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Wisconsin Court System

Wisconsin Court System

The Wisconsin Court System is comprised of a Supreme Court, a Court of Appeals and the trial courts of Circuit Courts and Municipal Courts.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court for the state and has 16 judges who sit to hear appeals. These judges come from the four districts of Milwaukee, Waukesha, Wausau, and Madison. The judges are elected into office and serve six-year terms. The Court of Appeals processes about 1,200 cases per year.

Supreme Court
Court of Appeals
Circuit Court
Municipal Court

Wisconsin Court Records That are not Open to the Public

Most Wisconsin court records will be readily available to the general public with a few exceptions listed in the WI statutes as stated below: "Any record containing personally identifiable information that, if disclosed, would do any of the following:

- Endanger an individual's life or safety.

- Identify a confidential informant.

- Endanger the security, including the security of the population or staff, of any state prison under s. 302.01, jail, as defined in s. 165.85 (2) (bg), juvenile correctional facility, as defined in s. 938.02 (10p), secured residential care center for children and youth, as defined in s. 938.02 (15g), mental health institute, as defined in s. 51.01 (12), center for the developmentally disabled, as defined in s. 51.01 (3), or facility, specified under s. 980.065, for the institutional care of sexually violent persons.

- Compromise the rehabilitation of a person in the custody of the department of corrections or detained in a jail or facility identified in subd. 2. c."

WI Court Case Filing Information

Filing Information

The Wisconsin Court System makes it easy for patrons to file cases in many of the courts. On their website, they offer forms for Circuit Courts and the Court of Appeals. They have them for common types of cases such as criminal, civil, family issues, juvenile matters, guardianships, mental health cases, probate/estate issues, and small claims cases. This state also has a nice eFiling system where patrons can log on and pay traffic tickets, fines, fees, and other court charges along with filing forms. This area is especially helpful to self-represented individuals who will not be using an attorney for their case.

Search Wisconsin Court Records Online

WI court records are easy to find when you search using Infotracer. With access to hundreds of Wisconsin court cases, including the areas of Milwaukee County, Dane County, and Waukesha County, Infotracer is the place to go. Thanks to Freedom of Information Act and WI Open Records Law WI Statute 19.21 et seq., just about anyone has access to criminal court records, civil cases, family and probate court matters, divorces, bankruptcies and more.

A WI court records search may be performed privately by anyone without needing permission. The person searching doesn’t even need a reason. Most court records for this state will show up except when sealed by court order or kept private by law.

Enjoy free instant access to WI court records from Infotracer when you use a WI state court records search by name. It’s easy to look up cases online and find court records from Wisconsin’s circuit and municipal courts in all nine judicial districts in the state.

Wisconsin Court Statistics

In 2012, the Wisconsin courts received 427,496 filings. In 2016, the number of filings decreased by 17.2% and counted 353,884 filings and had 354,896 outgoing cases

Total State Caseloads

YearTotal Caseload
2012427,496
2013391,546
20141,269,226
20151,295,248
2016353,884

Share of Court Type Incoming Caseloads

Court TypeIncoming Caseloads
Civil55%
Criminal31%
Domestic Relations13%

Family Court Cases

Domestic relations caseload of Wisconsin at year end of 2016 has decreased by 15.5% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases have been 55,922 but are higher than in 2015.

YearDomestic Relations CaseloadTotal Statewide Caseload
201255,922427,496
201347,042391,546
201452,1231,269,226
201555,7181,295,248
201647,239353,884

Wisconsin Criminal Caseloads

The number of criminal cases in Wisconsin courts counts to 110,725, with 39,157 felony cases and 71,568 misdemeanors accordingly.

YearCriminal CaseloadMisdemeanor CaseloadFelony Caseload
2012116,33680,72535,611
2013115,03778,53036,507
2014110,59173,88636,705
2015111,42273,68937,733
2016110,72571,56839,157

Circuit Courts

Wisconsin's Circuit Courts are the general jurisdiction trial courts for the state. It has 249 Circuit Court judges. These courts are split into branches with at least one in each county. Only six counties share judges. Those paired counties are Buffalo/Pepin, Florence/Forest, and Shawano/Menominee. Each Circuit Court district has a Chief Judge who is appointed by the Supreme Court. He or she may serve three consecutive two-year terms. They may also appoint a deputy chief judge to assist them. Circuit Courts are funded, by both county and state funds. Judges are paid through state funds, and counties pay for operating costs.

Municipal Courts

Wisconsin's Municipal Courts are the limited jurisdiction courts for the state. They handle mostly local ordinance violations like parking and traffic tickets, including DWIs. They also handle juvenile issues like underage drinking, drug charges, curfew violations, truancy, and other items. These courts also handle building code violations, disorderly conduct issues, health code and animal control violations, trespassing, and other local city issues. Wisconsin has 237 Municipal Courts with 240 judges presiding. Sixty-seven of these courts serve multiple municipalities. Any incorporated city here can start a Municipal Court, and the judicial branch website has a packet to help them get started.

Wisconsin Court Records Search