Coroner, medical examiner duties; coroner compatibility. 59.34(1)(1)
Coroner; medical examiner; duties.
The coroner shall do all of the following:
Participate in inquest proceedings when required by law, except that in any county with a population of 500,000 or more and all counties which have instituted the medical examiner system this duty and the powers incident thereto shall be vested exclusively in the office of the medical examiner. Except as provided under s. 59.38 (5)
, the board shall appoint the medical examiner. The office may be occupied on a full-time or part-time basis and the officeholder shall be paid compensation as the board by ordinance provides. The duties performed by the county coroner and not vested in the medical examiner shall be performed by the clerk. The medical examiner may appoint such assistants as the board authorizes. Whenever requested by the court or district attorney, the medical examiner shall testify to facts and conclusions disclosed by autopsies performed by him or her, at his or her direction or in his or her presence; shall make physical examinations and tests incident to any matter of a criminal nature up for consideration before either the court or district attorney upon request; shall testify as an expert for either the court or the state in all matters where the examinations or tests have been made; and shall perform such other duties of a pathological or medicolegal nature as may be required.
When there is no sheriff or undersheriff in any county organized for judicial purposes, exercise all the powers and duties of sheriff of that county until a sheriff is elected or appointed and qualified; and when the sheriff for any cause is committed to the jail of that county, be keeper thereof during the time that the sheriff remains a prisoner therein.
Serve and execute process of every kind and perform all other duties of the sheriff when the sheriff is a party to the action and whenever the clerk of the circuit court addresses the original or other process in any action to the coroner as provided in s. 59.40 (2) (o)
, execute the same in like manner as the sheriff might do in other cases; exercise the same powers and proceed in the same manner as prescribed for sheriffs in the performance of similar duties; and in all cases the coroner and the coroner's sureties shall be liable in the same manner and to the same extent on the coroner's official bonds as sheriffs and their sureties are liable in similar cases.
Perform all other duties that are required by law.
Act as coroner in a nearby county when requested to do so under sub. (2) (b)
(2) Coroner; compatibility with other offices. 59.34(2)(a)(a)
Notwithstanding s. 979.04 (3)
and except as provided in par. (b)
, any person holding office under sub. (1)
may also serve as a volunteer emergency medical technician, first responder or volunteer fire fighter.
No person serving as a coroner under sub. (1)
who also serves as a volunteer emergency medical technician, volunteer first responder or a volunteer fire fighter may participate as a coroner in any case in which he or she may be required to participate as a volunteer emergency medical technician, volunteer first responder or a volunteer fire fighter. If an apparent or actual conflict of interest arises between the person's duties as coroner and as volunteer emergency medical technician, volunteer first responder or volunteer fire fighter, the deputy coroner shall act as coroner in the case in which the conflict exists. If there is no deputy coroner, the coroner shall request that the coroner, medical examiner, deputy coroner or a medical examiner's assistant in a nearby county act as coroner in the case in which the conflict exists. Any fees owed to or expenses incurred by the acting coroner from the nearby county shall be paid by the county that requested the acting coroner's services.
If a person serving as coroner under sub. (1)
is required to exercise the powers and duties of sheriff under sub. (1) (b)
, the deputy coroner shall act as coroner or, if there is no deputy coroner, the coroner shall request under the procedures in subd. 1.
that another person act as coroner until the coroner is no longer exercising the powers and duties of sheriff.
A county board in a county under 500,000 can abolish the elective office of coroner and implement a medical examiner system to be effective at the end of the incumbent coroner's term. 63 Atty. Gen. 361.
A medical examiner should be a qualified expert in pathology. 69 Atty. Gen. 44.
Appointment of law enforcement officers as assistant medical examiners creates an impermissible conflict between offices. 75 Atty. Gen. 28
Deputy coroner. 59.35(1)(1)
Within 10 days after entering upon the duties of the office, the coroner may appoint up to 6 proper persons, residents of the county, deputy coroner. The deputies shall reside in the county for which they are appointed. The coroner may fill vacancies in the office of any such appointees, and may appoint a person to take the place of any deputy who becomes incapable of executing the duties of the office. A person appointed deputy coroner for a regular term or to fill a vacancy or otherwise shall hold office during the pleasure of the coroner. Every appointment of a deputy coroner and every revocation of an appointment shall be in writing and filed and recorded in the office of the clerk of the circuit court. In case of a vacancy in the office of coroner, the chief deputy coroner shall in all things and with like liabilities and penalties execute the duties of the office until the vacancy is filled as provided by law.
