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Two Kenosha County Judges Overruled By Appellate Court

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Kenosha County Circuit Court Judges Angelina Gabriele and Jason Rossell
(File Photos by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Two local judges were recently overruled by a Wisconsin appellate court.  It all started when a defense lawyer, Mark Richards, filed a “substitution of judge” request in a criminal case.  Every defendant gets the right to file one substitution, and KCE has learned that most defense lawyers substitute against Judge Angelina Gabriele.  That is what Mark Richards did.  Commissioner Bill Michel found the written request to be “timely filed.”  He then granted it, assigned the case to a different branch of court and scheduled it for the next hearing. 

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Judge Gabriele then reinserted herself into the case and rejected the substitution request, after the fact, because the case had a codefendant.  When there are co-defendants, both of them have to agree on the substitution, otherwise, the prosecutor might have to try two different cases in two different courts, instead of one case in one court.  But in this situation, the co-defendant had died and the prosecutor had already dismissed that case.  So there wasn’t a codefendant. 

The matter was appealed to the Chief Judge of Kenosha County, Judge Jason Rossell.  He conceded that Judge Gabriele was wrong to deny the substitution request on the codefendant rule.  But he upheld her denial “on different grounds,” as the appellate decision says.  That means that Judge Rossell came up with his own reason.  He said that the defense lawyer filed the request too soon, and therefore it was void.  He said that at the time Richards filed the request, Judge Gabriele hadn’t even been assigned to the case yet.

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The appellate court wondered, how would a defendant know which judge’s name to put “on a written substitution request unless the identity of the trial judge is known?”  In fact, Judge Gabriele’s name and branch number were filed-stamped right on the criminal complaint itself.  The appellate court further decided that, reading the statute itself, it does have a deadline by which a defense lawyer must file a substitution request.  But nothing in the statute requires the defense lawyer to wait to file the request.  Therefore, the appellate decision reads, “the chief judge erred in denying the request on the basis that it was untimely.” 

Mark Richards – Defense Attorney
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Mark Richards and his associates were reached by KCE, and were pleased by the appellate court’s decision. 

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We asked Judges Rossell and Gabriele about this appellate court decision, and about why defense lawyers are always filing “substitution of judge” requests on Judge Gabriele.  Both judges declined to comment on this particular ongoing case, citing ethics rules, but Judge Gabriele did state that she “respects the decision of the court of appeals.”  Judge Gabriele also added, with regard to the high number of substitution requests against her, that she “applies the law as written and as interpreted by our court of appeals, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court.”

KCE has talked to several defense attorneys regarding their substitution patterns, all of whom wished to remain anonymous for various reasons, such as ongoing cases and other such explanations.  One said that it would be “legal malpractice” not to substitute against Judge Gabriele.  Another said something similar, but characterized the failure to substitute as “ineffective assistance of counsel.”  Another said that appearing in her courtroom means you are “fighting two prosecutors, the actual prosecutor and a judge who is acting as a prosecutor.”  Another said that “she doesn’t even pretend to apply the law.  I’ve never seen anything like it.”  Finally, another said that her “array of negative, physical reactions to defense lawyers’ arguments gives a very bad impression.” 

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Judge Gabriele was a prosecutor for nearly a quarter of a century before being elected to the bench. 

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54 Responses

      1. She is conservative. That is e we hybggey want to substitute away from her. Dah! But love it!! What a great judge – Judge Gabrielle. Law and order has a chance to survive in Kenosha County. Watch out, criminals!

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      2. She is conservative. That is why they want to substitute away from her. Dah! But love it!! What a great judge – Judge Gabrielle. Law and order has a chance to survive in Kenosha County. Watch out, criminals!

        1. Being “law and order” doesn’t mean squat if you get reversed and don’t do your job properly. Actually, I’m wrong. It can mean something and it isn’t good. Suppose she cuts corners and tanks a child abuse case that gets reversed on appeal. Then the poor kid has to come back to court and be revictiminzed. Playing loose with the law doesn’t help “law and order.”

      1. Angie 2.0

        She should introduce herself to the appeals court on day 1 since they will likely have to review a lot of her mistakes too.

  1. Judges are supposed to be impartial.
    They’re supposed to apply the law.
    Obviously doesn’t happen that way.

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  2. She’s a great lawyer and was a great assistant DA. Why do people read this story and know the history of her already?

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        1. Yeah, you’re right. No one ever gets falsely accused in Kenosha. Or over charged.

          But I think you’re missing the larger, much more significant point.

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          1. Right. It happens all the time right? So many falsely accused in this criminal infested town. Should a judge be someone with no experience? She’s been a lawyer forever, and you cry. Love to hear your profession and experience. I’m sure it’s amazing !!

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            1. I think you meant to label yourself “Bird Watcher’s owner” with a capital W (as there are two bird watchers) and an apostrophe for the possessive. I’d probably capitalize Owner as well, but I suppose that’s a matter of opinion.

              You are missing the point. The years of experience isn’t the issue. Write less. Read and think more.

              1. You are so cool with punctuation and grammar. I’m sure you are very successful. Please tell us more about the legal experience you have Instead of deflecting the comment. Deflect less, and do better.

            2. Your right it is criminal infested starting with those who are suppose to uphold the law and then those who are suppose to be for the people.

