59.40 History History: 1995 a. 27 ss. 3290, 3291; 1995 a. 201 ss. 311 to 318, 320 to 322, 325; 1995 a. 224 ss. 11 to 13; 1995 a. 227 s. 203; 1995 a. 279 s. 8; 1995 a. 404 s. 185; 1995 a. 438; 1995 a. 448 s. 61; Sup. Ct. Order No. 96-08, 207 Wis. 2d xv (1997); 1997 a. 3, 27; 1997 a. 35 ss. 185, 186; 1997 a. 39, 135, 148, 191, 237, 248, 252; 1999 a. 9, 32; 1999 a. 150 s. 672; 2001 a. 16, 56, 61, 105; 2003 a. 33, 139, 321, 326; 2005 a. 25, 59, 204; 2007 a. 20; 2013 a. 107, 164; 2015 a. 55, 196; 2017 a. 207 s. 5.
59.40 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See 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) as to furnishing information to the state registrar of vital statistics.
59.40 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See s. 758.13 as to furnishing information to the judicial council.
59.40 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See ss. 753.30, 801.61, 809.15, 889.08, and 889.09 as to authenticating, certifying, and transmitting documents.
59.40 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See chs. 818 and 969 as to receiving bail.
59.40 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See ch. 756 as to performing duties with respect to jurors.
59.40 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See s. 757.40 as to care for the county law library.
59.40 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See ch. 814 as to taxing costs and collecting fees.
59.40 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See ch. 815 as to issuing executions and writs of assistance.
59.40 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See s. 885.01 as to issuing and signing subpoenas.
59.40 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See s. 779.07 as to keeping a lien docket.
59.40 Annotation When a clerk of court customarily supplied an affidavit form to persons claiming witness fees, the statutes, as well as custom and common sense, required the clerk to furnish the form affidavit for signing, and entitled the petitioner to expect that the service, routinely furnished others, would be available to him. State ex rel. Hurley v. Schmidley, 48 Wis. 2d 659, 180 N.W.2d 605 (1970).
59.40 Annotation Under s. 59.42 (1) [now s. 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).
59.40 Annotation The payment to a county under s. 59.42 (2) [now s. 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).
59.40 Annotation 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).
59.40 Annotation Crawford County v. WERC is restricted to its facts. Deputized employees, apart from a 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).
59.40 Annotation Removal by the clerk of court 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), 94-2504.
59.40 Annotation 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. 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), 98-3675.
59.40 Annotation Except for their elected superior's power to appoint and discharge, chief deputies are subject to the Municipal Employment Relations Act, ss. 111.70 to 111.77, and are not excluded from a collective bargaining unit as a matter of law. Oneida County v. WERC, 2000 WI App 191, 238 Wis. 2d 763, 618 N.W.2d 891, 00-0466.
59.40 Annotation When read in conjunction with s. 32.05 (7) (d), sub. (3) (c) empowers a circuit judge to veto the clerk's authority to invest a condemnation award and to direct the clerk to transfer the award from the clerk's control into a private account for the benefit of the persons named in the award or to otherwise invest the funds for the benefit of those persons. Sub. (3) (c) empowers a circuit judge not only to veto the clerk's authority to invest and control the interest on condemnation awards but also to veto the clerk's authority over “certain" other funds deposited with the clerk, so long as the funds relate to a case before the judge's court. HSBC Realty Credit Corporation v. City of Glendale, 2007 WI 94, 303 Wis. 2d 1, 735 N.W.2d 77, 05-1042.
59.40 Annotation Granado holds that the court clerk as a constitutional officer has the discretion to adopt a policy, as long as the policy complies with the statutory guidelines indicating when and where the clerk's duties should be performed. In his or her discretion, the clerk may adopt a policy that is flexible or one that restricts filings to regular business hours. Hartford Citizens for Responsible Government v. City of Hartford Board of Zoning Appeals, 2008 WI App 107, 313 Wis. 2d 431, 756 N.W.2d 454, 07-1265.
59.40 Annotation A county civil service ordinance enacted under s. 59.07 (20) [now s. 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, supersedes and modifies s. 59.38 (1) [now s. 59.40 (1) (a)]. 63 Atty. Gen. 147.
59.40 Annotation 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.
59.41 59.41 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.