The coroner shall be responsible for every default or misconduct in office of a deputy coroner during the coroner's term of office, and after the death, resignation or removal from office of the coroner as well as before; and an action for any such default or misconduct may be prosecuted against the coroner and the sureties on the coroner's official bond or against the executors and administrators of the coroner.
The coroner may require a deputy coroner, before entering upon the duties of the office, to execute and deliver to the coroner a bond in such sum and with such sureties as the coroner may require, conditioned for the faithful performance of the deputy's official duties; and every default or misconduct of the deputy coroner for which the coroner shall be liable shall be a breach of the bond.
Whenever a medical examiner has been appointed under s. 59.34 (1) (a)
, this section shall not apply in such counties, nor shall the coroner of such counties be responsible for any default or misconduct in office of the medical examiner.
A person holding office under this section may also serve as a volunteer emergency medical technician, a volunteer first responder, a volunteer fire fighter or a chief, deputy chief or assistant chief of a fire department.
A coroner can legally appoint a deputy after the time in sub. (1). 74 Atty. Gen. 198
The board shall set the fees for all services rendered by the coroner. The fees may not exceed an amount that is reasonably related to the actual and necessary cost of providing the service.
History: 1983 a. 146
; 1995 a. 201
; Stats. 1995 s. 59.36.
Service when no coroner.
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of coroner, or when the coroner is absent from the county, sick or unable to perform the duties of that office, or for any reason, except the nonpayment of legal fees, refuses to serve and execute legal process against the sheriff in any action commenced in any court of record within the county for which the coroner was or should have been elected, any judge of a court of record or court commissioner of the county may, on proof of the vacancy, sickness, absence or refusal to serve and execute such process, by an order to be endorsed on such process and addressed to him or her, empower any citizen of the county in which such process is to be served and executed to serve and execute the same; and that order shall be sufficient authority to the person therein named to serve and execute such process with like powers, liabilities and fees as the coroner.
History: 1977 c. 449
; 1995 a. 201
; Stats. 1995 s. 59.37.
Medical examiner and assistants. 59.38(1)
Medical examiner, assistants; salaries; fees; report.
The medical examiner and medical examiner's assistants authorized by the board shall be paid semimonthly out of the county treasury of the proper county, for the performance of all their official duties and in lieu of all other compensation, salaries to be fixed by the board. The medical examiner and medical examiner's assistants shall collect for all services performed, except in cases where the county is solely liable, all fees that coroners are by law entitled to receive, and shall keep accurate books of account in which shall be entered from day to day the items of services rendered, the titles of the proceedings in which and the names of the persons for whom rendered, and the fees charged and received, and shall, at the end of every 3 months, render to the board and to the treasurer an accurate report or statement, verified by his or her oath, of all fees and income collected by them or for them during the 3 months; and at the same time they shall pay to the treasurer all fees and incomes collected by them, or which they were entitled by law to charge or receive, not paid to the treasurer. The medical examiner or a medical examiner's assistant shall act as coroner in a nearby county when requested to do so under s. 59.34 (2) (b)
(2) Office and records.
The board shall provide for the use of the medical examiner suitable offices at the county seat, and the medical examiner shall keep in his or her office proper books containing records of all inquests held by the medical examiner, setting forth the time and place of holding the inquests and the names of the jurors serving thereon, together with a brief statement of the inquest proceedings.
(3) Medical examiner's bond.
Before entering upon the duties of office, the medical examiner of the county shall deliver to the clerk a bond, subscribed by 2 or more sufficient sureties, in such penal sum as the board determines, conditioned for the faithful performance of all official duties as set forth in this chapter and ch. 979
and that he or she will faithfully account for and pay to the treasurer of the county all moneys which may come to him or her belonging to the county, and which by virtue of this chapter and ch. 979
the medical examiner is required to account for and pay as aforesaid.
(4) Special counties; deputies and assistants; powers.
The medical examiner and his or her assistants shall be compensated for the performance of all their official duties by salaries fixed by the board under sub. (1)
(5) Medical examiner; appointment in populous counties.
