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Kenosha Chief Judge To Take County To Court To Hide How Much He And His Colleagues Work

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Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge and District Two Chief Judge Jason Rossell
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kensoha County Eye)

Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Jason Rossell, who is also the second district’s chief judge, has said he will seek an opinion from the Wisconsin Attorney General and even take Kenosha County to court, to prevent Kenosha County Eye from obtaining the Kenosha County Judges’ keycard data that includes data suggesting how many hours they work. KCE has obtained such data numerous times in the past from Kenosha County, but never from the judges.

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There has been a push for a ninth Circuit Court Branch in Kenosha County. There are currently eight judges that take criminal, civil, family and other cases every day. Some politicians want the ninth Circuit Court to alleviate what they call an overworked judiciary in this corner of the state. If a ninth branch is added, taxpayer funds from the state will pay for the new judges, however, taxpayers from the County will have to pay for support staff, technology, remodeling of a courtroom, and perhaps more costs.

Kenosha County Eye was made aware of these plans and wanted to collect information to see if the new judge was truly needed, or if it was an unnecessary wish-list item. Of course, it is possible that Kenosha County needs another judge, but many people believe it should be investigated and analyzed.

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One way that KCE can make an educated estimate is by requesting the keycard data for the judges. Judges need to swipe to enter the courthouse and swipe to leave the courthouse. Some judges, if they leave at the same time, might “piggyback” off of one another’s swipe to leave. There is no way to determine with 100% certainty how many hours any of the seven judges truly work per day or week. We can, however, see trends, highs/lows, and even get close guesses of total hours. As Chief Judge, Jason Rossell pointed out to KCE, not all hours would be logged in the keycard system. He says judges sometimes work from home, get woken up for search warrants for serious incidents at 2:00 am, or attend continuing education away from the courthouse.

Although we know we cannot get 100% accurate information, we can still get good information. On November 11, 2023, we made a public records request for the keycard data of all eight Judges. We also asked for the keycard data of the County Executive and a member of her staff – KCE is told both work many hours at the building across the street from the court house.

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Kenosha County’s Staff Attorney Joey Cardamone
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Although we made the public records request to the facilities department of the County government, the request made its way to the County’s lawyer, Joey Cardamone. Cardamone immediately notified the judges that KCE made the request, and he asked for legal advice and guidance from the judges. This is something that is unprecedented and improper. In the County government, there is a separation of powers. There is an executive branch, headed by County Executive Samantha Kerkman and her department heads, a legislative branch made up by the elected board members, and a judicial branch, made up of the circuit court judges. These three branches have separate powers for checks and balances. Cardamone crossed over from the executive branch to the judicial branch of government, apparently to give the judges deference.

When Judge Rossell was made aware of our request, he asked the county to withhold the records. Neither Judge Rossell, nor the other judges work for the County. They work for the state. Rossell has no standing to oppose the County’s decision, unless of course, he wants to file a court action, which is what he says he intends to do. It is unclear which court, state, or federal would have jurisdiction over this matter, but what is known for sure, is it will be expensive. Rossell brought up as a possible reason not to disclose the information, a former judge in Wisconsin who was killed by a madman, named Douglas Uhde. Uhde also planned to kill Mitch McConnell and Michigan Governor Whitmer per NBC News. This judge, however, was retired and was killed at home, not near the courthouse.

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All Kenosha County Judges
(Top Row – Dougvillo, Rossell, Schroeder, and Milisauskas)
(Bottom Row – Wilk, Gabriele, Meier, and Kerkman)
(Judge Schroeder has since Retired – His Successor Frank Gagliardi Is Not Yet Installed)
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

KCE is told that Judges Kerkman and Meier among others have indicated no opposition to have their info released. There are perhaps others that feel the same, but they are unknown to KCE.

Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge and District Two Chief Judge Jason Rossell
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

KCE made contact with Rossell Tuesday evening and we are thankful he responded and answered some questions.

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“In terms of the time swipe data from the key cards, it establishes the pattern of behavior of judges.  On multiple occasions the US Marshall service and the security trainings given to judges has taught us to vary our routines.  The time data of the swipes provides data on my routines and habits,” said Rossell. “The problem with using badge swipes as the marker of when I’m in the building is like you published on Friday a judge who gives up their spot to their staff may enter the front door and never swipe.”

