Differences highlighted in appeals court race

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Ted Sullivan
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Candidates for the 4th District Court of Appeals both said their experience sets them apart from each other.

Richland County Judge Ed Leineweber and Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard will battle for one open seat.

The court includes Rock, Green, Dane, Jefferson and 20 other counties. It is asked to fix errors made in local circuit courts.

Leineweber said he had the broadest experience, including time as a private attorney, district attorney, defense attorney and judge. He said his opponent has no experience as a judge.

Blanchard said his time as a law clerk and prosecutor in the federal system included appellate court experience. He said he helped write appellate court decisions and argued appellate cases.

Leineweber said the 4th District Court of Appeals includes judges mostly from Dane County. He said the court could use an outsider with a rural view.

Blanchard said he disagrees with the idea judges need to be rural or urban. He said the public doesn't care about addresses. He said the candidate's integrity, independence and knowledge is what matters.

Leineweber said Blanchard has had problems managing prosecutors in his office, including one who had disciplinary complaints.

Blanchard said Leineweber is using negative campaigning at the last minute by making false statements. He said Leineweber never raised that issue at two public debates.

Leineweber said his campaign is about his qualifications for office, and he wants to highlight differences between himself and his opponent.

"For 34 years, on a day-by-day basis I've been handling virtually all the kinds of legal work that comes to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals," Leineweber said.

Blanchard said his record proves he's ready to be judge.

"I think I've handled the challenges of being Dane County District Attorney in a way that proves my independence and integrity," Blanchard said.

In the primary, Blanchard received 28,157 votes, compared to Leineweber's 12,964 votes. The race is nonpartisan. The general election is April 6.


Brian Blanchard

Age: 51

Home: Madison

Occupation: Dane County District Attorney since 2000. Assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago from 1990 to 1997, after which he joined a large Madison law firm. Also has worked as a law clerk to a United States Appeals Court judge and a reporter for the Miami Herald.

Community service: Board member, Wisconsin District Attorney's Association; former chair, Dane County Coordinated Response to Domestic Violence; member of both state and county task forces on the problem of disproportionate minority confinement. Member and past chairman of the Dane County's Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence.

Elected offices: Dane County District Attorney


Edward E. Leineweber

Age: 61

Home: Lone Rock

Occupation: Circuit court judge for Richland County for the past 12 years. Formerly city attorney for Richland Center and in private law practice for 21 years and a former Richland County District Attorney.

Community service: Longtime Kiwanis member; board member of most boards in his community at one time or another, including Friends of the Little Brown Church and Passages, a program for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault; served on the state Supreme Court Policy and Planning Advisory Committee; member of Wisconsin Judicial Council, where he is chairman of the evidence and civil procedure committee.

Elected offices: Richland County District Attorney, 1987-93, and circuit court judge.

Last updated: 1:07 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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