In a county with a population of 500,000 or more, the county executive shall appoint the medical examiner in the unclassified service, subject to confirmation by a majority of the board. The medical examiner may be dismissed at any time by the county executive with the concurrence of a majority of the members-elect of the board, or by a majority of the members-elect of the board with the concurrence of the county executive. If the county executive vetoes an action by the board to dismiss the medical examiner, the board may override the veto by a two-thirds vote of the members-elect of the board.
History: 1995 a. 201
; 1997 a. 35
Coroner or medical examiner as funeral director, limitation.
No coroner, deputy coroner, medical examiner or assistant medical examiner who is a licensed funeral director, an owner or operator of a funeral establishment as defined in s. 445.01
, or an employee of a funeral establishment, and no funeral establishment with which such a coroner, deputy coroner, medical examiner or assistant medical examiner is associated, shall perform any of the services of a funeral director upon the body of any person whose death is required by law to be investigated by such coroner, his or her deputy, medical examiner or assistant medical examiner. Any person who violates this section shall be fined not more than $50.
Clerk of court. 59.40(1)(1)
Clerk of court; deputies; chief deputy; division chief deputies; calendar deputy clerk in certain counties. 59.40(1)(a)(a) Counties of less than 500,000 population.
Every clerk of the circuit court shall appoint one or more deputies and the appointments shall be approved by the majority of circuit judges for the county, but shall be revocable by the clerk at pleasure, except in counties having a population of 500,000 or more. The appointments and revocations shall be in writing and shall be filed in the clerk's office. The deputies shall aid the clerk in the discharge of the clerk's duties. In the absence of the clerk from the office or from the court, the deputies may perform all the clerk's duties; or in case of a vacancy by resignation, death, removal or other cause the deputy appointed shall perform all such duties until the vacancy is filled.
(b) Counties of more than 500,000 population.
In counties having a population of 500,000 or more the clerk shall appoint one chief deputy and 4 assistant chief deputy clerks, 3 calendar deputy clerks, and one or more deputy clerks as the board authorizes. The deputy clerks shall aid the clerk in the discharge of the clerk's duties under the supervision of the clerk, the chief deputy clerk and the assistant chief deputy clerks. The appointments of the chief deputy clerk who is exempt from classified civil service and the calendar deputy clerks shall be in writing and filed in the clerk's office. These appointments shall be approved by the chief judge of the judicial administrative district, but are revocable at the pleasure of the clerk. The chief deputy clerk has all powers and duties of assistant chief deputy clerks, deputy clerks, and other court assistants except bailiffs and reporters and in the absence of the clerk from the office or from the court, the chief deputy clerk may perform all of the clerk's duties; or in case of a vacancy by resignation, death, removal or other cause the chief deputy clerk shall perform all such duties until the vacancy is filled.
(2) Clerk of court; to keep court papers, books and records.
The clerk of circuit court shall:
File and keep all papers properly deposited with him or her in every action or proceeding unless required to transmit the papers. The papers may be microfilmed or microphotographed, or transferred to optical disks or electronic format if authorized under s. 59.52 (14)
, and the originals may thereafter be destroyed upon compliance with SCR chapter 72
Keep a court record and write in that record the names of parties in every civil action or proceeding in the court, the names of attorneys representing the parties, a brief statement of the nature of the action or proceeding, the date of filing every paper therein and of each proceeding taken, the file in which the papers can be found, the time when the action or proceeding is put on the calendar for trial, and when and how the action or proceeding is disposed of; the location where minutes in every case can be found and the place in the judgment record or microfilm or optical disc or electronic file where any judgment, order or report has been recorded, so as to make the court record a history in brief of each action or proceeding from beginning to final disposition; and a complete index of all proceedings therein.
Keep a criminal record and write in that record a history in every criminal action like the court record in civil actions and proceedings with references to the file where papers in the action can be found, to the minute record and to the information record where indictments and informations can be found.
Keep a minute record and, except for actions under ch. 799
, write in that record a brief statement of all proceedings in open court showing motions and orders during trial, names of witnesses, jurors selected, the officer sworn to take them in charge, jury verdicts and openings and adjournments of court. The clerk, in lieu of keeping a minute record, may elect to incorporate in the appropriate court record, civil or criminal, the data which this paragraph requires to be recorded.
Keep a judgment and lien docket of all money judgments of the court, transcripts from judgment and lien dockets of other Wisconsin courts and of federal courts, warrants for unemployment insurance and warrants for delinquent Wisconsin income or franchise taxes.