59.41 History History: 1977 c. 305, 449; 1995 a. 201 s. 323; Stats. 1995 s. 59.41.
59.42 59.42 Corporation counsel.
59.42(1)(1)Corporation counsel; certain counties.
59.42(1)(a) (a) Except as provided under par. (b), in counties not having a population of 750,000 or more, the board may employ a corporation counsel, and fix the salary of the corporation counsel. The corporation counsel appointed under this paragraph may be terminated at any time by a majority vote of all the members of the board.
59.42(1)(b) (b) In any county with a county executive or county administrator, the county executive or county administrator shall have the authority to appoint and supervise the corporation counsel if the board authorizes the establishment of the office of corporation counsel. Such appointment shall be subject to confirmation by the board unless the board, by ordinance, elects to waive confirmation or unless the appointment is made under a civil service system competitive examination procedure established under s. 59.52 (8) or ch. 63. The corporation counsel may be removed by the county executive or county administrator with the concurrence of the board unless the corporation counsel is appointed under such an examination procedure.
59.42(1)(c) (c) The corporation counsel may, when authorized by a majority of the board, appoint one or more assistant corporation counsels to aid the corporation counsel in the performance of the duties of corporation counsel. The assistants so appointed shall have authority to perform all the duties of the corporation counsel. The duties of the corporation counsel shall be limited to civil matters and may include giving legal opinions to the board and its committees and interpreting the powers and duties of the board and county officers. Whenever any of the powers and duties conferred upon the corporation counsel are concurrent with similar powers or duties conferred by law upon the district attorney, the district attorney's powers or duties shall cease to the extent that they are so conferred upon the corporation counsel and the district attorney shall be relieved of the responsibility for performing such powers or duties. Opinions of the corporation counsel on all such matters shall have the same effect as opinions of the district attorney. The corporation counsel may request the attorney general to consult and advise with the corporation counsel in the same manner as district attorneys as provided by s. 165.25 (3).
59.42(2) (2) Corporation counsel in special counties; appointment, dismissal and duties.
59.42(2)(a) (a) In a county with a population of 750,000 or more there is created the office of corporation counsel, and such deputy corporation counsels, assistants, stenographers and clerks at such salaries as are authorized by the board. The corporation counsel and deputy and assistant corporation counsels shall be attorneys at law licensed to practice in this state. All such offices and positions shall be in the classified civil service of the county except the corporation counsel, who is in the unclassified service. The corporation counsel shall be appointed by the county executive, with the concurrence of a majority of the board and shall not serve at the pleasure of the county executive. Any incumbent corporation counsel serving on August 1, 1990, shall retain that position and title until a new appointee is confirmed by the board. The corporation counsel may be dismissed at any time by the county executive with the concurrence of a majority of the members-elect of the board. The corporation counsel may also be dismissed at any time by a majority vote of the board. If the county executive vetoes an action by the board to dismiss the corporation counsel, the board may override the veto by a two-thirds vote of the members-elect of the board. The corporation counsel shall appoint deputies, assistants and clerical and stenographic help. Deputy corporation counsels shall have, according to their rank and seniority, the powers and duties of the corporation counsel in his or her absence or disability. The corporation counsel and deputy corporation counsels shall take and file the constitutional oath of office.
59.42(2)(b) (b) The duties of the corporation counsel and assistant corporation counsels shall be, without limitation because of enumeration, to:
59.42(2)(b)1. 1. Prosecute and defend all civil actions, proceedings, applications and motions in any court, commission, board, tribunal or body in any jurisdiction of this or other states or of the nation in which the county or any board, commission, committee or officer thereof is interested or a party by virtue of the office; and shall in like manner represent or assist in representing the state, or any commission, board, agency or tribunal of the state, in such civil actions or proceedings when requested to do so by the attorney general or when the district attorney of the county is required by any statute to do so.
59.42(2)(b)2. 2. Give advice to the board, county park commission, county department under s. 46.215 or 46.22 and other departments, boards, commissions, committees, agencies or officers of the county, when requested, in all civil matters in which the county or state is interested or relating to the discharge of the official duties of such departments, boards, commissions, committees, agencies or officers; examine all claims against the county for officers', interpreters', witnesses' and jurors' fees in civil actions and examinations, when presented to the county board of supervisors, and report in writing thereto as to the liability of the county for any and all claims of whatever nature filed against it; and act as legislative counsel for the county board of supervisors when so authorized by it.
