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Grant County judges rated well, Dyke not
Newspaper group surveys state attorneys on circuit judges
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Two judges in Southwest Wisconsin courtrooms are on a list of 31 judges a survey of Wisconsin attorneys says should not be on the bench.

The first is Iowa County Circuit Judge William Dyke, who will be retiring next year. The other is Green County Circuit Judge James Beer, who often hears cases in Lafayette County Circuit Court when motions for substitution of judge are made.

The anonymous survey of 6,307 attorneys, 10 percent of whom returned surveys for a total of 2,245 surveys, was conducted by the Gannett Wisconsin Media Investigative Team, part of Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers. The survey for attorneys who had appeared before a particular judge in the past year was based on an evaluation program created by the American Bar Association, with input from law and sociology professors at UW–Madison and Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Gannett reported that 31 judges were recommended to continue as judges by fewer than half of attorneys surveyed, including Dyke and Beer.

Dyke rated a 3.7, slightly below the state average of 3.8. The five attorneys who rated Dyke rated him a 4.1 on a scale of 1 to 5 on professionalism, 3.7 in impartiality, 3.5 in legal ability and 2.9 in communication. 

Beer received a 2.6, with one of eight attorneys recommending that Beer remain a judge. The eight attorneys who rated Beer rated him 2.8 in communication, 2.7 in legal ability, 2.6 in professionalism and 2.3 in impartiality.

Grant County Circuit Judge Craig Day rated a 4.5. The seven attorneys who rated Day rated him 4.7 in communication, 4.6 in legal ability, and 4.5 in impartiality and professionalism.

Grant County Circuit Judge Robert VanDeHey rated a 4.2. The five attorneys who rated VanDeHey rated him 4.3 for legal ability, 4.2 for communication and professionalism, and 4.1 for impartiality.

The survey didn’t rank a Lafayette County judge. Circuit Judge Duane Jacobson took office earlier this year after the retirement of Circuit Judge William Johnston.

The other Green County judge who hears substituted cases in Lafayette County, Circuit Judge Thomas Vale, got a 4.5 rating.

Judges also were not ranked in Crawford or Richland counties.

The story and rankings can be read at