The Wrightstown Municipal Court was established by village ordinance number 122794A on December 27, 1994. Chapter 20 of the village code book covers Municipal Court.
EARLY YEARS –
Our very first Judge was the Hon. Jane Kaftan. Judge Kaftan was appointed by the Village board in January of 1995 to fill the newly created position of Municipal Court Judge. Sharon Diedrick transferred from her position in the Village Clerk’s office to become the first Municipal Court Clerk. The first court session was held in April of 1995.
At the time the ordinance was created, the Village Board required a Municipal Judge to be an attorney, which Judge Kaftan was, as well as being a Judge in the Outagamie County Court system. This requirement was amended the following year by the Village Board to align with WI State Statutes. WI Statutes also set the term for Municipal Judge be two years, with elections held in even numbered years. Judge Kaftan was then elected Municipal Court Judge in 1996. She received 109 votes. Unfortunately, Judge Kaftan moved away from the village in 1997 and the Village Board appointed the Hon. John L. DeWane to fill the remainder of Judge Kaftan’s term. Sharon Diedrick remained the court clerk during this time.
1998 – 2020
Judge DeWane was then elected to the position the following year, 1998, and was re-elected each succeeding election. In 2011 WI Statutes changed the term for Judge from 2 to 4 years and the village ordinance was amended to reflect this change. After 23 years of service Judge DeWane decided not to run for another term. Sharon Diedrick also resigned her position in March of 2020 having served the Wrightstown Municipal Court faithfully and honorably since it’s inception. Both Judge DeWane and Sharon will be missed and we are grateful for their service to the Village.
There were no names on the 2020 February Primary ballot or the 2020 April General Election ballot. There were a number of names written in the open space for Municipal Judge with Perry Kingsbury receiving the most write-in votes.
2020 – Present
Judge Kingsbury began his term of office on May 1, 2020. During the transition time Ms Michelle Firchow was hired part-time to fill the court clerk position. Michelle was subsequently hired to be the replacement court clerk. She also served as the police department administrative clerk. In May of 2021 it was decided to separate the shared position to once again align with WI State Statutes. Neil Basten was hired in June 2021 to fill the part-time court clerk position. Stay tuned as this new journey continues.
Our thanks to Ms Sue Martin of the Wrightstown Historical Society & Mueller-Wright House and Sharon Diedrick for their assistance in gathering this information and we anxiously await any further information Sue may discover!