Keep a judgment and lien docket of all claims for liens filed by contractors, subcontractors, materialmen and laborers and all claims filed for log, mining and maintenance liens.
Keep an index to the court record, the criminal record, the judgment record and the lien record.
File, enter, record and keep such other papers, books and records as are required by law.
Keep a record called registers of officials and write or copy in the record in tabular form the names of court commissioners, deputy sheriffs, notaries public and municipal judges. The clerk shall list the officers' names, the dates of their qualification and the commencement and termination, if any, of their terms. The names shall be in alphabetical order or there shall be an index in alphabetical order to the names.
Keep a record called certificate lists and write or copy in the record a list of all certificates issued by him or her to witnesses, interpreters, jurors, sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and deputy clerks, stating the persons to whom issued, the number, date and amount of each certificate. At each annual session of the board, the board may request that the clerk prepare a summary report of certificates issued in the previous year.
Send to the secretary of state on or before June 1 of each year a certified list of all municipal judges who filed their official bonds during the preceding year.
Pay monthly to the treasurer for the use of the state the state's percentage of the fees required to be paid on each civil action, criminal action and special proceeding filed during the preceding month and pay monthly to the treasurer for the use of the state the percentage of court imposed fines and forfeitures required by law to be deposited in the state treasury, the amounts required by s. 757.05
for the penalty assessment surcharge, the amounts required by s. 165.755
for the crime laboratories and drug law enforcement assessment, the amounts required by s. 167.31 (5)
for the weapons assessment, the amounts required by s. 973.045
for the crime victim and witness assistance surcharge, the amounts required by s. 938.34 (8d)
for the delinquency victim and witness assistance surcharge, the amounts required by s. 973.046
for the deoxyribonucleic acid analysis surcharge, the amounts required by s. 961.41 (5)
for the drug abuse program improvement surcharge, the amounts required by s. 100.261
for the consumer information assessment, the amounts authorized by s. 971.37 (1m) (c) 1.
or required by s. 973.055
for the domestic abuse assessment surcharge, the amounts required by s. 253.06 (4) (c)
for the enforcement assessment under the supplemental food program for women, infants and children, the amounts required by ss. 346.177
and 346.65 (4r)
for the railroad crossing improvement assessment, the amounts required by s. 346.655
for the driver improvement surcharge, the amounts required by s. 102.85 (4)
for the uninsured employer assessment, the amounts required by s. 299.93
for the environmental assessment, the amounts required under s. 29.983
for the wild animal protection assessment, the amounts required under s. 29.987 (1) (d)
for the natural resources assessment surcharge, the amounts required by s. 29.985
for the fishing shelter removal assessment, the amounts required by s. 350.115
for the snowmobile registration restitution payment and the amounts required under s. 29.989 (1) (d)
for the natural resources restitution payments. The payments shall be made by the 15th day of the month following receipt thereof.
Pay monthly to the treasurer the amounts required by s. 302.46 (1)
for the jail assessment surcharge. The payments shall be made by the 15th day of the month following receipt thereof.
Address process to the coroner if a party, the party's agent or the party's attorney files an affidavit that the party believes the sheriff will not properly perform the sheriff's duty in such action.
Cooperate with the department of workforce development with respect to the child and spousal support and establishment of paternity and medical liability support program under ss. 49.22
and 59.53 (5)
, and provide that department with any information from court records which it requires to administer that program.
Perform all other duties that are required by law.
(3) Clerk of court; fees; investment of funds. 59.40(3)(a)(a)
The clerk of the circuit court shall collect the fees that are prescribed in ss. 814.60
. The clerk may refuse to accept any paper for filing or recording until the fee prescribed in subch. II of ch. 814
or any applicable statute is paid.
Except as provided in par. (c)
, the clerk may invest any funds that are paid into his or her office and are being held for repayment. The investments shall be made in suitably protected accounts in the manner specified in s. 66.0603 (1)
[s. 66.0603 (1m)
] and all income that may accrue shall be paid into the county general fund.
NOTE: The bracketed language indicates the correct cross-reference. Corrective legislation is pending.
A judge may direct that par. (b)
does not apply to certain funds paid into the office. The judge's authority applies only to funds relating to cases before his or her court.
(4) Clerk of circuit court; collection agency contract.
