Governor lists four applicants for county Judge Weston's bench

By Ryan Whisner | Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2018   

JEFFERSON — Applicants for Jefferson County Circuit Court Branch 1 Judge Jennifer Weston’s bench have been identified.

The judge submitted her retirement letter in late February to state and county officials announcing her intention to retire after 29 years of public service as both a court commissioner and judge.

Weston’s resignation takes effect July 10. Gov. Scott Walker said that the new appointee, should he or she choose to run, would be up for election in April 2019.

An appointee will serve through April 2019, at which time an election for the seat will be held. The deadline for applications for this position already has passed.

Applicants for the position, according to Governor Walker’s office, include Jefferson County Court Commissioner Jennifer Weber of Oconomowoc, Watertown City Attorney William Gruber of Hartland, Madison attorney Sarah Ferguson of Jefferson and Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission Chairman James Daley of Oconomowoc.

All four candidates will have a panel interview with the governor’s office staff and the chair of the judicial Selection Advisory Committee. These panel members then will recommend applicants to interview with the governor, who will announce an appointee within weeks of the interviews.

Two of the applicants have links to the Jefferson County legal system, with a third being from Jefferson, while working at a Madison law firm.

Gruber has been Watertown city attorney for the past six years in Jefferson County. Prior to that, he served as Dodge County assistant corporation counsel for two years. He also spent time in the Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office as an intern in 2001 and as a law clerk to Judge Robert G. Mawdsley for two years in Waukesha County.

A Marquette University Law School graduate, Gruber has been studying or practicing law since 2001.

Weber has served as court commissioner since 2015, having succeeded Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Robert Dehring in the position.

She obtained a bachelor of arts degrees in psychology and social work, along with a certificate in criminal justice, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996. She received her law degree from Marquette University, graduating in the top 20 percent of her class in 1999.

She and Vicki Zick opened Zick and Weber Law office in June 1999 in Johnson Creek. As an attorney, she has been an active member of the American Bar Association and Jefferson County Bar Association since 1999, including serving as treasurer, secretary, vice president and president on a rotating basis.

Prior to her time in private practice, she served as an intern and special prosecutor in the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office and Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.

Daley was appointed in September 2017 by Governor Walker as the chairman of the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission for a six-year term expiring March 1, 2023, extending his prior appointment as commissioner where he has served for the past two years.

Prior to his original appointment, Daley served three terms as the mayor of Oconomowoc from April 2010 to June 2015.

During his tenure he was awarded the 2014 Elected Official of the Year by the American Planning Association in recognition of his accomplishments.

He received his bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1997 and his law degree from Drake University.

Prior to his time as mayor, he served as oversight counsel for the Judiciary Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001-05.

In addition, he also spent time as a federal prosecutor, as an assistant U.S. attorney in Raleigh, N.C., from 2007-08.

Meanwhile, Ferguson is an attorney in the Madison office of Hansen Reynolds LLC.

Prior to joining the firm, Ferguson was an associate at Troupis Law Office, a boutique law firm in Madison, which specialized in patent litigation and appellate work.

Since 2013 she has been named a “rising star” in general litigation by the Wisconsin Super Lawyers website.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in Asian language and civilization from Northwestern University in 2001 and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Ferguson spent time as an associate at Dewitt, Ross & Stevens, S.C. from 2006-08 and also the Bopp Law Firm in Terre Haute, Ind., from 2008-10.