59.42(2)(b)3. 3. Serve as legal adviser to the county highway commissioner and county highway committee, draw all papers required in the performance of their duties and attend to all civil legal matters in and out of court where the commissioner or committee is a party or wherein the acquisition of lands for state or county highway purposes is concerned.
59.42(2)(b)4. 4. Perform all duties in connection with civil matters relating to the county or any agency, board, commission or officer thereof or to the state within the county that are imposed by any statute upon the district attorney of the county and for such purposes the term “district attorney" wherever it appears in the statutes relating to duties of a civil nature shall, with regard to counties containing a population of 750,000 or more, mean the corporation counsel. Opinions of the corporation counsel shall have the same force and effect as opinions of the district attorney except that in matters relating to elections the district attorney shall have the right of review. After May 17, 1957, the district attorney's powers and duties as to civil matters shall cease to the extent that they are conferred upon the corporation counsel and the district attorney shall be relieved of the responsibility of performing such duties. The corporation counsel may request the attorney general to consult and advise with the corporation counsel in the same manner as district attorneys under s. 165.25 (3).
59.42(2)(b)5. 5. Review and countersign all contracts to verify that the contracts comply with all statutes, rules, ordinances, and the county's ethics policy. This subdivision applies only in a county with a population of 750,000 or more.
59.42(3) (3) Corporation counsel; attorney designee. In lieu of employing a corporation counsel under sub. (1) or in addition to employing a corporation counsel under sub. (1) or (2) (a), a board shall designate an attorney to perform the duties of a corporation counsel as the need arises. Two or more counties may jointly designate an attorney to perform the duties of a corporation counsel. If an attorney has been designated to perform the duties of a corporation counsel, that person may exercise any powers and perform any duties of the corporation counsel.
59.42 History History: 1995 a. 201 ss. 158, 324, 329, 330, 332, 333; 2011 a. 62; 2017 a. 207 s. 5.
59.42 Annotation Under s. 59.07 (44) [now 59.42 (1)], a corporation counsel may apprise a county board of the consequences, both civil and criminal, that result from specific actions of the board. State v. Davis, 63 Wis. 2d 75, 216 N.W.2d 31 (1974).
59.42 Annotation A corporation counsel should provide legal advice and representation to ss. 51.42/51.437 boards, as well as to the county board. 63 Atty. Gen. 468.
59.42 AnnotationAppointment, supervision, and removal of a corporation counsel is discussed. 72 Atty. Gen. 161.
59.42 Annotation In a county with a population of under 500,000 [now 750,000] with a county executive and a salaried corporation counsel, the county board may retain the services of a private attorney to provide legal services in civil matters to the county board and human resources department. The county board must authorize, approve, and establish the parameters for such contracts; contract negotiation and administration are duties performed by the county executive. OAG 1-13.
59.43 59.43 Register of deeds; duties, fees, deputies.
59.43(1b)(1b)Definition. In this section, “book," if automated equipment is used, may include forms, tab or computer printed sheets as well as cards and other supply forms which although processed separately may be bound after preparation.
59.43(1c) (1c) Register of deeds; duties. Subject to sub. (1m), the register of deeds shall:
59.43(1c)(a) (a) Record or cause to be recorded in suitable books to be kept in his or her office, correctly and legibly all deeds, mortgages, instruments, and writings authorized by law to be recorded in his or her office and left with him or her for that purpose, provided the documents have plainly printed or typewritten on the document the names of the grantors, grantees, witnesses, and notary. The register of deeds shall record or file or cause to be recorded or filed all plats and certified survey maps that are authorized to be accepted for recording or filing in his or her office. Any county, by a resolution adopted by the board, may combine the separate books or volumes for deeds, mortgages, miscellaneous instruments, attachments, lis pendens, sales and notices, certificates of organization of corporations, plats, or other recorded or filed instruments or classes of documents as long as separate indexes may be produced. Notwithstanding any other provisions of the statutes, any county adopting a system of microfilming or like process or a system of recording documents by optical imaging or electronic formatting under ch. 228 may substitute the headings, reel, disc, or electronic file name and microfilm image (frame) for volume and page where recorded and different classes of instruments may be recorded, reproduced, or copied on or transferred to the same reel, disc, or electronic file or part of a reel or disc. All recordings made prior to June 28, 1961, that would have been valid under this paragraph, had this paragraph then been in effect, are validated by this paragraph.
