William G. Callow

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William Grant Callow (born April 9, 1921) is an American jurist who served as a justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court from 1977 to 1992.

Life and career[edit]

Callow was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin and graduated from Waukesha High School.[1] He received his bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin Madison and is a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, serving in the United States Marine Corps in the former and in the United States Air Force in the latter.[1] Following his discharge from the Air Force, Callow served as Waukesha City Attorney from 1952 to 1960.[1] From 1961 to 1977, Callow served as a judge of the Waukesha County Court, presiding over a felony trial calendar.[2] As a county judge, Callow gained notoriety for innovations in restorative justice practices and for his general prohibition of plea bargaining.[2] In 1977, Callow was elected to a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court vacated by Justice Robert W. Hansen, defeating Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge Robert W. Landry.[3] Callow is the only Wisconsin county judge elected directly to the Supreme Court;[1] county courts, trial courts of limited jurisdiction, were merged with the circuit court system in 1978.

Callow's judicial philosophy on the Supreme Court was categorized as both moderate and conservative.[4][5] He served on the court until 1992, when he retired, citing a desire to "take time to smell the roses."[5] Following his retirement, Callow has served as a reserve circuit court judge, as an arbitrator for the Wisconsin Employee Relations Commission, and as a mediator.[5][1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "William G. Callow (1921- )". Former justices. Wisconsin Court System. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Feyrer, Richard G. (10 February 1977). "Callow Talks Tough but Has Soft Spot". Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  3. ^ Janz, William (6 April 1977). "Callow Takes High Court Seat". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "The court's 7 justices - helping shape Wisconsin law". The Milwaukee Journal. 9 November 1981. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c Thatcher, Betsy (14 June 1996). "Retired Justice Callow makes historic return". The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 30 July 2015.