Dane County Circuit Court Judge Everett Mitchell today announced his candidacy for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, running for the seat currently held by retiring Justice Patience Roggensack.
Mitchell, a former prosecutor, currently serves as the presiding judge of the juvenile division in Dane County. He oversees cases involving child welfare, juvenile delinquency, family law, civil law, and criminal proceedings. Judge Mitchell also presides over Dane County’s High Risk Drug Court Program, which supports adults with drug addictions and criminal cases by connecting participants to treatment and mental health services.
Mitchell recently took a leading role in persuading the Wisconsin Supreme Court to prohibit routine shackling of juveniles in courts throughout the state.
“I’m running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court because preserving the integrity and independence of the court has never been more important. Our state Justices have a tremendous responsibility, and the decisions handed down by the court directly impact the lives of the people in our state,” Mitchell said in a written statement. “Wisconsinites deserve a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice that reflects the growing diversity of ideas and communities within our state. Wisconsinites deserve a justice that has a proven record of applying the rule of law irrespective of undue influence. Wisconsinites deserve a justice who has the highest respect for the Wisconsin Constitution and is committed to ensuring that the Wisconsin Supreme Court is an instrument of balance and justice rather than partisan divide.”
In a press release, Mitchell’s campaign said he will “bring his life experiences and values steeped in ethics and service to the court.”
He was the first in his family to attend college, according to the press release, and after being accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School, he experienced homelessness as a single father. It was the compassion of Wisconsinites that enabled him to receive housing, graduate with his juris doctorate, and most importantly, empathize with families experiencing significant challenges.
Mitchell said he is passionate about education, community, equity, and justice. The press release notes that in the 18 years he has lived in Wisconsin, Judge Mitchell has worked closely and maintained relationships with faith groups, law enforcement, civic organizations, legislators, health care providers, and educators around the state to advance the lives of all families so they may have access to the resources they need to thrive.
Judge Mitchell graduated from Morehouse College in 2000, and earned a Masters in Divinity in 2003 and a Master of Theology in 2004 from Princeton Theological Seminary. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School in 2010. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School where he teaches a course in juvenile justice. Mitchell also serves as the Senior Pastor at Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church in Madison.
Mitchell lives in Windsor with his wife Dr. Mankah Zama Mitchell. They have two children, Sydney and Braylon, and a dog Bailey.
Roggensack’s term expires in the spring of 2023. Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz announced her candidacy for the seat last week. Former justice Daniel Kelly, who was appointed to the court in 2016 but lost a bid for a full term in 2020, is also thought to be considering a run. Either Mitchell or Protasiewicz would shift the balance of the court from a conservative to a progressive majority.
If more than two candidates qualify for the ballot, a nonpartisan primary election early next year will winnow the field tot he two candidates who get the most votes. The general election will take place in April 2023.