59.43(1c)(b) (b) Perform the duties that are related to vital records under ss. 69.05 and 69.07.
59.43(1c)(c) (c) State upon the record of any conveyance of real estate the real estate transfer fee paid or, if the conveyance is not subject to a fee, the reason for the exemption, citing the relevant subsection of s. 77.25.
59.43(1c)(d) (d) Keep safely and maintain the documents, images of recorded documents and indexes mentioned in this section and in s. 84.095 in the manner required.
59.43(1c)(e) (e) Endorse upon each instrument or writing received by the register for record a certificate of the date and time when it was received, specifying the day, hour and minute of reception, which shall be evidence of such facts. Instruments shall be recorded in the order in which they are received.
59.43(1c)(f) (f) Endorse plainly on each instrument a number consecutive to the number assigned to the immediately previously recorded or filed instrument, such that all numbers are unique for each instrument within a group of public records that are kept together as a unit and relate to a particular subject.
59.43(1c)(g) (g) Safely keep and return to the party entitled thereto, on demand within a reasonable time, every instrument that is left with the register for record not required by law to be kept in the register's office.
59.43(1c)(h) (h) Register, file and index all marriages contracted, deaths and births occurring in the county.
59.43(1c)(i) (i) Make and deliver to any person, on demand and upon payment of the required fees, a certified copy, with the register's official seal affixed, of any record, paper, file, map or plat in the register's office.
59.43(1c)(j) (j) File and safely keep in the register's office all of the records, documents and papers of any post of the Grand Army of the Republic and of any historical society in the register's county.
59.43(1c)(k) (k) Keep an index of all organizational documents of corporations, fraternal societies, religious organizations, associations, and other entities, and all amendments of the documents, that are allowed or required by law to be filed or recorded in the register's office. The index shall be accessible and searchable by the name of the corporation, fraternal society, religious organization, association, or other entity and shall contain a reference to the document number of the organizational document or amendment and, if given on the document, the volume and page where the organizational document or amendment is filed or recorded in the register's office.
59.43(1c)(L) (L) Record all documents pertaining to security interests, as defined in s. 401.201 (2) (t), that are required or authorized by law to be recorded with the register. Except as otherwise prescribed by the department of financial institutions under subch. V of ch. 409, these documents shall be executed in a manner that satisfies the requirements set forth in sub. (2m) (b) 1. to 5.
59.43(1c)(m) (m) Keep these chattel documents in consecutive numerical arrangement, for the inspection of all persons, endorsing on each document the document number and the date and time of reception.
59.43(1c)(n) (n) Upon the recording of a financing statement or other document evidencing the creation of a security interest, as defined in s. 401.201 (2) (t), required to be filed or recorded with the register under s. 409.501 (1) (a), index the statement or document in the real estate records index under sub. (9).
59.43(1c)(o) (o) Upon the filing of an assignment, continuation statement, termination statement, foreclosure affidavit, extension, or release pertaining to a filed financing statement or other chattel security document, index the document in the real estate records index under sub. (9).
59.43(1c)(p) (p) Perform all other duties that are required of the register of deeds by law.
59.43(1c)(q) (q) Record and index writings that are submitted according to s. 289.31 (3), evidencing that a solid or hazardous waste disposal facility will be established on the particular parcel described in the writings.
59.43(1c)(r) (r) Record and index marital property agreements under ch. 766 and statements and revocations under s. 766.59.
59.43(1c)(s) (s) Record and index statements of claim and perform the other duties specified under s. 706.057 (7).
59.43(1c)(t) (t) Upon commencement of each term, file his or her signature and the impression of his or her official seal or rubber stamp in the office of the secretary of state.
59.43(1c)(u) (u) Submit that portion of recording fees collected under sub. (2) (ag) 1. and (e) and not retained by the county to the department of administration under s. 59.72 (5).
59.43(1c)(v) (v) Record and index statements of authority under s. 184.05.
