system.
I’m running to be judge of Branch 2 because I believe that the people of Clark County deserve a judge that will decide cases fairly and impartially, free of political influence or intimidation, and with kindness and humility. I will follow the law regardless of my own personal view and make this community a safer place to live, work, and raise a family. My guiding principles will be to protect our most vulnerable and to uphold our Constitutional Rights.
First, I know it’s odd to say this because I am running for an elected position, but I am not a politician. I am just a regular guy whose job it is to solve problems. I feel grateful and blessed every day that I get to literally help answer people’s prayers when I guide them through a tough time in life. It is a gift that I am both grateful for and which I feel responsibility for.
That being said, I sincerely wish that my job – being a lawyer, or the one I’m running for – being a judge, didn’t even exist. In a perfect world, either disputes wouldn’t exist, or people would be able to settle matters themselves in a fair way.
But, we all know it’s not a perfect world. Human beings are flawed. We make mistakes. Disagreements happen even among the most reasonable of people. So, as long as there are human beings, unfortunately we’ll still need lawyers and judges to hold people accountable for their choices and to resolve disputes in an orderly and fair way.
I believe that everyone is blessed with certain gifts. I believe that my gifts include an analytical legal mind and an empathetic heart. I have the ability to dive deep into the technical aspects of the law, but also the ability to see things from multiple perspectives and really put myself into other people’s shoes.
My empathetic heart drives my love of service of others, especially for children. This love of service came, in part, from my parents (especially my Mom). We were not rich growing up. But, I remember just about every year my Mom and I would go shopping to buy Christmas gifts for the residents of a local women’s shelter. For the children, we’d go to the opening of the Toyland at Farm and Fleet to get the best deals. As the aisles were jammed full of carts, she would send little me to weave in and out between the carts to grab the best toys at the best deals – all for the children at the Shelter.
As a Thorp Lions Club Member, I have personally performed hundreds (if not thousands) of eye screenings of school children in the Thorp Area, which has led to many children getting glasses for the first time and greatly improving their lives.
Some of my other service work includes Junior Achievement, as a mock trial coach, and the Greenwood Area Food Pantry.
But, don’t let my love of service fool you: I can make tough decisions, and when I see injustice, I speak out. I will not be a rubber-stamp for anyone or anything. For example, in my work as a guardian ad litem (attorney the for best interests of children), I have spoken out when I believed the County was not meeting a child’s needs. To be clear, I have also praised them when I believed they were meeting a child’s needs well.
I also believe it is important that we maintain the integrity of our local court system by making sure that Clark County has two judges that are not related to each other to avoid conflicts and extra costs.
These are the types of qualities you really need in a judge, and I am running because my gifts would be put to their best use by serving as Judge of Clark County Circuit Court Branch II.
Your opponent is married to the current Clark County Judge (Branch I). Is that a problem?
Yes, that is a problem!
Having husband and wife judges just doesn’t make sense. If it doesn’t feel right to you in your gut, you’re not alone. That feeling is because it doesn’t align with your values, and it doesn’t align with my values either.
Here are just three specific ways it doesn’t make sense:
- It doesn’t make common sense.
One of the rights people have under Wisconsin law is for the substitution of a judge. That means at the beginning of a case, either party can ask that a different judge be assigned to the case. Wis. Stat. § 801.58.
It doesn’t feel right that your case could be assigned to the spouse of the judge you asked to substitute.
Where’s the common sense in that?
- It doesn’t make dollars and cents.
At some point or another, every judge is going to have a conflict with a party to a case. For example, a judge cannot serve in a case about a family member’s car accident. In case of a conflict like that, a new judge is reassigned to the case.
One of the benefits of having two unrelated judges in Clark County is that they don’t share the same conflicts (for example, they have different families, different friends, etc.).
In those cases where out-of-County judges have to be brought in, it costs us taxpayers more money, and that’s why it doesn’t make “cents” for Clark County.
- It doesn’t make practical sense.
If a law enforcement officer needs a warrant at 2:00 in the morning, they have to contact the judge to get it signed. If the Clark County judge isn’t available, those officers have to contact an out-of-county judge to sign the warrant instead. In some cases, they may even have to travel to the other judge’s county. This could end up costing taxpayers money for the wasted time trying (and failing) to get ahold of the Clark County judge, money for any extra travel (if necessary), and more importantly, costing our officers extremely valuable time away from the communities they protect. Even a few minutes can make a difference.
Instead, a benefit to having unrelated judges would be that if one judge is away on vacation, or has a sick child, etc., then the other would be available for warrants.
Which situation makes more practical sense to you?
Vote WILL BRATCHER for Clark County Judge, April 4th, 2023.
Would husband and wife judges be a conflict of interest? Isn’t there a rule against it?
Technically, it isn’t illegal for a husband and wife to be the only two judges in a county. But, we all know that just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.
There have already been conflicts created by his running for judge of Branch II when his wife is judge of Branch I. For example, he has approached many people who appear in his wife’s court on a routine basis for endorsements. I think that it is wrong to put people in that position, and I think it raises questions about his judgment if he can’t see the position it puts them in.
Ultimately, in order for our system of justice to work, people need faith that it is being carried out with integrity, impartiality, and fundamentally fairly. That is why it makes it all the more important that the public has faith in our government, especially at the local level.
That is why we cannot let one family hold all of the power in our courts, even if he is a nice guy. That simply isn’t how the founders intended our system to work and doesn’t inspire greater faith in the integrity of our courts.
Vote WILL BRATCHER for Clark County Judge, April 4th, 2023.