Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Judge Drettwan takes the bench

by Rob Ireland

February 06, 2014

ELKHORN — It was a ceremony for Judge Kristen Drettwan, but the new judge wanted to make sure her family was also recognized.
After she was sworn into the office, Drettwan thanked those who helped her professionally and her family for supporting her.
When talking to her parents, she thanked them and surprised them with a bouquet of flowers that she had hidden behind Judge John Carlson’s bench.
Drettwan had previously been officially sworn into the office, but a ceremonial event was held Jan. 30 in Judge James Carlsons’ courtroom in front of a large crowd of Drettwan’s family, friends and colleagues.
Although those in attendance were mostly attorneys, judges and other politicians, there were some light-hearted moments during the ceremony.
Judge Phillip Koss, Drettwan’s former boss, spoke highly of Drettwan before hinting of a possibly embarrassing story. Before he could get too far into the story, Drettwan chimed in, “You promised.”
“Not everything is great,” Koss joked. “She is a Viking’s fan.”

The ceremony
A who’s who of the Walworth County legal system attended the event. Walworth County judges Koss, Carlson, David Reddy and retired judges John Race and Robert Kennedy were there. Appeals Court Judge Lisa S. Neubauer, circuit court judges from surrounding counties and a number of Walworth County municipal judges also were in attendance. A number of elected officials also witnessed the ceremony including Sheriff David Graves, Clerk of Circuit Court Sheila Reiff, District Attorney Daniel Necci, State Rep. Stephen Nass and County Board Chairwoman Nancy Russell.

In fact, so many people attended the event that Carlson’s courtroom was overcapacity and some attendees had to sit in another chamber.
Drettwan’s children started the ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance.
A prayer was given by Gerald Petersen, a retired pastor from Sugar Creek Lutheran Church. Petersen described Drettwan as a person of “deep-faith and high-integrity.”
“She has an extensive desire to understand and obtain the truth,” Petersen said.
Koss, who hired Drettwan as an assistant district attorney in 1996, said he originally had someone else in mind for the job.
However, Drettwan impressed Koss during the interview, and he changed his plans.
“We thought she was going to be perfect for Walworth County and she has been,” Drettwan said.
Koss described the event as historic, Drettwan is Walworth County’s first woman judge. However, he was quick to point out that Drettwan was appointed because of her credentials, not her gender.
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