LETTER: County should pay legal fees for clerk targeted by Voiland

To Ozaukee Press:

I recently read that Ozaukee County Clerk of Courts Mary Lou Mueller has asked the county to reimburse her for attorney fees she incurred in conjunction with investigations prompted by complaints made by Ozaukee County Judge Joseph Voiland.

Voiland accused Mueller, Court Commissioner Barry Boline and Judge Paul Malloy of committing acts of misconduct in public office in an effort to undermine Voiland’s career. Over a two-year period, Voiland’s complaints were investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation and by the Office of Wisconsin Courts.

The Department of Criminal Investigation dropped its investigation when Judge Voiland stopped cooperating with the investigation. The investigator hired by the state courts, a retired judge and former federal prosecutor, concluded that there was no basis to believe that Mueller, Boline or Malloy did anything wrong. Judge Voiland’s additional accusation that the clerk of court’s staff was mishandling funds in family law accounts was dispelled by an audit completed by the state courts.

The county should pay Ms. Mueller’s attorney fees, as she was accused by a judge of committing crimes. Randy Koshnick, the then-chief judge of the district that includes Ozaukee County and current director of state courts, joined Voiland at a meeting with attorneys from the attorney general’s staff. Also present was Judge Voiland’s attorney, the now-Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly. Mueller was also interviewed by two Department of Criminal Investigation agents in an unannounced visit orchestrated by Voiland at the Justice Center the day before the 2016 Christmas break.

It appears Ozaukee County is planning on denying Mueller’s request because the corporation counsel sat in with Mueller during the interview with the two agents and the county offered her, Boline and any other county employees an attorney to be hired by the county’s insurance carrier.        

Although I am confident the insurance carrier’s lawyer may have done a fine job, Mueller was right in hiring her own attorney. She was being accused of a serious crime which would carry with it criminal penalties, as opposed to civil damages.

Please read the investigative reports that can be found online. Mueller was vindicated, but to get to that point she had to retain attorneys to represent her. Her actions were reasonable and she should not have to spend over $33,000 defending herself against these false allegations.

John Hawley
Random Lake


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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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