            3. Everyone is questioning her ethics they should also be questioning the ethics of the judge who overturned it. It seems he added his own personal opinion as well so does anyone that comes before these two judges actually get a fair hearing

              1. I am not familiar with Judge Gabriele or her practice. However I can speak to the practice of Judge Rossell. He infused his biased personal agenda in which he disregarded the law, made up his own rules, and revictimized a child. I am interested in knowing how the people of Kenosha feel about their tax dollars being used to educate the Chief Justice on the legal definition of a crime victim. Judge Rossell ruled that when parent is convicted of operating a vehicle while intoxicated with their minor child in the vehicle, it is a victimless crime. He stripped the child and non-offending parent of their statutory rights. He ruled that because the child did not sustain physical injury that she was just a witness to the crime. This ruling is in defiance of both common sense and the rule of law. See State v. Gahart 2022. The Appellate Court overturned Judge Rossell’s ruling, restored victim status and remanded for a restitution hearing. Those hearings resulted in misrepresentation of the facts. Judge Rossell denied a motion for a review and the opportunity to correct misrepresentations. He, clearly, furthered the misrepresentation of facts. He achieved his original intention to deny full restitution. The State agreed that it was abuse of discretion, but refused to appeal as they reasoned that it was not worth the time or money.

          2. Definitely over charged, you’re 100% correct and Rosell is no better. He always has an excuse as to why he is not wrong.

        2. The point is that judges are neither prosecutors or defense attorneys. Think of the umpires in baseball calling the balls and strike. What would it be like if one person owned a team and also the umpires?

          If the prosecutors follow the law they should be upheld, of course. But there are times when they (and/or the police) don’t. We should not expect judges to rubber stamp violations of the law regardless of whether they are committed by good guys or bad ones.

    1. From what I’ve heard about her is that she is tough on child predators,those who sexually abuse minors etc. We need more judges who care about abuse of kids.

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  3. To “BiRd WaTcHerS OwNeR”:
    We ran out of space, above, so I’ll start a new comment post in reply to your last post.
    1. I don’t owe you any explanation regarding my level of legal experience, and you won’t get one. No deflection. Just an outright denial.
    2. Don’t be so enamored with “experience.” One of the readers said that Judge Gabriele had a lot of experience — but if you read the appellate decision, she thought that a dead person who had their case dismissed constituted a “codefendant” for purposes of the substitution statute. And Judge Rossell thought that a statute with a filing deadline in it also meant that there was a waiting period before filing. What good did all their years of experience do?
    3. Don’t hang your hat on experience, age, or other proxies for knowledge or wisdom. If the judges can’t read the law, then their years of experience are pointless.
    I hope that helps. You can feel free to fling an insult if you want, and I won’t respond. You can have the last word. I have to get to my third-shift job pretty soon, so I’m signing out.

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    1. It always boggles my mind that individuals like you can take one story and determine an entire past and future career. Imagine a world where you make a mistake and you lose your “3rd shift job”. But, let me guess, you have been wrongly accused and are a victim.

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  4. From what I’ve heard about her is that she is tough on child predators,those who sexually abuse minors etc. We need more judges who care about abuse of kids.

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    1. Well, yes, we do. But we also want judges who do their jobs properly.

      Why?

      Getting it right in a child or sexual abuse case is critical. You don’t want to revictimize a person or endanger community safety by having a case overturned on appeal because the trial judge messed up. A judge can and should be tough on someone who has been fairly convicted of these heinous crimes but sentencing occurs after a conviction. A solid conviction means that the tough sentence will stand.

  5. Gabriele doesn’t like talking to jail inmates. She frequently dumps scheduled cases and takes the day off. She will drag out cases for weeks or months with cancellations and reschedules. It just seems like she wants to be a judge without doing any of the actual work.

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          1. Did this comment accomplish something positive, Summer?

            Do you feel better about yourself for insulting a random person in the comment section of a local news website?

            Yikes, be a better human.

  6. Judge Schroeder had a reputation for being tough on crime. Yes, he was a former prosecutor, but as much as he was known for being tough in criminal cases, he was also tough on prosecutors and held their feet to the fire by making them prove their cases. There are many other judges in Wisconsin who are tough on crime but don’t cut corners to frustrate justice. The judges that do run the risk of being reversed on appeal which does nothing to help victims or protect the community.

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    1. Wow! Love it!! What a great judge – Judge Gabrielle. Law and order has a chance to survive in Kenosha County. Watch out, criminals!

  7. Now run an article about Jodi Meier being overturned and the appeals court slamming her in a termination of parental rights/Chips case. They said “NO REASONABLE JUDGE” would have done what she did. She hides behind the privacy of juvenile hearings but the appeals decisions are public records and her awful behavior finally gets exposed!!

    Then run an article about Chad Kerkman getting slammed by the appeals court in a termination/chips case for his flippant decision too.

  8. Now I understand why these idiots are begging for additional protections from the very people they destroy with their legal decisions. The wrong people are in prison!

  9. Kenosha in general is racist, ran by all whites who
    make their own laws. Absolutely no diversity in office. Well one after all these years. May God have mercy on Kenosha’s horrible justice system for they will be judged.

  10. Wow! Love it!! What a great judge – Judge Gabrielle. Law and order has a chance to survive in Kenosha County. Watch out, criminals!

    1. We got it the first time you posted, Angie. Maybe a little more time researching the law and less time canceling hearings and avoiding duties. Your clerk hates you.

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