59.43(1g) (1g) Authority to reject entire group of related documents. If the register of deeds is presented with a group of related documents that has been identified by the person submitting the documents by any reasonable method as representing a single transaction and one or more documents within the group may not be recorded because of a failure to comply with any provision of sub. (2m), the register of deeds may return the entire group of documents unrecorded.
59.43(1m) (1m) Restrictions on recording instruments with social security numbers.
59.43(1m)(a) (a) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a register of deeds may not record any instrument offered for recording if the instrument contains the social security number of an individual.
59.43(1m)(b) (b) If a register of deeds is presented with an instrument for recording that contains an individual's social security number, and if the register of deeds records the instrument but does not discover that the instrument contains an individual's social security number until after the instrument is recorded, the register of deeds may not be held liable for the instrument drafter's placement of an individual's social security number on the instrument and the register of deeds may remove or obscure characters from the social security number such that the social security number is not discernable on the instrument.
59.43(1m)(c) (c) If a register of deeds records an instrument that contains the complete social security number of an individual, the instrument drafter is liable to the individual whose social security number appears in the recorded public document for any actual damages resulting from the instrument being recorded.
59.43(1m)(cm) (cm) If a register of deeds is presented with an instrument for recording that contains an individual's social security number the register of deeds may, prior to recording the instrument, remove or obscure characters from the social security number such that the social security number is not discernable on the instrument.
59.43(1m)(d) (d) Paragraphs (a) to (c) do not apply to a federal income tax lien.
59.43(1m)(e) (e) Paragraphs (a) to (c) do not apply to vital records under subch. I of ch. 69.
59.43(1m)(f) (f) Paragraphs (a) to (c) do not apply to certificates of discharge or release recorded under s. 45.05.
59.43(2) (2) Register of deeds; fees. Every register of deeds shall receive the following fees:
59.43(2)(a)1.1. In this subsection, “ page" means one side of a single sheet of paper.
59.43(2)(a)2. 2. Any instrument that is submitted for recording shall contain a blank space at least 3 inches by 3 inches in size for use by the register of deeds. If the space is not provided, the register of deeds may add a page for his or her use and charge for the page a fee that is established by the county board not to exceed an amount reasonably related to the actual and necessary cost of adding the page.
59.43(2)(ag)1.1. Subject to s. 59.72 (5), for recording any instrument entitled to be recorded in the office of the register of deeds, $30, except that no fee may be collected for recording a change of address that is exempt from a filing fee under s. 185.83 (1) (b) or 193.111 (1) (b).
59.43(2)(ag)2. 2. In the event of conflict in the statutes regarding recording fees, subd. 1. shall control, except that subch. V of ch. 409 and s. 409.710 shall control this section.
59.43(2)(ar) (ar) No person may record under this section a single instrument that contains more than one mortgage, or more than one mortgage, being assigned, partially released or satisfied.
59.43(2)(b) (b) For copies of any records or papers, $2 for the first page plus $1 for each additional page, plus $1 for the certificate of the register of deeds, except that the department of revenue is exempt from the fees under this paragraph.
59.43(2)(c) (c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law the register of deeds with the approval and consent of the board may enter into contracts with municipalities, private corporations, associations, and other persons to provide noncertified copies of the complete daily recordings and filings of documents pertaining to real property for a consideration to be determined by the board which in no event shall be less than cost of labor and material plus a reasonable allowance for plant and depreciation of equipment used.
59.43(2)(d) (d) For performing functions under s. 409.523, the register shall charge the fees provided in s. 409.525, retain the portion of the fees prescribed under s. 409.525, and submit the portion of the fees not retained to the state. A financing statement and an assignment or notice of assignment of the security interest, offered for filing at the same time, shall be considered as only one document for the purpose of this paragraph. Whenever there is offered for filing any document that is not on a standard form prescribed by ch. 409 or by the department of financial institutions or that varies more than 0.125 inch from the approved size as prescribed by sub. (1c), the appropriate fee provided in s. 409.525 or an additional filing fee of one-half the regular fee, whichever is applicable, shall be charged by the register.
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2017-18 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2019 Wis. Act 5 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on April 21, 2019. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after June 1, 2019, are designated by NOTES. (Published 6-1-19)