Race between Stark and Phillips comes down to the wire
MILWAUKEE: Wisconsin: The race for the Milwaukee County Circuit Court is heating up as candidates make accusations of partisanship. Incumbent Judge Nelson W. Phillips, III and Administrative Law Judge Carolina Maria Stark are running for Division 17 of the Milwaukee circuit court. The general election will be held April 3rd. 
Stark made claims against Phillips, saying that he is supportive of Governor Scott Walker and therefore partisan. Referring to Judge Phillips' 2011 appointment to the Milwaukee court by Governor Walker, Stark said,
- "When one is appointed, it is a political process and there are political connections."
She also referenced an email from Judge Phillips' campaign which read,
- "We need to win this election, both for the bench and for the governor."
Stark herself said that she did not file for the Governor Walker's appointment in 2011, because she did not wish to be associated with the Governor's values. 
Judge Phillips denied her claims of partisanship, asserting that he is a nonpartisan judge. In response he said,
- "I am not a political plant, I am not someone who is here to carry out anyone's agenda."
Phillips' campaign struck back in an email to supporters, saying,
- "His opponent [Carolina Stark] is a different story, not only supported by the AFL/CIO and teachers unions but also personally signed the petitions to recall our Governor, something many of us would see as a conflict of interest for wanting to serve on the bench." 
Senator Lena Taylor questioned both candidates whether they would be supportive of Alternative Justice techniques for sentencing. Both Phillips and Stark responded positively, saying that prison time is not always the appropriate measure. 
The candidates' experience
- Incumbent Judge Nelson W. Phillips, III served as a prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. He worked as an assistant district attorney for Milwaukee County and in private practice before his appointment by Governor Walker in 2011. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and his law degree from UW Law School. 
- Candidate Carolina Maria Stark is an Administrative Law Judge for the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. She is also the Vice Chair of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission. Previously she worked as a trial attorney with Stark Law Office, LLC and the Milwaukee-based Centro Legal Por Derechos Humanos and Esperanza Unida. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from St. Louis University and Spanish and received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin Law School.
- Scott Walker Recall Petition Signed by Caroline Stark
- Journal Sentinel, "Candidates advance in judicial race with Walker overtones," February 21, 2012
- ↑ the Journal Sentinel, "Incumbents prevail in Milwaukee County Board races," April 3, 2012
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Journal Sentinel, "Judicial candidates trade barbs over ties to Walker," March 24, 2012
- ↑ Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee judicial campaigns spar over Walker," March 21, 2012
- ↑ wicourts.gov, "Appointments bring ten new judges to the bench," December 14, 2011
- ↑ Stark Campaign website, "Administrative Law Judge Carolina Stark Announces Bid for Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Branch 17" December 30, 2011
|This article was written by Kevin Kelly, an Assistant Staff Writer for the State Courts Project on Judgepedia. He can be reached at email@example.com.|