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America’s Judge, Bruce Schroeder Celebrated At Retirement Party

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Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce E. Schroeder speaks during a Friday celebration of his retirement at the Courthouse alongside his wife Donna, daughter Katie and son Terry.
(Photo by Joe Poente, Kenosha County Government)

Friends and colleagues of soon-to-retire Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce E. Schroeder gave the longtime jurist a warm sendoff Friday, during a lunchtime celebration at the Courthouse.

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Schroeder — whom one associate noted has served 40 years, six months and two days as a Circuit Court judge — is presently the state of Wisconsin’s longest-tenured judge. That streak will end when he takes his retirement effective Nov. 27.

Judge Jason Rossell, speaking during Friday’s informal program, noted that Schroeder once said his retirement party would be at St. Mary’s Church, “and he would be the one lying down in the box.”

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“I’ve very happy that he’s here to hear my remarks, because I’m not sure they’d let me speak at St. Mary’s,” Rossell quipped.

Kenosha County Circuit Judge Jason Rossell, the district’s current chief judge, presents a Wisconsin Supreme Court commendation to retiring Judge Bruce E. Schroeder during a Friday celebration at the Courthouse. Snapping a photo in the background is Courthouse interpreter Leo Martin.
(Photo by Joe Poente, Kenosha County Government)

Presenting Schroeder with a commendation from the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Rossell praised the judge for serving as a mentor to many over the years.

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“Thank you for your friendship, for being a great colleague,” Rossell said. “What many of you don’t know is when you become a judge, a lot of times you have questions. I think almost every single one of us ran into Bruce’s office at least once or twice within the first three months of being a judge going, ‘Ah, what the heck do I do now?’”

Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce E. Schroeder and a few of the many friends and colleagues who turned out for a retirement celebration in his honor Friday at the Courthouse. Pictured, from left, are Wisconsin Appeals Court Judges Maria Lazar and Mark Gundrum, Schroeder, Appeals Court Judge Lisa Neubauer, retired Kenosha County Circuit Judge Mary K. Wagner and County Executive Samantha Kerkman.
(Photo by Joe Potente, Kenosha County Government)

In addition to the Supreme Court commendation, Wisconsin Court of Appeals judges Mark Gundrum, Maria Lazar and Lisa Neubauer were on hand to congratulate Schroeder, along with several other current and retired judges and many attorneys, clerks and other Courthouse staffers.

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Schroeder described beginning his career at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Jan. 12, 1971, as an assistant district attorney fresh out of Marquette University Law School. The DA at the time, Burton Scott, took Schroeder on a tour of the building, where he met a deputy court clerk who was wearing a red pants suit — “which was very stylish at the time,” Schroeder noted.

Courthouse interpreter Leo Martin presents retiring Judge Bruce E. Schroeder with a “portrait” of the judge during a Friday celebration in Schroeder’s honor. At right are Schroeder’s wife Donna and son Terry.
(Photo by Joe Potente, Kenosha County Government)

That would be Donna, now Schroeder’s wife of 51 years, who joined him at Friday’s celebration with two of their three children, son Terry and daughter Katie. Donna, Schroeder said, is a saint — “not just for dealing with me, but in every respect.”

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Over the years, Schroeder himself would serve as the elected district attorney and as a private-practice lawyer before Gov. Tony Earl appointed him to a vacant judgeship in 1983. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I’ve been blessed,” Schroeder said. “And one of my great blessings has been the people I’ve worked with.”

“On top of everything else,” the judge added, “I’ve had a really fun time working here. I would recommend it to anybody.”

Retiring Judge Bruce E. Schroeder laughs as he reads a “Branch Three Bingo Card” that the District Attorney’s Office created, featuring many of Schroeder’s courtroom aphorisms as Courthouse interpreter Leo Martin snaps a photo from behind.
(Photo by Joe Potente, Kenosha County Government)
Longtime local attorney Donald Mayew shares well wishes with retiring Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce E. Schroeder during a celebration in the judge’s honor Friday at the Courthouse.
(Joe Potente)

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26 Responses

  1. Judge Schroeder has been a credit to our Wisconsin judicial system for 40+ years. I hope we can all agree to thank him for his service and wish him a wonderful retirement.

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  2. That was the best they could do for him? A lunch break party in a ratty break room at the courthouse? Pathetic. I see Sam still Janet found a hair brush

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    1. The jury assembly room is part of the courthouse culture as is the potluck retirement parties. The food is way better, too.

      1. It’s actually a great honor that the courthouse staff rolls up its sleeves and cooks up a storm. That comes from the heart.

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  3. MSNBC and CNN called this man a “racist judge” and accused him of giving Kyle Rittenhouse preferential treatment. Absolutely pathetic. Did Tom Binger show up?

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  4. Judge Schroeder is one of the finest judges I have ever met and it was my honor to serve three times on a jury in his courtroom. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Matt 25:21

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  5. I appeared before Schroeder quite a bit in my teens and twenties…he was fair enough to me.

    He also was the chosen one to officiate at my wedding. I’m very thankful for that.

    I wish him the best!

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  6. That was a retirement party … 🤦…typical Kenosha BS …I bet if he was black Jessie Jackson would have showed up..

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  7. He was always more than fair to me in my few encounters in my younger days.
    If he could cut some slack while staying within legal guidelines, he would do it.
    Just as long as you respected the court by showing up on time, dressing neatly
    and checking your attitude at the door.

    Thank you Judge Schroeder and safe travels on your new journey.

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  8. I met the good judge a couple of years back .
    It was during the Rittenhouse trial . He was picking up some groceries at Festival. I told him that I thought he was doing a good job. He said ; thanks , I appreciate that. Nice guy.

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  9. A fine and honorable man with a brilliant legal mind. Wisconsin was lucky to have him on the bench for as long as they did.

  10. Glad to see Schroeder leave. He is a poor judge with a history of bias and inconsistent sentencing practices. His holier-than-thou attitude is disgraceful for a person in his position. His retirement should only be celebrated as a chance for Kenosha to improve its horribly corrupt court system.

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