Milwaukee Magazine on Judicial Conflicts of Interest
On Their Honor is the title of a Milwaukee Magazine article about judicial conflicts of interest in Milwaukee County.
From the article:
The [Wisconsin Supreme Court] rule requires that judges disqualify themselves from any case when "a judge has a significant financial or personal interest in the outcome of the matter." If, however, the financial conflict is de minimis - meaning so insignificant it doesn't raise "reasonable question as to the judge's impartiality" - no disqualification is required. But it's up to the judges themselves to decide that question...
Judges rarely remove themselves from cases in which they have an interest - in Milwaukee County, it happened only 12 times in all of 2005 and 25 times in 2003. Meanwhile, the problem of financial conflicts is growing. The number of cases in Milwaukee in which judges had a financial conflict grew from 42 cases in 2004 to 71 in 2005 and 89 for the first eight months of 2006. At that pace, there would be 133 cases with a conflict in 2006.