County circuit court race
Cveykus and Corbett vie to be Marathon County’s sixth judge
Voters will select a new, sixth Marathon County Circuit Court judge at the Tuesday, April 6, election. The candidates are Wausau-based private attorney Dan Cveykus and Scott Corbett, who currently serves as corporation counsel for Marathon County.
Recent interviews were conducted with both candidates.
Dan Cveykus is a Weston native who graduated from D.C. Everest High School before serving as a military police officer in the Army for three years. He attended UW-Marathon County and earned a degree in social behavior and law from UWMadison. A graduate of Drake Law School, he served as district attorney’s intern in Iowa and has gone on to serve as a private lawyer, mostly as a criminal defense attorney, in Wausau for 28 years.
Cveykus is a member of the Marathon County Bar Association. A resident of Kronenwetter, he has served as that village’s municipal court judge starting in 2005. He is a member of the Wausau Elks Club. He is single with no children, but enjoys family life with 13 nieces and nephews and 24 grand-nieces and nephews.
Cveykus said that he has had a wide ranging law practice, handling criminal cases, but also divorces and business matters. He said he has the right temperament to be a judge and has overseen a wide variety of cases in Kronenwetter.
The candidate said he was an early proponent of the county’s OWI court and, now that state law will send fifth and sixth OWI offenders to prison, he supports finding new ways to assist alcoholics getting treatment.
“We have to find a way to get people help,” he said. Cveykus said a judge’s job is not to change the law, but to deal with the person accused of a crime and, in a criminal matter, pursue justice, both for the defendant and also the victim.
Cvekykus said he supports current efforts to pursue justice alternatives in order to save jail beds and protect the taxpayer’s wallet.
“I’m a taxpayer, too, and I don’t want to pay for people in jail who should not be there,” he said.
Cveykus said he is “not a politician” but thinks his long experience as a lawyer and municipal judge will prove “very helpful” as a circuit court judge.
Scott Corbett was born in Madison, raised in Appleton and graduated with a degree in English from Lawrence University. He received a law degree from North Dakota Law School and began practice in Cando, N.D. He continued in private practice at the Stauber and Juncer Law Office in Marshfield before moving to Wausau in 1989.
Corbett has worked 30 years in the Marathon County Office of Corporation Counsel and has served as the county’s chief legal counsel since 2008. He has appeared twice before the Wisconsin Supreme Court and has written more than 20 appellate court briefs.
Corbett is a a member of Kiwanis and the Elks Club. He is married with three children.
The candidate says he is “personally conservative” and, in terms of judicial philosophy, said he holds an originalist point of view. He does not believe the meaning of the U.S. Constitution evolves over time, but is static. Likewise, Corbett said, he is a textualist, believing that judges need to use the plain meaning of words in state statutes to interpret them, rather than guessing at the intent of legislators.
Corbett said this philosophy has been affirmed by watching how the Marathon County Board of Supervisors has adopted ordinances over the past three decades.
He said the “the number one responsibility of a judge” is protection of the community while pursuing justice, which is “a perfection you strive for in whatever you are doing.”
Corbett said he supports justice alternatives, but stresses that a judge’s job is to give criminal defendants “personal attention” and concern.
“You look that person in the eye and talk about the things that person needs to accomplish,” he said. “If you don’t think you can make a difference, then you wouldn’t run for judge.”
Corbett said jail is a useful tool. “The community is protected from future offenses when a defendant is in jail,” he said.
The candidate said judges need to measure how effective they are in turning lives around, looking at how many defendants reoffend. “You need to have the courage to see what the data is showing you,” he said.
Corbett said any new judge to the county will be tasked with dealing with a backlog of 50 to 100 trials that have been delayed due to COVID-19.
“I have a very broad base of experience,” he said. “I hope I can help the situation.”