Spring election 2024: Circuit court judge branch 3 candidates Q&A

Voters in Kenosha County will be able to vote in a contested election for circuit court judge branch 3.

This field was narrowed to two candidates in a primary election in February. Appearing on the April 2 ballot will be:

  • Frank Gagliardi
  • Heather Iverson

Gagliardi was appointed to fill out the term of retired Judge Bruce Schroeder. which ends July 31, 2024.

The same questionnaire was submitted by westofthei.com to each candidate by email before the primary.

Here is their biographical information followed by the question responses from Gagliardi and Iverson presented in alphabetical order:

Frank Gagliardi — Age:  44. Village, town, city where you reside: Twin Lakes. Education:  Brighton Elementary, St. Joseph High School, U.W. Parkside – Undergraduate degree (Focuses: Finance and Accounting),  and Law degree from Western Michigan Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Occupation:  Branch 3 Circuit Court Judge. Previous elected/appointed public office or pertinent professional/life experience:  18 years as an Attorney in private practice serving Kenosha County residents (office in Paddock Lake).  10+ years as a Circuit Court Commissioner for Kenosha County.

Heather Iverson — Age: 44. Village, town, city where you reside: Kenosha. Education: KUSD School  Graduate of Bradford High School Class of 1998. College UWP with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Law School:  Oklahoma City University School of Law. Occupation: Current Circuit Court Commissioner for Kenosha County since 2021. Previously Elected/appointed public office or pertinent professional/life experience: Appointed in 2021 as Circuit Court Commissioner by the Circuit Court Judge’s of Kenosha County. Appointed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to the Office of Lawyer Regulations District 1 Committee 2014 – 2020.

1.) Why are you the best choice for Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge?

Gagliardi — As your current, Branch 3 Circuit Court Judge, I want to continue to serve and make a difference in our community.  Making sure that the people who come before me are “heard,” and have a fair opportunity during their day in court. I realized early in my career that one of the most paramount concerns for my clients was that the Judge heard their issues and treated them with respect, whether they won their case or not. I want to ensure that this happens in our court! I am the most experienced candidate (in terms of the areas of law that I have litigated and in operating a private practice) and will use my experience as an asset in handling cases from the bench. I have been practicing law for nearly 18 years and have been a court commissioner since 2012. I have formally represented 557 clients in litigation throughout the State of WI in various areas of law.  The majority of these cases were contested requiring one or more of the issues to be determined by a formal judicial examination of the evidence in an adversary proceeding. The number of cases outlined above does not include my other clients whose matters were resolved informally. I bring experience, honesty, common sense, intellect, and I am someone who is smart on the issue of crime because I have our public safety as a priority!

Iverson — My extensive experience and legal knowledge makes me the best choice for Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge.  Currently, I serve as the only candidate who sits on the bench handling hundreds of cases each week involving multiple areas of law including: family, civil, criminal, juvenile delinquency, traffic citations, ordinances, forfeitures, restitution hearings,  traffic diversion programs, and cases involving children in need of protection and services.  None of the other candidates have this experience. In my time as a Judicial Court Commissioner, I’ve demonstrated my capability to manage courtrooms efficiently, ensuring fair and impartial hearings. I’ve issued orders on diverse cases, consistently upholding the constitution and principles of justice. In my more than 15 years practicing law, all have been dedicated to serving the residents of Kenosha County. I have served as a Special Prosecutor for the Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office, as an attorney for the Kenosha County Child Support Agency representing the interest of Kenosha County residents and the State of Wisconsin, and I now serve the residents of Kenosha County as a Circuit Court Commissioner. My commitment to Kenosha County, experience in all areas of law, grace under pressure and integrity make me the best choice for Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge.

2.) What is the key characteristic a circuit court judge should possess?

Gagliardi — A Circuit Court Judge should be someone who will work hard and respectfully operate the courtroom; however, the most important thing is that the Judge will be committed to fairly and objectively upholding the law.

Iverson — The key characteristic that every judge should possess is integrity. Integrity is the bedrock upon which the legal system stands, and it plays a pivotal role in upholding the principles of justice. A judge with integrity demonstrates an unwavering commitment to honesty, transparency, and ethical conduct. Integrity ensures that judges remain impartial and unbiased in their decision-making processes. It demands that they adhere strictly to the rule of law, without succumbing to external pressures or personal biases. Judges with integrity inspire trust in the legal system, fostering confidence among the public that their cases will be handled fairly and justly. Moreover, a judge’s integrity extends beyond the courtroom. It involves maintaining a high level of moral and ethical standards in both professional and personal spheres, as the public rightly expects judges to exemplify the virtues they enforce. By embodying integrity, judges contribute to the preservation of the legal system’s credibility and reinforce public faith in the pursuit of justice.


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