Gaskell sworn in as Vernon County Circuit Court Judge

VIROQUA, Wis. – Former Vernon County District Attorney Timothy J. Gaskell was sworn in as Vernon County Circuit Court Judge on Thursday, August 3 in front of a full courtroom of family, friends and colleagues at the Vernon County Courthouse. Gaskell was sworn in by La Crosse County Circuit Court Judge Scott Horne along with a number current and former judges from surrounding counties in attendance.

Gaskell takes over for retiring Vernon County Circuit Court Judge Darcy Rood who won the seat six years ago by defeating Gaskell. In April Gaskell defeated local attorney Angela Palmer-Fisher to win the judges seat in a race that could not have been much closer with only 180 votes separating the two candidates out of 9,390 votes. Gaskell tallied 4,785 votes to Palmer-Fisher’s 4,605. You can read our previous story about that race here.

La Crosse County Circuit Court Judge Scott Horne and Timothy Gaskell

Gaskell thanked his supporters and family for helping in the election and throughout his years in both in private practice and in his 20 years as district attorney.

“I was blessed every day going to work,” said Gaskell. “I absolutely loved what I did. Loved working with law enforcement. So as I stand here before you today, there are still many emotions. There’s excitement, for what’s to come. There is anxiety, for what’s to come. And there is some sadness, because of the relationships we have built over the years with law enforcement. I am so thankful to them, and again I was blessed every day.”

Travis Gaskell presenting his father Timothy Gaskell with his judge’s robe

Many of Gaskell’s extended family were in attendance for the event including his father, wife, children, and two sisters.

Palmer-Fisher now takes over Gaskell’s Dictrict Attorney seat after being appointed by Governor Tony Evers to replace him. In talking to court officials there will likely be an unknown period of transition as Gaskell takes the judges bench and Palmer-Fisher the prosecutors seat. Many of the cases currently going through the Vernon County Court have conflicts of interest because they are cases that Gaskell may have been prosecuting or Palmer-Fisher may have been representing. In talking to Gaskell and Palmer-Fisher a potential solution might be to have Gaskell sit on the bench in Grant County for criminal cases for newly elected Judge Lisa Riniker and have Riniker sit on the bench in Vernon County until most of those conflict of interest cases work there way through the court. That arrangement could be in place for as long as a year before Gaskell and Riniker are able to hear the criminal cases in their own county. Riniker has a similar conflict of interest issue in Grant County since she was also serving as that county’s district attorney before being elected to the bench.

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