Trial Procedures

All trials are held in the municipal courtroom, currently held at the Village Center, located at 3920 N. Murray Ave., Shorewood, WI 53211. Trial audio is recorded digitally.

You can represent yourself or you can have an attorney appear with you and handle the presentation of your case. If you hire an attorney, you must pay for the attorney yourself.

You can testify yourself and you can present other witnesses. If you need assistance in issuing a subpoena to compel a witness to appear at the trial, you should contact the court clerk at (414) 847-2617. You will have to arrange for service of the subpoenas thru the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department. Please allow at least two weeks before the trial to obtain and have the subpoenas served. There is no charge for obtaining subpoenas, but if you lose at trial you may be required to pay witness fees plus mileage.

If you wish to offer documents as part of the presentation of your case, you certainly can do so. Please bring copies for the village prosecutor and the court.

The Village of Shorewood will present its case first. The Village, through the village prosecutor, must prove you are guilty of violating the ordinance indicated on the citation issued to you. The Village has the burden of proof. The standard of proof that the Village must meet is called clear, satisfactory, and convincing evidence.

You have the opportunity to question all witnesses you call during the presentation of your case. That is called direct examination. Also, you can question all witnesses that the Village presents as part of its case. That is called cross-examination. Closing arguments are permitted as well.

Usually, the Judge will render a decision the same night that the trial is held. Occasionally, the Judge will take the case under advisement and issue a written decision within 30 days of the trial date.

If the Judge determines the Village failed to meet its burden of proof, you will be found not guilty. However, if the Judge determines the Village satisfied its burden of proof, you will be found guilty. Upon a guilty verdict, the Judge will impose a sentence. Typically, the sentence will include a forfeiture (fine) of some amount. However, there may be other components of the sentence depending on the nature of your specific case, including demerit points against your driver’s license, suspension of your driver’s license, and restitution for damage to property.

Suggestions

For your case to receive the greatest consideration possible, there are several things you should do in advance of trial.

  • Read the ordinance. Know which elements of the ordinance the Village must prove.
  • Make a list of witnesses, if any, that you would like to present. Arrange for their attendance voluntarily or by subpoena.
  • Make a list of questions you would like to ask witnesses.
  • Obtain and prepare any documents or other evidence you wish to present at trial.

NOTE: The Judge will have no information about your case except what is presented at trial.