Jon P. Wilcox

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Justice Jon P. Wilcox is a former justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He was appointed to the Court by Governor Tommy G. Thompson in 1992 and elected to the court in 1997. His term expired July 31, 2007. Justice Wilcox did not seek re-election, and Washington County Circuit Court Judge Annette K. Ziegler won the April 3, 2007 statewide election to succeed Justice Wilcox to this seat.[1] [2]

Justice Wilcox was born in Berlin, Wisconsin, and grew up in nearby Wild Rose. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Ripon College in 1958 and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1965. From 1959 to 1961, he served as an officer in the United States Army. Justice Wilcox began in private law practice by starting his own law firm. He served three terms in the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing the 72nd Assembly District from 1969 to 1975. He was elected to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress from 1975 to 1980. Justice Wilcox then served as a circuit court judge in Waushara County for 13 years, as chief judge of the Sixth Judicial Administrative District from 1985 to 1992, and as chairman of the Wisconsin Committee of Chief Judges. He also served as chair of the Wisconsin Sentencing Commission from 1987 to 1992.[3]

1997 election campaign controversy[edit]

Justice Wilcox attracted some controversy in 2001 when his 1997 re-election campaign was accused of an illegally coordinated get-out-the-vote effort with the group Wisconsin Citizens for Voter Participation.[4] The group, which supported school choice, apparently put more than $200,000 into last-minute mailings and phone calls supporting Wilcox's candidacy. The Wisconsin State Elections Board alleged that Wilcox's campaign violated state election law, which bans any cooperation between independent groups and a candidate or a candidate's campaign organization.

The Board eventually reached a settlement with Wilcox's campaign, wherein Justice Wilcox personally paid a $10,000 fine. Although Wilcox denied knowing about the illegal coordination, he agreed to pay the fine, acknowledging that he bore the ultimate responsibility for the actions of his campaign staff. Wilcox's campaign manager, Mark Block, also paid a $15,000 fine and promised not to work as a consultant or volunteer on any campaign until 2004. The coalition's co-founder, former Assembly Republican staffer Brent Pickens, paid a $35,000 fine and promised not to work on any campaigns for the next five years.[4]

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