Rossell seemed to make an argument for why the data can’t be 100% reliable, but not a serious argument for keeping the data hidden. “In terms of the hours I work, [it’s] well in excess of 40 per week. They may not be in chambers on the bench,” said Rossell. KCE isn’t in a position to dispute Rossell’s assertion that he works more than 40 hours a week. He is in the criminal rotation and has been trying jury trials and running the district administrative duties which includes Walworth, Kenosha and Racine counties.

Indeed, not all hours are worked at work, like teachers, business owners, journalists, and many other professions. But let the media take a peak before big checks are written. KCE will not be posting the raw data, but only some averages and trends. Most judges work about the same hours every day, and that is probably true throughout the United States. Releasing this data won’t affect their safety, nor is it KCE’s intention to do so. Judges do have extra laws on their sides for safety, too. Kenosha Judges can carry firearms in the courthouse if licensed. If I do, it’s a felony.

So now, we wait. Will the County turn over the records? Will the judges sue? We’ll let you know.

Author

  • Kevin Mathewson

    Kevin Mathewson is a disciple of Christ, husband and a father to two wonderful children. Mathewson was born and raised in Lake County, IL and worked as a police & fire dispatcher from 2005 to 2010 in Round Lake Beach, IL. Mathewson moved to Kenosha County in 2006, later being elected to the position of Alderman of the 8th District in 2012 and 2016. Mathewson is a private investigator, security contractor, journalist, and photographer. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, camping and boating. His favorite amendment is the second, followed closely by the first. He loves his country and community.

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38 Responses

  1. The obvious first impression is that all persons using swipe cards for entry must swipe them in. Period. Factories I’ve worked in expressly demand no doors held open and everybody scans only their own card, under threat of discipline up to and including termination. No reason that in/out times should be obscure or require translation.

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    1. agree. This is for personal safety too. If something happens, they need to know how many people and who were in the building

  2. I know that they have plenty of days that they aren’t there. You can search and find their court calendars online to know that.

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  3. Both Kevin and the judge have good points here. Judicial safety and security is a big deal. Congress just enacted the Daniel Anderl Act protecting federal judges and restricting access to personal information and a companion bill is expected soon in the Wisconsin legislature. Until that happens existing restrictions in state law means that a balancing test will likely need to be applied to this request and will likely result in litigation.

    That said, judges (and other professional employees on a salary) don’t punch a time clock and in-and-out times may not provide an accurate picture of anything. There is, however, more reliable data. There are rather detailed caseload statistics and judges are required to report the status of certain stale cases where decisions are pending in order for them to get paid. About the only questionable data from in-and-out clocks would be if a judge habitually clocks out at 2:30 every afternoon. Early departures standing alone are not informative, either. A Kenosha judge could be hearing cases in Racine or Elkhorn, for example, or speaking to a school group or attending a judicial committee meeting in Madison. The more reliable data would likely be the caseload information which is used for many reasons, including balancing the cases between judges when, for example, one has too many cases and another too few.

    Another piece of public data is the court calendar although, again, it alone is not dispositive. If a judge has no cases one afternoon it usually means they’ll be in the office working on pending decisions.

    At the end of the day, whether another judge is necessary will be determined by caseload stats. And another judge would also mean the need for additional prosecutors and public defenders as well as court staff.

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  4. You can sit in the court house and watch. They have no restrictions on that. They also post their schedules. Start with Meier. She has a lot of excuses to avoid family court in lieu of juvenile court. The few times I was in front of her, for family court, she had 2 cases on the schedule each time…. All day…..

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  5. It’s called: “Tailgating.”
    Subject to written warning up to and including possible dismissal
    in many facilities.

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  6. Yeah sure, record all calls and traffic for the “defendants” in custody, but not them? He’s had that ADL training huh?

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  7. Ratscene Machinery Row Development Scam we were the Guinea pigs for FOXCONN !!!!!

    18-CV-1227 Patrick Fagan vs. City of Racine et.al.

    I filed Five (5) JOHN DOE’s
    Wis.St.Stat. 968.26 under Judge Rossell.

    THE KING OF COVER UPS 🙈 🙉🙊&🦧

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  8. I’ll focus on Kenosha County Attorney Joey Cardamone for now and agree with Kevin on the Separation of Powers.There’s an old saying about half of any profession graduated on the bottom 50% of their class, possibly Cardamone’s case or he’s just another snitch in the Kenosha County Swamp.