If authorized by the board under s. 59.52 (28)
, the clerk of circuit court may contract with a collection agency for the collection of unpaid fines and forfeitures. Any contract entered into shall provide that the collection agency shall be paid from the proceeds recovered by the collection agency. The net proceeds received by the clerk of circuit court after the payment to the collection agency shall be considered the amount of fines and forfeitures collected for purposes of distribution to the state and county under sub. (2) (m)
History: 1995 a. 27
; 1995 a. 201
; 1995 a. 224
; 1995 a. 227
; 1995 a. 279
; 1995 a. 404
; 1995 a. 438
; 1995 a. 448
; Sup. Ct. Order No. 96-08
, 207 Wis. 2d xv (1997); 1997 a. 3
; 1997 a. 35
; 1997 a. 39
; 1999 a. 9
; 1999 a. 150
Cross-references: Furnish information to the state registrar of vital statistics, ss. 69.01 (5), 69.12 (1), 69.14 (1) (h), 69.15 (1) (b), 69.16 (2), 69.17, 69.19 and 69.21 (4) (b).
Collect and disburse maintenance and support payments, ch. 767.
Furnish information to the judicial council, s. 758.13.
Authenticate, certify and transmit documents, ss. 753.30, 801.61, 809.15, 889.08 and 889.09.
Receive bail as provided by law, ch. 818 and ch. 969.
Perform duties with respect to jurors, ch. 756.
Care for county law library, s. 757.40.
Tax costs and collect fees, ch. 814.
Issue executions and writs of assistance, ch. 815.
Issue and sign subpoenas, s. 885.01.
Keep a lien docket, s. 779.07.
A clerk of court who customarily supplies an affidavit form to persons claiming witness fees cannot refuse one to a person whom he believes not entitled to such fees. State ex rel. Hurley v. Schmidley, 48 Wis. 2d 659
, 180 N.W.2d 605
Under s. 59.42 (1) [now 59.40 (3) (a)], a clerk retains discretion to refuse to file documents unless the fee is tendered, even though the standard may result in inconsistent policies among the counties. Giese v. LIRC, 153 Wis. 2d 212
, 450 N.W.2d 489
(Ct. App. 1989).
The payment to a county under s. 59.42 (2) [now 59.40 (3) (b)] of interest earned on a condemnation award deposited with the clerk is not an unconstitutional taking. Brongman v. Douglas County, 164 Wis. 2d 718
, 476 N.W.2d 611
(Ct. App. 1991).
The express powers to appoint and discharge deputies under this section are separate from those of the county and are not subject to a collective bargaining agreement entered into by the county. Crawford County v. WERC, 177 Wis. 2d 66
, 501 N.W.2d 836
(Ct. App. 1993).
Crawford County v. WERC is restricted to its facts. Deputized employees, apart from the chief deputy, are exempt from the terms of collective bargaining agreements only to the extent that they are managerial or supervisory employees. Eau Claire County v. AFSCME Local 2223, 190 Wis. 2d 298
, 526 N.W.2d 802
(Ct. App. 1994).
Removal by the court clerk of an employee with dual employment status as deputy court clerk and judicial assistant from the judicial assistant position was not authorized by sub. (1). The removal was subject to the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. Winnebago County v. Courthouse Employees Association, 196 Wis. 2d 733
, 540 N.W.2d 240
(Ct. App. 1995).
For a paper to be filed, it must be properly deposited with the clerk under s. 59.40 (2). "Properly" connotes complying with formality or correctness, but is not susceptible to exact definition. The delivery of papers to the clerk at his home after business hours was too far removed from legislative guidelines to be considered "properly deposited." Granado v. Sentry Insurance, 228 Wis. 2d 794
, 599 N.W.2d 62
(Ct. App. 1999).
A county civil service ordinance enacted under s. 59.07 (20) [now 59.52 (8)] or a collective bargaining agreement under s. 111.70, establishing a procedure to be followed prior to discharge of a classified employee, supersede and modify s. 59.38 (1) [now s. 59.40 (1) (a)]. 63 Atty. Gen. 147.
Clerks of court may not send original records of criminal cases to the public defender prior to appeal unless a judge authorizes the release. 69 Atty. Gen. 63.
Not to act as attorney.
No person acting as clerk of any circuit court in this state may practice as an attorney or solicitor in the court in which the person is acting as clerk; and the person shall not be eligible for the office of municipal judge during the time that the person holds the office of the clerk.
History: 1977 c. 305
; 1995 a. 201
; Stats. 1995 s. 59.41.