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    1. Half of any graduating class graduated in the bottom half? Well no shit.

      What the fuck kind of saying is that? You obviously are one of those bottom halfers.

  9. Kevin as always thank you for your hard work in looking out for taxpayers in a very honest and professional way. You are truly where God has placed you.
    Matthew 25:23
    His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

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  10. If we complain about additional branches, judges and court rooms- we need to remember that Kenosha County is growing. With growth comes additional crime, legal and family issues, which create the need.
    Then lets add to the fact that cases take time, people use the system to delay trials and this becomes a backup. Laws changes and legal changes backlog the system.
    If adult court had the requirements that juvenile court has it might speed things up.
    Years ago there was a judge who would always come in late and would make cases start later then scheduled, but he is gone now. Each judge has their own ways and time lines…some want cases to end at 4, others 5.
    Oh yeah, how many times have officers/detectives went to judges homes late at night to get a search warrant signed…that’s not recorded.

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  11. If you have to micromanage and watch the amount of hours an employee is putting in, then they are not the right person for the job.
    There’s no requirement to the hours worked that I’ve ever seen? I would Imagine they are salaried employees and no overtime is paid.

    These folks didn’t go to law school to be clock punchers,it’s a simple as that.

  12. I am assuming that you could get data on case loads and benchmark the totals against other counties in the state and have a better analysis than looking at swipes. Perhaps you should request the data that was compiled when the 8th circuit was added. I am sure there are records of what data they used to justify the need. How many hours is a circuit branch in session weekly, monthly annually and how does that compare to other circuits throughout the state. Good idea to evaluate this but looking at swipes I believe is off base and has no ability to benchmark to other counties.

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  13. Judge Rossell was at Nash Park field twice a week for fall ball and his wife is a teacher at Nash. I even remeber a police officer bringing him paperwork to sign. Yeah….so worried about criminals knowing your habits. If that was the case they would be more private members of the community.

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    1. I am sorry what does his wife have to do with this? So public officials are not allowed to support family and or friends at extracurricular activities acording to you? Judge Rossell volunteers his time to help mentor and coach in fall league he has done so many years! Maybe just maybe if you volunteered your time to the youth of Kenosha instead of investing your time in the whereabouts of others at these events you could find a different enjoyment in life and help todays youth rather than worrying about other peoples lives. Hats of to Judge Rossell for his volunteering at youth sporting events.

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      1. Shit I guess when his wife isn’t there you take over and smile like a doughnut for roselle and take it all down like a champ huh? And after that you shining his shoes too or licking his boots

  14. Its like when you get a repair bill with 2 hours of labor booked, but it only took the mechanic 10 minutes.

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  15. I could name a lot of things that are truly wrong with Kenosha Social Services, judges and Family Services as well. The judge allowed a witness to lie on the stand and ordered him back telling him to make sure his calendar was cleared. The witness clearly didn’t show up and absolutely nothing was done under Judge Schroeder. Before Jason Rossell became a judge was to be protecting an 8 month old never even did a check on him and had several broken bones. including ribs and crushed ankle and lower leg bone was completely broken in half. Social Worker was paid off by another party and this social worker lied and was paid under the table for this child to go back to the abusers.. Absolutely no accountability. It is totally sickening how people can be treated by this so called professional people. These people are the ones that can promotions . You talk to the higher up and they just sweep it under the rug and turn their heads and look the other way.
    They will laugh at you and act like they care and they only care about them self. You can’t trust 90 percent of these people.

    I have asked how these people can be held accountable and no one wants that to happen….

  16. A good start would be to look back at the years actual court schedules. See how many have cancelled their hearings on Fridays or abruptly taken time off. Every missed weekday means cancelled and rescheduled cases… wasting time and taxpayer money.

    Are they required to be full time? 40 per week?

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  17. I have nothing bad to say about Judge Rossell. He has been very fair to me and I highly respect him for seeing through all of the nonsense that was written on paper about me. Although, it would be nice to know as much information as possible about where tax money goes, I believe Judge Rossell is worth whatever he is paid to be Judge! Very sincerely, Mr. Common Sense

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  18. It takes about 10 years to go from “privacy of our bedroom” to a couple of faggots shooting gay porn in the Senate.

    In case anyone was wondering.

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